The general rule of thumb for backups is that you should store them in at least two different locations that are unlikely to be destroyed at the same time. At least that’s been the conventional wisdom for years, but cloud storage services have changed the equation. Now you can place your data in the safe hands of large corporations!
Benefits of Cloud Backup
Backing up your data to the cloud has a number of specific benefits. Especially when it comes to the Google cloud, but this applies to the most respected providers. If Google stores your data in the cloud, it benefits from high security standards.
Although you only see one copy of the data in your account, there are actually several duplicate copies of it in physically different objects. Therefore, in the event of an accident or failure of an individual disk, your data is still safe. In fact, you won’t even notice!
Another important benefit is data security. It is unlikely that a hacker or other intruder will ever be able to access your information. This is usually due to the fact that you, as a user, used a weak password or did not use two-factor authentication. This makes cloud backups much more secure than backing up to a local external drive, for example.
The disadvantages of cloud backups
On the other hand, there are quite a few reasons why you might want to think twice before using the Google Cloud as a place to store your information.
First, while you can be sure that no one other than Google will access your data, there is always the possibility that Google will peek. The only real protection you have is that Google claims to not violate your privacy. It’s up to you if you take their word for it. For our part, we suggest encrypting truly confidential documents before uploading them to the cloud so that no one else can see what’s inside.
Another big potential problem with cloud backups is that it depends on your bandwidth. If you lose access to the Internet, you will not be able to access your files. It doesn’t really matter if they sync with your local computer, but it’s a problem if you’ve lost that local computer and need to get your files back. Even with Internet access, you will need enough bandwidth to displace hundreds of gigabytes in a full disk backup.
This may not be a home fiber connection problem, but in many cases the problem occurs in metering or mobile communications. That’s why it’s still worth having a local backup on an external drive or other medium.
Google One storage prices and options
Every Google Drive user gets 15 GB of data for free with their account, but this is almost certainly not enough to back up an entire hard drive. Thus, you will have to pay for more disk space. Google offers more space through its Google One service.
Here’s how prices stack up:
- $ 1.99 / month for 100GB
- $ 2.99 / month for 200GB
- 9.99 $ 99.99 / month for 2TB
- $ 99.99 / month for 10TB
- $ 199.99 / month for 20TB
- $ 299.99 for month for 30 TB
For full drive backups, the 2TB option is the best value for the money, just because Google leaves a huge gap between it and the 200GB option. Just keep in mind that you can back up multiple computers, mobile devices, and all your mail to this single storage pool. You can also share this storage with your family group members. So 2TB is not as much as you might think!
Comparison of Google Backup And Sync, Offline Documents, and Google Drive
It’s important to clarify three different ways to store local copies of cloud data on your computer using Google Drive
Google Backup and Sync is an application that you download to your computer. You decide which folders on this computer should be copied or synced to your cloud account. Any files you copy to the specified folder or save there by the application will download in the background
Google Offline Documents is a Chrome browser plugin that stores your Google Drive documents on your local computer so you can keep working when the Internet is not available. Undoubtedly a necessary addition, but not very useful for backing up an entire disk.
Finally, we have the Google Drive web interface. You may not know this, but you can download whatever you want using the web interface without installing anything on the respective computer. You can drag multiple files and entire folders to a Google Drive page and it will queue and download them.
Back up certain files to Google Backup & Sync
If you don’t want to back up the entire hard drive, you can still automatically back up everything that matters to you using Google Backup and Sync
- First download and install Google Backup and Sync
- After installation, make sure you are signed in to the correct account.
- Then choose which shared folders (such as photos or documents) you want to back up. You can also choose a location for your Google Drive folder and create your own sync folders as you wish.
- Once configured, simply move or save the specific files you want to back up to the specified folders. Once downloaded, you can get them at any time.
Back up everything
So now we come to the big one – backing up the entire disk. By that, we mean creating a disk image backup that you can use to restore your computer in the event of a hard drive failure or theft.
First, you need to get an application to create an image of your disk. In this case, we chose the excellent free version of Macrium Reflect Refer to his guide on how to create a complete disk image as it is beyond the scope of this article. You can use any disk imaging system.
The trick here is that we orient our disk image backup to one of the folders we are going to sync with in Google Backup and Sync Macrium Reflect supports incremental backups, so it will update this file at specified intervals. When Google detects that the file has been modified, it will upload the new version to the cloud.
If you don’t want to consume bandwidth all the time, you can also manually copy the disk image file to a specified folder, or configure your backup software to only back up when you request it. The choice is yours.
If the worst happens, you can reload that disk image and immediately return to where you were after replacing or formatting the disk. Like this! You’re safe now.