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In LRCC there is no way to save your metadata back to the originals (which it considers to be the files in the cloud) or to whatever local copies you may have. All you can do in LRCC is save extra local copies of the originals - this includes settings.
Deleting an original in LRCC will delete it - there's no online trash.So you have to keep local backup copies of your originals, or also sync with Lr Classic which downloads copies of the originals.
I can backup the image files ok - but if I had to restore from that, I'd lose all of the keywords / captions / album info that makes them useful, right? Or is that data burned into the image files (via exif?).
That is right, it is as frighteningly simple as you see, or should that be simply frightening? There is no way of getting all the captions etc from LRCC except by using its Save command which allows you to download copies of the originals.
Indeed there currently simply is no good and simple way to backup both images and edit metadata using Lightroom CC. You basically have to trust Adobe's cloud services.
OK, I tested out John's solution by adding a caption and keywords to a photo, doing File->Save->Original+Settings, then deleting the photo and reimporting it. It came back correctly with caption and keywords.
So I think the workflow is:
1. Every now and then, select all photos, do File->Save->Original+Settings and save everything to a second local copy (you already have one if you've got "keep all originals local", but those originals don't have settings so they're no good). There's no way to automate this except eg a Todoist reminder.
2. Be aware that, if Adobe gets hacked again / you fat-finger something / whatever, all of your Album information is gone. There's no way to back it up. But, otherwise, a Restore is as easy as importing all the photos again.
As Jao said, you have to place your trust in Adobe.