All about Google Drive encryption

 With Google Drive—and Google Apps for Work—gaining in popularity when it comes to cloud usage in the workplace, Google Drive security is becoming an important topic of discussion. When dealing with your most sensitive information, it’s often not enough to rely on Google Drive’s default security measures, and adding an additional layer of Google Drive encryption is essential. The security Sookasa offers enables you to seamlessly incorporate Google Drive encryption into your workflow, protecting your data wherever it resides.

Why is Google Drive encryption important?

With the cloud’s many advantages comes a plethora of issues, not least of which is the threat of data breaches and subsequent data theft. With so many companies now using Google Drive to store, share, and sync sensitive company data, financial information, privileged client files, or patients’ personal health information, there’s a lot of critical information on the line. A data breach could result in the exposure of intellectual property, personal harm to clients or patients, compliance and privacy violations, and financial damage. Google Drive offers a slew of security measures that protect files like these in the cloud, but a major flaw in the software’s default security is the lack of Google Drive encryption for files synced to mobile devices.

What this means is that without adding an extra layer of protection, files stored in Google Drive lose their security as soon as they’re synced to a smartphone, tablet, or laptop. If that mobile device gets lost or stolen—which happens astonishingly often—the synced files are there, simply waiting to be exposed and potentially used for ill.

You might be asking yourself, how likely is this, really? The short answer is: likely. Take the healthcare industry, for instance. In the past three years, nearly 70 percent of security breaches occurred because of lost or stolen devices, and nearly half of all stolen PHI came from laptops, smartphones, or tablets. Contrast that with the mere 23 percent of breaches that occurred as a result of “traditional” hacking. Protecting data on mobile devices with Google Drive encryption is critical.

An additional layer of Google Drive encryption is important for protecting files that are synced to mobile devices. Having files at your fingertips and easily collaborating are two tenets of today’s business world, and doing so without the proper security of Google Drive encryption is simply untenable. Many companies that are concerned about the default Google Drive encryption standards, which do not extend to devices, limit or disable entirely the syncing features of Google Drive, taking away one of the primary advantages of the cloud. That’s not a good solution because employees are bound to use unsanctioned workarounds, which leaves sensitive information equally—if not more—vulnerable to theft. The only secure solution is to add an extra layer of end-to-end Google Drive encryption.

How does Google Drive encryption work?

The Google Drive encryption Google itself uses protects files on the cloud platform’s servers. But Google Drive’s server-side encryption is not quite sufficient to secure your files, because Google provides and controls your files’ encryption keys. It’s important to separate your data and keys.

The most common trouble comes once files are synced to mobile devices and leave the cloud server: At this point, the encryption doesn’t continue to hold and sensitive files are left vulnerable. That’s where Sookasa can step in to help with Google Drive encryption.

Sookasa’s Google Drive encryption solution does protect files that are synced to mobile devices. By encrypting files before they ever reach the cloud, Sookasa guarantees that they’ll remain encrypted regardless of where they’re shared, synced, or emailed via a secure link.

What’s more, by deploying Google Drive encryption with Sookasa, you can rest assured that neither Sookasa nor Google Drive will be able to access your sensitive files. It’s simply good security hygiene to separate the data and the keys so that if one or the other does get hacked, the malicious actor won’t be able to find all the pieces of the puzzle. Only you and other authorized users have both the keys and the data.

If the files should fall into the wrong hands—either because of a data breach or because a mobile device is lost or stolen—the encrypted files will appear as an incomprehensible jumble to anyone who’s not an authorized user. With Google Drive encryption, users—and businesses—can breathe easy that their sensitive company and client data will remain secure regardless of how it’s used in the cloud.

What are Google Drive encryption specifics?

Google Drive’s data centers are SSAE 16 / ISAE 3402 Type II and SOC 2-audited, with ISO 27001 certification. For the most part, Google Drive is compliant with FISMA, FERPA, and HIPAA and adheres to the Safe Harbor Privacy Principles.

How does Sookasa’s Google Drive encryption differ from that of other encryption providers?

There are a number of Google Drive encryption providers out there. Most do not offer Sookasa’s ease of use and seamless integration and does not give administrators much control.

Where other Google Drive encryption solutions might require uploading files to a unique drive, Sookasa integrates seamlessly with Google Drive so that securely encrypting files is as simple as hitting “save.” Saving files to a unique drive has its own problems, because by adding an extra step, files will inevitably be saved to the cloud without Google Drive encryption.

Sookasa also enables administrators to monitor who is accessing and editing encrypted files. The audit trail makes it easy to detect unauthorized users and stop a data breach before it happens. Moreover, revoking access to users and devices is simple and effectively keeps terminated employees or unauthorized team members from accessing confidential information.

So what’s the bottom line on Google Drive encryption?

  1. Google Drive itself is reasonably secure, but not secure enough that your data won’t be vulnerable in the case of theft, loss, or breach. Adding an extra layer of file-level encryption is a must to protect sensitive information on mobile devices and in the event of breaches on Google Drive’s servers.
  1. Practice good security hygiene by ensuring your content and its encryption keys are kept separate. This allows only authorized users to access your data, and will prevent your cloud storage provider (and its employees) from accessing it. Sookasa ensures that keys are kept separate when Google Drive encryption is deployed.
  1. Maintain an audit trail that will allow you to see who is accessing your encrypted files and when—even if they’re synced to devices. If you’re working with a team or a group of employees, you’ll see authorized users accessing files. However, if unfamiliar activity appears in your audit trail, you’ll be able to act fast and stop a breach before it happens.