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How to Improve Your Google Drive Security


July 9, 2021

4 minute read

howtoimprovegoogledrivesecurity feature

To learn more about file security, check out SaaS Data Security Report 2021: Top Risks in File Security.

There’s no doubt that Google Drive continues to grow in popularity as time goes on. The convenience factor simply can’t be ignored. You can work on projects and store them online while giving access to others who need to work on the same files. It’s a valuable tool for both business and personal file storage.

However, with all of this convenience comes a bit of concern: “Is my Google Drive secure? Are my files safe?”

To give you a better understanding of Google Drive security, let’s review how Google handles security, a few of its vulnerabilities, and some tips to make sure your Google Drive is always secure.

How Google Drive security works

It’s no secret that security is a priority for Google. With an astronomically high number of users comes a certain level of responsibility to provide top-notch Google Drive security.

Google Drive uses two different levels of security:

  1. 256-bit SSL/TLS encryption
  2. 128-bit AES keys

You’re likely asking yourself: Why two different levels of security?

Data becomes more vulnerable whenever it’s uploaded, downloaded, or accessed by end-users. This makes it easier for hackers to intercept data being transferred between the user and Google Drive. When these files are in motion, the higher 256-bit encryption level makes it harder for hackers to access them. While files are static, the lesser, yet still strong 128-bit encryption is used.

Also, while files are being stored in Google Drive, Google breaks them into several chunks. Each of these chunks is given a separate encryption key. Not only are these chunks useless on their own to a hacker, but it would take a superhuman effort for that effort just to obtain each piece of data.
Overall, Google Drive security seems to be fairly airtight. However, there are still a few concerns for IT admins to be aware of and be proactive about remediating.

Google Drive security vulnerabilities

One of the biggest Google Drive security vulnerabilities has to do with how Google has keys to access your data at all times.

Hackers have an easier time accessing your data since Google can decrypt your files at any time. Should a server breach occur, all of your data could be largely compromised.

At the end of the day, you can be your own worst enemy when it comes to Google Drive security. For each device (computer, phone, or tablet) you choose to sync with Google Drive, you can choose which folders will sync from Google Drive to that device. Some users choose to sync all folders, and some select specific folders to sync. Either way, should a hacker gain access to any of these devices, they will have access to the data you’ve synced over from Google Drive to that device.

Losing track of who has access to your Google Drive files is another potential vulnerability. It can be tough to manage access to your files, especially if IT is doing so without a SaaS management platform.

With these vulnerabilities lurking, IT must implement additional Google Drive security measures to protect your important data.

Tips for Improving Google Drive Security

Despite Google Drive security being adequate out of the box, it still makes sense to do everything in your power to protect your data.

Here are some important tips for keeping your data safe and secure.

Two-factor authentication

Phishing traps can be used to obtain your password and gain access to all of your Google Drive files. Not an ideal scenario for anyone, whether it’s business files or personal data.

Because of this, two-factor authentication is quickly growing in popularity as a security measure for various software and applications. It’s a simple countermeasure designed to prevent hackers who have obtained your password

Enabling two-factor authentication means that Google will send a verification code to your mobile phone number after you enter your password. If someone is trying to maliciously gain access to your files, they’ll need both your password and your phone to do so.

While it may seem tedious to enter this code every time you sign in to your Google Drive, it only adds a few extra seconds to the experience. Two-factor authentication is also simple to set up. Here’s a guide from Google to help you get started with two-factor authentication.

Keep the circle small

As we’ve mentioned, it’s easy to lose track of who has access to your Google Drive, especially in the business world.

A good place to start is by ensuring that everyone only has access to the files they need to do their jobs. This “least-privilege” principle helps you keep track of who can access data and can help you reduce potential data exposure.

Back up your data

Losing critical business or personal data and files can be a mess, which is why backing up your Google Drive is a crucial step to eliminate the impact of this scenario.

Losing data isn’t always someone else’s fault, either. It’s easy to accidentally delete files that you intended to keep—a mistake that everyone on the planet has made at some point.

Leverage a SaaS management platform to simplify data security

As several research reports have confirmed, the SaaS explosion has created a new (and urgent) need for a SaaS management platform like BetterCloud. Without full visibility into how files are shared internally and externally, it’s virtually impossible for IT to secure a cloud-based environment.

BetterCloud enables IT admins to simplify file security in several ways. Our content scanning capabilities give you the visibility that you need to ensure that files aren’t improperly shared or exposed. Admins can also build automated workflows to remediate oversharing of sensitive information without manual intervention.

Want to get into the nitty-gritty of how BetterCloud empowers you to secure your organization’s files? Check out this in-depth blog post on our content scanning functionality.

Take Action and Improve Your Google Drive Security

Being concerned with your Google Drive security is perfectly reasonable. You wouldn’t want any of your data to end up in the wrong hands.

Security is certainly a priority for Google, but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t any risks and vulnerabilities. Google always having access to your files is a cause for concern for many security experts. Not to mention the damage that either you or the people who have access to your drive that you don’t know about can cause.

Data security is crucial for both business use and personal files. Implement these tips today and ensure that your Google Drive is as secure as possible.

To learn more about how BetterCloud can help you improve your Google Drive security, click here to schedule a demo.