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As Google looks to assure potential business customers that its cloud-based suite of applications is a worthy alternative to on-premises solutions, it's getting help from independent service providers.
One example is Backupify, an online backup, archiving and export service that unveiled support for Google Apps this week.
Cambridge, MA-based Backupify said it automatically backs up all data stored in a user's Gmail, Google Docs, Google Calendar, Google Contacts and Google Sites account. Google's (NASDAQ: GOOG) cloud-based system stores users files, but Backupify said its system ensures data won't be lost by error. Backupify actually leverages another cloud service, Amazon's storage cloud storage, to backup files.
The backup issue may be of particular interest to small to mid-size businesses using Google Apps that rely on a single administrator to manage the applications and users.
One of Google's main value propositions for Apps is that they are easier to manage from an IT point of view than traditional on-premises applications. Backupify notes that while a single administrator can manage Google Apps, that person also represents "a single point of failure," and in many small companies may not be as technically savvy as more experienced IT personnel.
"Just about one third, 32 percent, of all data loss is user error, so we're not protecting you from Google, but from other people using the platform," Rob May, founder of Backupify, told InternetNews.com. "For example, what do you do if you have a Google Doc shared by six people and someone accidentally deletes something they didn't think they needed?"
May also said Backupify addresses compliance requirements that some companies have to adhere to that ensure their data isn't subject to a single point of failure.
The case for online backup
"The way Google operates, all their data is replicated, but the company itself could be considered a single point of failure from a legal perspective," said May. "And if your Gmail account is hacked it can take a few days to convince Google who you are and get the e-mail back or at some point Google will flush it from their servers."
May said one of the companies that later invested in Backupify had lost a bunch of Google Docs files because the guy who was administering it for them deleted the files before he left the company. "After that, they got the use case," May quipped.
Backupify for Google Apps offers three different levels of service and a 30-day free trial.
The Premium package at $59.95 per month, covers 250GB of storage for 50 Google Apps accounts. The other two Backupify options are the Plus package ($29.95/month for 100GB of storage for 25 Google Apps accounts); and the Basic package ($9.95/month for 25GB of storage covering 10 Google Apps accounts).
May said Backupify plans to expand its service over the next several months with backup and archive support for Twitter and other social networks under a single account. "I don't think of us a backup company, but as a data control and data liberation company," said May.