Is G Suite Truly Secure?
G Suite has grown to become one of the most reliable and popular suites of productivity products on the market, used by millions of businesses and individuals all over the world. With solutions for email, document creation, collaborative remote work, and more, G Suite’s affordable prices and robust coverage are certainly impressive.
But if your organization handles sensitive data, in the form of customer information, financial information, and internal trade secrets, you also need to think about security. Google has a long history and a strong reputation in the tech industry, but is G Suite truly secure?
G Suite Security: Basic and Advanced
First, understand that G Suite does offer some built-in security features. However, these may not be enough to keep your organization or its data fully secure. In addition to G Suite’s core features, you can invest in Google Cloud Security to provide an extra layer of protection for your work. Google Cloud Security allows you to automate your framework for security and compliance handling, making your organization safer and your security responsibilities simpler.
What Security Measures Are Inherent in G Suite?
That said, G Suite has significant security built into it. For example, your data is stored in multiple locations, with redundant backups, at one of Google’s 15 data centers around the world. You can control where your data is stored, to some degree. Storage is both encrypted and distributed, so you probably won’t need to worry about a hacker gaining access to your information by taking over a data center. You also don’t need to worry about a data center being physically destroyed, since there are multiple redundant backups around the world.
G Suite also offers a number of different tools for security administrators to use to keep their organization secure. For example, you can create and maintain secure logins for your employees. You can also enable two-factor authentication, which forces users to submit two different verifications of their identity—usually a password and a confirmation code from a mobile device or email address. On top of that, you can enable encrypted messaging and a host of other tools.
The Limitations of G Suite
That said, there are some limitations to the security coverage that G Suite can provide. For example:
- Knowledge and access. G Suite may have lots of built-in security features and options for administrators, but if you don’t know those options exist, or if you don’t go out of your way to activate or use them, they’re going to be useless to you. Some administrators keep everything as default, without ever going out of their way to improve security.
- Strict security and compliance regulations. Certain industries are required to maintain strict security and compliance protocols. For these industries, G Suite’s basic coverage may not be enough.
- Phishing. In a phishing attack, a malicious actor disguises themselves as an authority, then tricks a victim into providing sensitive information, like login information or credit card numbers. If your employees see an email from Google, they may be fooled into providing their login information—and once that information is obtained, no amount of security can protect your account.
- Ransomware. Ransomware is becoming more common, in part due to its accessibility. Ransomware is a type of malware that prevents the use of a machine, or sometimes an entire network, until a ransom is paid. If your employees aren’t careful, their devices could be infected, compromising productivity and potentially jeopardizing your sensitive information stored in the cloud.
- Other software and hardware vulnerabilities. Understand that any of your company devices could be rendered vulnerable by a single vulnerability in their hardware or installed software; if someone gains control of the machine, or if malware is installed, it could eventually lead to their control over the entire device, or the entire network.
- Human errors. It’s also possible for a simple mistake to lead to catastrophic results. If one of your employees chooses a weak password, or forgoes two-factor authentication, or if they do something foolish like leaving their password written on a sticky note by their desk, it could allow a cybercriminal to work around whatever other security measures you have in place.
- Insider threats. Don’t underestimate the possibility of an insider threat. Many security issues originate inside the company—with the people who already have access to your data. Maintain strict internal operations policies, and restrict access to sensitive data if necessary.
Even though Google generally does a great job of protecting the data of its customers, G Suite isn’t a perfectly secure bundle of productivity tools—and you shouldn’t rely on it to keep your organization secure. It needs to be considered as part of a robust series of tools, policies, and protective measures to keep your organization secure.