How to backup Google Apps data to Dropbox

Dropbox is undoubtedly one of the most widely used cloud storage.  It is available on almost all platforms, from Windows, MacOSX, Linux to nearly all mobile operating systems.  Dropbox guarantees that all your files will be protected by 256-bit AES encryption, and all files are transferred through SSL/TLS secure tunnel.  What’s more, compared with Google’s privacy policy, privacy terms of Dropbox are more strict and reasonable – “Your Stuff is yours. These Terms don’t give us any rights to Your stuff except for the limited rights that enable us to offer the Service.  We need your permission to do things like hosting Your Stuff, backing it up, and sharing it when you ask us to… ” . 

As a Google Apps users, you might are seeking methods to backup Google Apps data to Dropbox. Actually, using CubeBackup, it is quite easy to add a backup copy to Dropbox with very little expense.

Step 1:  A Dropbox Pro or Bussiness account.

For small or middle size businesses, whose data in the whole Google Apps domain is less than 1TB (1,000GB),  a Dropbox Pro account is a reasonable choice.  It only costs $99 per year.

For comparatively large organizations, Dropbox for Business might be your best choice. The basic plan for Dropbox Business is 5TB for 5 users, which costs $750 per year. Dropbox for Business starts off with 1TB of space per user, however, you can ask for more space by contacting Dropbox’s sales. Theoretically, you can get as much as possible space from Dropbox for Business as long as you would like to pay for the extra storage. The pricing of Dropbox for Business is higher than Dropbox Pro, but is still much cheaper than other Google Apps cloud-to-cloud backup solutions, such as Backupify or Spanning.

Step 2:  Set the backup location to the Dropbox sync folder.

After installing Dropbox client, a folder named “Dropbox” will be created. If CubeBackup has already been running on your computer, please stop the backup process first, then copy all the backup data to the “Dropbox” folder – This may take a considerably long time if you have tons of backup data.

When the moving of data completed,  open the “Options” dialog of CubeBackup and set the backup location to the new place.

set-backup-location

After this simple configuration, your Google Apps data will be automatically synced to Dropbox cloud storage as they are backed up locally with CubeBackup.

Windows+Office vs. Google Apps+Chromebook

Personally I don’t like most Microsoft’s products, even their most important one – Windows. After using MacBook Pro for several months, I found it’s hard to go back to the Windows platform : the shabby search capability and the awkward UI on Windows 8 often drive me mad. Honestly, Mac OSX is the best desktop Operating System that I ever met. With an excellent desktop UI plus Linux-compatible core, OSX is far user friendly, especially programmer friendly than Windows.

However, for MS Office, I must admit that it is one of the few excellent products made by Microsoft. Combined with Active Directory architecture, Server softwares like Exchange, SharePoint, it can handle almost all office work nicely and efficiently. Today, most companies use MS Office solution to handle their daily office work and  are happy with that. I don’t see any strong competitors of Microsoft in this field. ( Actually, there are a few other options, but none of them can really compete with Microsoft Office Suit.)

Things might change in the future. Microsoft now need to seriously consider the threat from Google Apps + Chromebook, which offers a lightweight office solution with much cheaper cost and better collaboration. Based on Google’s statement, there are already more than 5 million businesses on Google Apps, and the number is still increasing fast. At the same time, Chromebook has become the most popular notebook in Amazon. At least, I know several of my friends went Chromebook and has no plan to go back to Windows.

For most companies, Google Apps platform is already good enough to handle their office job nicely, and cheaper! Here I made a simple comparison between Microsoft office solution and Google Apps solution.

To setup the Microsoft Office environment:

  1.  A small data center, which requires a physical place with good security.
  2.  Several Windows Servers, like Domain Controller, Exchanges Server, Web Server, Database Server, Security Server …. They are expensive on both hardware and software!
  3. Desktops or laptops with Windows and Office.
  4. An IT group to maintain the above hardware and software.

This solution is a classical solution for most companies, and usually it works great. However, there is one problem: the expense! Though the cost may differ for different type and different size of companies,  it does cost a fortune to set all things up. Not every company can afford that. To lower the expense, some companies have no choice but unwisely lower the security and the maintenance cost, which may cause disastrous results in the future.
To setup a Google Apps working environment:

  1. 50 bucks for each employee each year.
  2. One Chromebook for each employee. The price of a Chromebook is much cheaper than that of a normal desktop or laptop.

See, Google’s cloud solution is A LOT cheaper!  Using Google’s solution, you can setup a similar office working environment for your company with much less money.
Some companies still worry about that the features of Google Apps cannot match Microsoft’s solution. However, based on my experience (might not right), this shouldn’t be the major concern. Google Apps covers most features, if not all, of Microsoft Office solution, with better collaboration capability. The biggest concern to move to Google Apps should be the migration cost, because this migration requires to retrain all employees for the new system and take the risk of data lost during the migration. For companies that have already invested in Microsoft solutions and have been accustomed to that environment, I don’t see any good reason to move to Google Apps.

Will Google Apps beat Microsoft Office? Maybe not in the next few years. However, it may happen in the future, with a great possibility.

CubeBackup is finally released!

After thousands hours of coding and testing, we are glad to announce that CubeBackup version 1.0 is finally released (What a relief!).  I must admit that this product takes much longer time than we expected.  It is always easy to make an almost-to-work product, but it is much harder to make a real product that can be used by thousands of users.  Too much time was spent on optimization and perfection, like to figure out which is the best solution for one specific tiny problem, or how to handle the situation if something unexpected happens. Not only for just CubeBackup software, we also spent so much time on the website:  the design, the html style and the server-side part all went through several major modifications plus countless minor ones.

google-apps-backup

I have tried several other Google Apps backup solutions,  despite the similar user interfaces,  different strategies are employed in different solutions.    When we designed and made CubeBackup, we just follow the guidelines below:

  1. Incremental backup:  Except for the first time backup, CubeBackup only backs up the new or modified documents on Google Drive, new mails received or sent in Gmail, new or modified contacts, and calendar events which is still valid.  Not only can this algorithm save your bandwidth and time, it can also save lots of disk space for the backup.  Some Google Apps backup solutions in the market still use non-incremental backup strategy, which I cannot understand why.
  2. Automatic backup:  CubaBackup can perform daily (or weekly, depends on your configuration) backup automatically without human operations.
  3. Office-compatible backup files:  which can be retrieved and opened by local software. We insist that all backup data should be human readable and operational. So, all the backup files for Google Drive can be opened by Microsoft Office (or OpenOffice, etc.).  Gmail backups are standard mail files which can be opened by almost all mail client software.  For Calendar and Contacts backups,  along with the original XML raw data, standard Contacts and Calendar format backups are also available.

We are happy to release CubeBackup today.  However,  CubeBackup is not perfect,  and I bet there are still bugs in it and there are still lots of things that need to improve.  If you have any suggestions or questions of CubeBackup, please email us: support@cubebackup.com. We are always glad to hear from you.