‘Failing to plan is planning to fail’, so the short answer is NO, Google Drive is not really a backup because of the difference between Cloud Sync and Cloud Backup

Cloud Sync

Google Drive provides Backup and Sync for personal use, which backs up files from your computer, camera, or SD cards to the cloud and allows you to find your files on any device or computer using Google Drive, and see your photos in Google Photos.

Google Drive also provides Drive File Stream for business use, which is a way to access all of your Google Drive files on demand, directly from your Mac or PC, without using up all of your disk space.

Dropbox and OneDrive are other cloud ‘syncing and sharing’ services, similar to Google Drive.

While all these services sync folders on your computer to folders on other machines and to the cloud, that is not the same as having several backed up versions to restore data from.

What if you need to restore a file from last Wednesday?

Cloud Backup

Backblaze and Carbonite are examples of online backup services that work automatically, in the background. You don’t need to take any action like setting up specific folders since they typically back up any new (or changed) data on your computer.

In case of a system crash / data loss / accidental file deletion, your backed up data can then be restored or rolled back.

5GB Online for free

If you have less than 5GB of data to back up, such as (only) your accounting data, you could start with IDrive‘s free solution. As long as your requirements remain under 5GB, their free version will work as well as anything else you can get, forever.

If you have more than 5GB of data to backup, you will soon enough be enticed by a ridiculously low reasonable first-year offer, to upgrade to a paid subscription.

At the time of this writing, IDrive is offering 5TB of online storage for only $6.95, which goes up to $69.50 from your second year onwards.

USB drive, always free

If you feel that (only) your accounting data must be backed up in the cloud, but your other data can be backed up to a local USB drive, then you can use IDrive permanently, for free.

You would have to create two separate backup tasks; one to run at say, 9:00 PM every night, and then another one at 10:00 PM, for instance. The first one could handle your cloud backup while the second one could back up to a local (USB) drive.

What do I need?

All of these services have different use-cases, so sometimes a blend of them is what you really need.

With cloud backups, you can usually only retrieve data over the Internet and retrieving a large amount of data can be very time consuming, but your backup will generally be guaranteed to be stored securely online, and it will work every time.

With local backups, restoring data from a locally connected drive is much faster, but you may have a dodgy drive due to some mechanical failure. You cannot be 100% certain that your USB drive has never been dropped. And, even if you use an SSD drive, how do you know it will never be lost due to theft or even a fire?

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