Coping with Gmail Outages

Many lawyers rely on Gmail and Google Calendar as part of their practice management routine.  But what happens when Google experiences an outage, data corruption, or data loss?

According to Business Insider, Google’s own redundant backups ensure that you will eventually reclaim all your data.  You can rely on this or implement your own recovery plan. (Hint: implement your own plan.)

Here’s how to get started:

Establish a Backup Routine

In this older post, Lifehacker offers five simple ways to backup Gmail.  You’ll find some additional suggestions here. Since Hotmail is no more, swap out Outlook.com as a replacement solution.

Follow Google’s Post-Outage Advice14 - 1

After the recent Gmail debacle, Google sent the following message to all users:

Deleted Forever?

In my personal Gmail account, I didn’t experience messages being moved to Trash or Spam.  Instead, old messages that were “deleted forever” reappeared in Trash.

According to Google: “If you’ve deleted a message permanently by clicking Delete Forever in your Spam or Trash, you won’t be able to recover the message using the Gmail interface.”  Translation: You can’t recover it, but Google can.  Here is some further advice from Gmail help:

“In the past, users have reported that they are missing all of their messages as a result of unauthorized access. If your account was compromised* and you would like us to investigate whether recovery is possible, please first complete this process to secure your account and then file a report.

If you’ve moved a message to Trash, by clicking Delete, but it’s been fewer than 30 days and you haven’t permanently deleted it, follow these steps to put it back in your inbox:

  1. Sign in to Gmail.
  2. Click Trash along the left side of any Gmail page. (If you don’t see Trash along the left side of your Gmail page, go to the Labels tab in Settings, then click the show link next to the Trash label.)
  3. Locate the message you’d like to move to your inbox, and check the box next to the sender’s name.
  4. Click Move to Inbox.
Have your messages gone missing? Click here to start investigating.”
*Presumably Google would also honor this process following an e-mail outage.
Best Practices
One of the ways you can “backup” Gmail is to download messages to your Desktop E-mail Client (Outlook, Thunderbird, or Apple Mail).  But why not take it a step further?  Make your Desktop E-mail Client your primary method of interacting with messages.  Last year, I published two articles in the Oregon State Bar Bulletin on how to properly document client e-mail as part of the client’s file.  The first article focused on e-mail missteps; the follow-up on the mechanics of electronically filing e-mail.  Here is what I said about Web e-mail options like Gmail:
I find it ironic that lawyers who are leery of cloud computing don’t give their Outlook.com, Gmail, or Yahoo! accounts a second thought. When you leave e-mail on a web server, your confidential client data is not entirely under your control… If your provider’s server is down, or you can’t get on the Internet, then you can’t access your client information. Additionally, reliance on cloud solutions for e-mail may raise security and privacy concerns. Macs and PCs both ship with an e-mail application. Set it up to download your web mail. Doing so is absolutely free since you are using a program preloaded on your computer. Go to your web mail’s help page and search for instructions on how to download web mail to your specific program. For Google, log in to Gmail, click on Help, and click on POP under “Other Ways to Access Gmail.” Google offers instructions for setting up Apple Mail, Outlook Express, Outlook 2002-2010, Thunderbird, Windows Mail, the iPhone and other mail programs.

Google Calendar is Not Immune to Problems

Google Calendar isn’t immune to problems either.  When Gmail goes down, Google Calendar is likely to follow, which is what happened during the recent outage.  Google Calendar can also be a source of spam or scams.

Setting that aside, Google Calendar plays well with others.  So set it up to sync with your phone, tablet, or built-in desktop calendaring program.  If you establish a backup routine for Gmail, include Google Calendar.  For example, Backupify will capture all data from Google Apps.

All Rights Reserved 2014

Beverly Michaelis

 

 

5 thoughts on “Coping with Gmail Outages

  1. While Gmail is a widely used email system, there certainly are some risks as identified by Beverly. What if you completely avoided email when working on contract documents? Instead of email, use push technology to deliver your documents securely to the desktops (PC, Mac, or iPad) of your colleagues and clients. What if you could do that right out of Microsoft Word or PowerPoint? What if you finally had a viable alternative to MS Track Changes while still using MS Word – we all know that everyone would love a Track Changes alternative! What if the collaborative review of your document lined up with some of the benefits of a face to face meeting – parallel review, all recipients see suggested changes immediately and can provide linked comments to those changes, and the author only receives one stream of feedback aligned with the page they are viewing rather than multiple separate Word documents covered in Track Changes.
    If that sounds interesting, check out http://www.savvydox.com/legal-contract-reviews/ and sign up for a free trial.

  2. Pingback: Beverly Michaelis On Coping with Gmail Outages | Netlawtools

  3. Pingback: Using Google Voice in Your Law Practice | Oregon Law Practice Management

  4. Pingback: The Year in Review – Top Posts in 2014 | Oregon Law Practice Management

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s