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How to Ensure Security of Google Drive for Business Use

It’s no secret that Google dominates the digital realm: internet searches, email, cloud storage, file sharing and more. Today, over 5 million businesses use G Suite, a set of intelligent and collaborative tools that includes Gmail, Google Docs, Google Slides, Google Sheets and Google Hangouts.

Google Drive is particularly valuable to businesses. From any desktop or mobile device, users can store, access and share files, so they can easily be productive and collaborate on projects no matter where they are.

Google Drive helps keep workplaces organized and connected, but with that convenience comes responsibility. How secure is Google Drive? Is the built-in encryption enough to keep your files safe? Here, we answer these questions and explore how to improve upon the native security of Google Drive.

 

Is Google Drive safe for business?

Files that are uploaded to Google Drive folders are stored in secure, encrypted data centers. For files that are transferring, Google uses 256-bit SSL/TLS encryption; for files that are stored on servers, it uses 128-bit AES keys.

When Google stores your data, the content is broken into smaller pieces, each of which is encrypted with its own security key. This means a potential hacker would need to break through several keys to access your data.

How to Make Google Drive More Secure

Here are a few steps you can take to increase the security of the data you store in Google Drive:

Use Two-Factor Authentication

Two-step verification is a simple strategy that puts up a roadblock for anyone who obtains your password. With two-factor authentication in place, the user must also enter a code that Google sends to your phone via text message. By adding just a few extra seconds of effort each time your users log in, you can help keep their accounts secure from hackers.

Encrypt Your Data before Transfer

While Google, as the service provider, encrypts the data stored on its servers, you can also encrypt your data on your own systems before sending it to Google Drive, using a third-party solution such as Boxcryptor or Cryptomator. While taking this step adds some complexity, it offers stronger privacy and security, so it can be worthwhile, especially for your most sensitive and important data.

Classify Your Data

Data classification is the process of categorizing and tagging data so that IT teams can protect it appropriately and business users can use it effectively. For example, a sales rep should not be accessing payroll documents, sensitive data like customer credit card numbers should not be stored on an employee’s Google Drive, and data related to particular projects should be easy for authorized users to find.

Use Endpoint Management in G Suite

Endpoint Management gives you full control over every device that accesses your G Suite data. From one central location, you can require screen locks, erase confidential data, selectively wipe accounts if devices are lost or compromised, or block access from desktop sessions. You can also track who is logging in, when they’re logging in and what they’re doing, so you can make more informed decisions about managing data security.

Back Up Your Data

Regularly back up all the business-critical files stored in your Google Drive to mitigate the risk of business disruption. To automate the backup process, users can use the Drive File Stream service from Google, which provides two-way synchronization of their hard drive with their Google Drive.

Control App Permissions

As an administrator, you can monitor and control which apps and Google services each user can access. Enforcing the least-privilege principle is a proven way to reduce your attack surface, so make sure your users have permissions to use only the apps and services they need to do their jobs.

The Bottom Line

Google Drive is a popular tool that offers powerful collaboration features and robust built-in security. However, there are ways to further strengthen the security of your information in the cloud. It’s prudent to enable two-factor authentication, regularly monitor security dashboards, discover and classify the data stored in your company’s Google Drive, and automate backups to enhance data protection in the cloud. These additional security measures create extra barriers to hacking and gives you better control over your data.

FAQ

Is Google Drive safe and secure?

Google takes the security of Google Drive very seriously. Google actively works to keep your online information safe by offering the following security measures:

  • Two-factor authentication
  • SSL encryption
  • Strong TLS standard encryption
  • Encrypted keys

While these security features make Google Drive a safe and reliable service, there are always more ways to increase security when using a cloud-based system.

Is Google Drive secure from hackers?

For the most part, Google Drive is safe from hackers. In addition to native encryption, features like two-factor authentication and the safety tools in Endpoint Management can help you prevent security breaches.

Is Google Drive end-to-end encrypted?

No. According to Google’s terms of service, you retain ownership of any intellectual property. However, the service can scan your documents for information and keywords in order to improve its ad targeting. Google also retains the right to hand over your information if presented with a warrant by authorities.

Simon is a Product Manager at Netwrix, primarily focused on the Netwrix Data Classification product. He has over a decade of experience in various I.T.-centric roles across a number of industries – including insurance, finance and EdTech, in a variety of technical and strategic roles ranging from technical support to Product Management.