Google Apps is extremely reliable for storing your school’s data, but there are still times when having a separate backup is essential.

Google Apps means you never have to worry about disk failure, file system corruption, or your email service going offline — well, usually. But there are still situations in which even Google cannot prevent data loss — that’s why it’s important to have a backup of your Google Apps data.

Click here to trial Spanning backup now and save $5 per account.

If there’s one company that you can be sure are going to safely store your data, it’s Google. But there’s another level of data security that Google doesn’t provide for — user error. What happens when:

  • A corrupted file is synchronised back to Google Drive
  • An important file is accidentally or deliberately deleted
  • A calendar is accidentally deleted
  • A page is accidentally over written in your Google Site
  • You incorrectly edit someone’s contact details in Gmail

Google Apps may be reliable, but it doesn’t provide solutions to these problems.

Dealing with user error

The most common issue my support team come up against is students accessing someone else’s user account and deliberately deleting work. You can put in place all the precautions you like, but there is always that small group of students who simply must share their password with their friend. And unfortunately Google doesn’t have a way to deal with this. If a file has been deleted from Google Drive’s “bin” folder it’s gone for good.

A few weeks ago a user came to me with exactly this issue. A student’s account had been accessed by someone who had their password and had completely deleted their work. Luckily I had been testing Spanning Backup for Google Apps and was able to easily recover the file.

Spanning provides automated backup for Google Apps domains. Spanning supports backup from:

  • GMail
  • Google Drive
  • Google Sites
  • Google Calendar
  • Google Contacts

Spanning is a cloud to cloud backup service that takes your Google Apps data and stores it separately. So, if a user ever accidentally deletes important information, sync’s back a corrupt file to Google Drive, or has their account compromised you can always get lost data back.

Google Apps Backup Central Management

Spanning allows you to manage and monitor you user’s backed up data from a central console. You can view statistics for every user and easily spot any problems.

Spanning Backup

Complete control over your Google Apps backups

Spanning gets a lot of things right. The service is complete cloud based — this is cloud to cloud backup — so there’s no complicated setup process. All of your data is stored in Spanning’s cloud, which meets the US-EU Safe Harbor Framework, so there’s no local storage required, although you can export all of your data if required.

You have complete control over your Google Apps backups, and can allow or restrict teachers and students accessing their backed up data.


Restoring Google Apps data from backup

If you ever find yourself in the situation of having to recover data to a user’s Google Apps account the process is extremely simple. You just login to spanning with your administrator account, browse the user’s Google Drive folder structure, select the date you wish to restore from and click “restore”. The file is then restored back into the user’s Google Drive, or you can choose to export it to your own desktop.

Drive Search

Data storage concerns

Of course, storing your data in yet another cloud service raises data protection concerns. I can confirm that spanning meets the terms of the US-EU Safe Harbor Framework and also supports the following security protocols:

  • SSAE 16 Type II compliance
  • Intrusion detection
  • TRUSTe privacy and security seals
  • All data at rest is protected by 256-bit AES encryption with unique keys for every single object and a rotating master key protecting the unique keys.  All data in transit is protected with Secure Socket Layer (SSL) encryption


Spanning costs $40 per year, per user (approx. £25) for unlimited storage. You can also receive $5 off per license using our coupon code by clicking here. There’s also a 14 day free trial which you can use to test drive the service.

Use our offer code to get $5 off each license you purchase. If you cover 100 teachers that’s a saving of $500 annually.


About Author

Profile photo of Karl Rivers

Karl is an award winning Director of IT for the Royal Grammar School Guildford, based near London, England. He has been working in education for more than ten years and founded ClassThink in 2013 to share technology best practice with other schools. In 2014 he won the NAACE Impact Award for support services in schools, and writes edtech articles for Education Executive Magazine.

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