What You Need to Know Before Uploading Private Information to Google Drive

What You Need to Know Before Uploading Private Information to Google DriveGoogle Drive is a convenient way to access your documents from the cloud. Google apps gives businesses and organizations a customizable way to manage several Google products, including Google Drive. Because of its affordability and ease of use, companies are increasingly using Google Apps to incorporate sensitive information to their file servers.  Understanding how to take advantage of all the file sharing collaboration benefits that Google Drive has to offer will help make sure your information is safely stored away.

What does Google Drive mean for companies?

Google Drive is the entry point for those who are using Google Docs as their file server. If you’re thinking about using Google Drive more for your business, take some time to read through the following:

Sensitive data sharing. The more corporate data you have within Google apps, the more sensitive data you have within the cloud. Making files available in Google Drive is as simple as putting them into a folder on your desktop. Needless to say, you don’t want things like financial data and passwords falling into the hands of hackers or other unauthorized persons.

Inexpensive storage upgrading.  When it comes to uploading files to Google, you only have a storage limit of one gigabyte for each user. However, the limit doesn’t apply to any documents that are created within Google Docs itself.  Introducing Google Drive will cause those who upload frequently to hit their limits quickly, which leads to businesses purchasing additional space to store their documents.  Since this add-on is relatively inexpensive, many of the businesses opt to purchase additional storage space in Google Docs.

Simpler Collaboration. With abundance of file formats in Google Docs, combined with ease of sharing those files, businesses can now collaborate more freely than formerly possible. More collaboration means less wasted time, miscommunication, and unnecessary costs.

Securing Your Data. Much like with your own website security, there are certain precautions you can take to protect your data. Before you upload sensitive data to your account, there are some steps you can take to make sure that the only ones who see your files are the ones you want to see them.

Securing your Google Account: Since your Google account is the access point to your Google Drive documents, you should make sure that it’s secure enough that you’d be comfortable sharing sensitive information with it. Google offers a number of suggestions for securing your account, including:

  • Checking regularly for viruses and malware
  • Making sure your account recovery options are always up to date
  • Not using your account username and password on any other sites
  • Enrolling in 2-step verification

Install Google Drive on Your Own Machine: When using a public or shared computer, pass on the option to install Google Drive on the machine. Once you do, anyone who opens the application on that computer will have access to your files.

Choose the Right Setting: When you create or upload a document or folder, you can set visibility to Private, Anyone with a link, or Public.

Secure Google Docs with CloudLock: Using CloudLock for Google apps lets companies secure the data that they upload through Google Drive, as well as any files that were created within the app. It includes features that help maintain privacy and compliance standards, such as the CloudLock Compliance Scan. This scan “identifies, classifies, and secures very sensitive information” that you have stored on Google Drive.

Another important feature is the CloudLock Security Policy Engine. This allows you to create acceptable use policies for your domain’s version of Google Drive. Beyond following all of the remediation steps mentioned, the security engine in CloudLock also lets customers automate data loss prevention.  Implementing a content-aware policy is simple in Google Drive.

Step One: Provide the DLP Policy with a Meaningful Name

Make sure the policy has a meaningful name to track any items that are in violation of the policy.  The policy will already be active by default. Whenever you have an active policy, all of the relevant documents are flagged when CloudLock performs a scan.

Step Two: Defining the Data for the Specific Policy

When it comes to your data, you need to specify where the data is coming from, such as Google Docs, Google Sites, or a combination of the two. Specify where the policy should apply to a specific group of users or everyone in the domain.  If there is only a small set of users that need access, you can outline them by subdomains, email address, or organizational units.

Define the violations set up for the policy.  All of the policies can be set up to flag combinations of sharing exposures. Public exposure applies when anyone on the Internet has access to information.  External exposure is when you are sharing with those who are outside of your domain.

Step Three: Defining a Set of Actions for Individual Policies

When defining the actions for all of your policies, make sure that the data for the policy meets the criteria specified.

Step Four: Don’t Forget to Save

Above all else, make sure you click on the save button to execute all of the changes you made for the next scan that CloudLock runs.

By securing your Google account, only installing Google Drive on your own machine, and using CloudLock, you can exercise a lot of control over who sees the data on Google Drive and when. When used correctly, Google Drive is a unique, convenient way for companies to collaborate on projects without compromising privacy.