Restore Google Drive Files Offers Some (but not enough?) Protection

google drive
Among the myriad of new features and upgrades announced at Google I/O this week, Google added the ability to restore users’ Drive files that have been deleted from the Trash folder.

While offering some protection, the feature is limited in its scope.

  • You cannot restore individual files; you can only restore all files deleted within a date range you provide.  The minimum date range is 1 day (24 hours).
  • You can only restore files for individual users, one at a time.
  • You can only restore files that were deleted from Trash within 25 days.
  • When restoring files, the permissions are not restored.  Only the user will have access to the files.

With these limitations, we do not expect the ability to restore a user’s Google Drive files will be of great use to most organizations.  With a limited retention period and lack of granularity, the tool provides a big shovel when most users need a spoon.

The solution also depends on users’ ability to recover information from the Trash folder, a process we find difficult at times due to the limited ability to search Trash in Drive.

True backup/recovery solutions give users and administrators that critical features that deliver more usability and effectiveness:

  • Flexible retention:  Allow organizations to implement policies related document and records management, including extended retention and removal of data past retention windows.
  • File-Level / Item-Level Restore: Most data loss and restore needs result from human error or action and impact fewer than 5 files.  Acceptable restore capabilities include the ability to restore individual files (or entire accounts) and should include the ability to select file by version or point in time.
  • Protect Meta Data:  Protect the meta data as well as the files themselves.  File ownership, permissions, etc. should be preserved and recoverable with the file.
  • Data Export:  Provide the ability to export data so that it may be migrated to other accounts and/or other systems.
  • Administrative Control:  Identify and allow backup/restore administrators that are not full domain administrators.

Absent many of these features, the ability within Google Apps to restore a user’s Drive files is a limited feature that will not meet most organizations’ needs for data protection.

Third party backup/restore solutions are still a necessary and appropriate component of a robust Google Apps environment.

Feel free to contact us if you would like to explore backup/recovery options and solutions.

Vault for Drive is (Finally) Here!

Google Apps Vault
Within the announcements for Google Apps Unlimited and Google Drive for Work (more on these shortly!), are important changes to Google Apps Vault.

First and foremost, Google Apps Vault now includes Vault for Drive.  With Vault for Drive, you can immediately:

  • Search for specific users’ Drive files.
  • Preview search results in Vault to make sure you find just what you need.
  • Create copies of search results and export them for future use.

Settings retention policies, creating holds, and conducting domain-wide searches for Drive content will be available in the near future.

These new capabilities come at no additional cost for existing and new Google Apps Vault customers.

On July 8th, we are holding an open, free live webcast to provide an overview of Vault for Drive and the Admin Console features.  Please attend, or contact us if you have any questions.


Return of the Message Center and More

As Google continues to migrate Google Message Security and Message Discovery customers from the old Postini infrastructure, our clients have been concerned about functional and performance equivalency.   While filters and settings have been comparable for a while, and Google had previously added the quarantine notification, Google today announced the new Message Center.

Specifically for users that forward some or all of their email to on-premise servers or other email services, the Message Center lets users and administrators:

  • View and search 30 days of clean/spam mail
  • Mark single or multiple messages as spam or not spam
  • Deliver messages that are not spam to the on-premise mailbox
  • Add and remove contacts for whitelisting purposes
  • Bookmark URLs for searches and individual messages

This expanded functionality coincides with a series of upgrades to the SMTP relay service in Google Apps.   These updates help administrators in several ways:

  • Multiple authentication configurations: Admins can now configure multiple sets of authentication rules. For instance, you can specify that messages sent from one IP address are always allowed, messages from another IP address are only allowed if encrypted with TLS, and messages from another IP address range require SMTP AUTH.
  • SMTP AUTH: This newly supported authentication method uses Google “application-specific passwords” to allow admins to configure clients to authenticate to the relay service. This feature is available for registered Google Apps users only.
  • IP range description field: To manage IP addresses more efficiently, admins can enter descriptions in text fields for each IP address or range that you use to set authentication rules.
  • Selective enable/disable of IP ranges: Admins can selectively enable/disable IP ranges approved for relay as needed
  • Increased rate-limits for certain customers: In special circumstances, admins may increase the rate limits of 2,000 emails/user/day and 2,000 recipients/user/day by calling customer support. Requests need justification and are reviewed on a case-by-case basis.

With these enhancements, Google continues to increase the robustness of the Google Apps Platform, and reduces the need for most GMS and GMD customers to move to other spam, virus, and archiving solutions.




For Tea Living, Inspiration Accelerates after Move to Google Apps

Tea Living INC. ( brings worldwide cultures and modern design to children’s fashion. Twice each year, Tea packs their bags and travels the world to explore and discover. With original, high-quality designs inspired by their adventures abroad, Tea stands for practical luxury with pieces that are easy to care for and feel great to wear. Tea has won awards in innovation from their industry peers (as well as global recognition for their use of social media and technology), which clearly points to a path of continued growth.

With increasingly rapid growth over the past several years, Tea has gone from a single office in San Francisco to three locations, including a second office in San Francisco and a customer service center in Idaho. With remote salespeople and employees regularly traveling the world, Tea’s in-house email and file sharing servers were feeling the strain. Upgrading or expanding the email server would be a costly proposition.

Tea was already exploring options for hosted and cloud email services when the unthinkable happened. “Our Exchange server crashed and the mailstore was corrupted,” states Kenner Rawdon, Network Administrator of Tea Living INC. “Without email, our ability to effectively communicate–to service our customers–was at a standstill.”

Working with Boston-based Cumulus Global, a Google Apps Premier SMB Partner, Tea was up and running with Google Apps for Business in under a day. “In less time and effort than it would take to recover our Exchange server,” notes Rawdon, “we had global access to all of our email, calendars and contacts. Even with our emergency situation, the process was remarkably smooth.”

While Tea’s initial motivation was email, the company saw many other benefits from their move to Google Apps. With continuous world travel and an endless stream of photographs and images, Tea employees use Drive to upload and share pictures and files. Without the need for a VPN connection, employees no longer struggle with multiple login steps and performance issues. Telecommuters, mobile and remote staff use Drive and Docs to collaborate in real time and across time zones. Teams share information and ideas as they arise, without the limitations of email and voicemail. Using priority inbox and filters, employees report that they are able to stay organized and remain focused.

Innovation and creativity flow more easily without all the clutter.

“The impact of Google Apps is evolutionary,” concludes Rawdon. “We continue to find ways to work more effectively and be more productive as we continue to use more features of Google Apps’ features.” As an example, Rawdon sees growing use of Hangouts as a tool for meetings and calls. “Being able to see each other, along with the designs and images we share, will help us collaborate and make decisions more effectively. This personal interaction also fits well with our philosophy and culture.”

Tea Living INC. was co-founded by Emily Meyer and Leigh Rawdon, two moms who bonded over a love of travel. The company gives back to the community through its partnership with The Global Fund for Children, Tea’s School Days program, and the company’s Inspiring Mom Awards.

Lots of Bots; Not so Many People on the Internet?

As recently reported by CloudTweaks, a recently published analysis tells us that only 38.5% of Internet traffic is from humans.  The rest is from Bots — good and evil.

Good Bots are primarily search engines and data aggregation services.  These represent 31% of Internet traffic.  This leaves 30.5% of traffic originating from Bad Bots.  

What are the Bad Bots?

  • Scrapers: These bots scrape web sites, capturing text to steal email addresses for spam purposes or to reverse-engineer pricing and business models
  • Hackers: These bots break into sites to steal credit card data or inject malicious code
  • Spammers: Email addresses are the target for these Bots, enabling billions of useless and annoying email messages and inviting “search engine blacklisting”
  • Impersonators: These bots specialize in intelligence gathering, DdoS attacks and bandwidth consumption

The result?  Web sites, email systems, and other online activities should be secure.  Our defenses must continue to evolve and all technology users should have a basic understanding of the threats at hand.

Focusing on protecting users and data, rather than devices, creates a mindset that enables a more integrated approach and solutions.

Contact us to explore solutions that fit your business and budget.