How secure is google drive? If you conduct a majority of your work online, you have probably become accustomed to Google Drive. It is an easy-to-use, convenient cloud-based software. You can create regular “Word” style docs on this platform, spreadsheets as smart as those you can create in Excel, share pictures, share documents within your organization, and restrict access to anyone outside of it. You can also create professional-looking forms, draw, and so much more via this online platform. Additionally, you can watch people make edits as they make them, view revision history, use folders to sort files (the organizer in you is rejoicing), comment on files, and convert your Word or other outside docs to online documents that can be shared as you see fit. Really, Google Drive is a wonderful thing.
However, many people are still hesitant to use it because they doubt the security of the platform. After all, it’s an online system that can be as easily accessed as a typical website, right? Not so much.
Additional Information in Google Drive Security
A standard Drive user likely relies on the small safety specifications implemented by Google itself, the strongest of which is the 265-bit AES encryption, a code that is supposedly “uncrackable” by those at the internet giant. That said, Google can only do so much to protect its users, and unfortunately, it cannot protect users from the biggest threat of all—themselves.
Your own cloud-based habits may be putting your documents at risk of exposure. Cloud-based sharing and storage are inherently risky, which is why each platform offers its own form of security. But, that security becomes compromised once platforms are integrated with one another. Fortunately, those limitations are easy to overcome, but you must first understand how the security on each platform works. This guide serves as a brief overview of How secure Google Drive security works and what you can do on your end to keep your files safe and secure.
The Basics of Google Drive Security (How secure is Google Drive)
The security measures implemented by Google for its cloud-computing technology are fairly simple and straightforward. While you may be expecting an e-book’s worth of information, Drive security can be explained in four steps to How secure is Google Drive:
- Before you even hit “share,” Google uses the TLS standard to encrypt your documents, the same criterions used to encode your internet connections. Once encrypted, it is uploaded to the site.
- Once it’s with the all-mighty internet being, it is then unencrypted. Fear not though, as it is immediately re-encrypted using a different standard—the 128-bit AES. Though not as tough as other algorithms you may be aware of, it’s perfectly fine for transferring purposes. This unencrypted and re-encryption is done immediately before any information is actually warehoused. It is done for the sole purpose of preventing any information from being leaked during the transformation process.
- If you were worried about the weaker algorithm being used, don’t be. The AES encryption codes that were used to encode your documents are then safeguarded with their own protective algorithms. Now your document is more secure than those secured with the 256-bit algorithms.
- To make data retrieval easier on you, the whole process is simply reversed once you open a document on your device or a device with an access code.
More Information to How secure is Google Drive
Simple, right? If all that encryption talk is overwhelming, don’t worry; you’re not alone. However, if you think that sounds TOO simple and want to know what else Google does to beef up Drive security, your head is in the right place. When it comes to corporate documents or even highly personal ones, you can never be too careful. Google agrees, which is why it has added these additional safety features:
- Metadata Encryption: Not only is your actual data encrypted twice, but your metadata, or the data about your data, is encrypted as well.
- Two-Factor Authentication: Though Google doesn’t require all Drive users to utilize this feature, it is handy for especially confidential information. You need a password to log into Google Drive, but at the rate at which passwords are to hack these days, many agree that password authentication is not enough. You can turn on the two-factor authentication here.
- More Encryption: Finally, Google has made it so that all data moved and passed between Google’s own data centers is encrypted as well. So, not only is your data encrypted when it is shared outside of your location, but it is also re-encrypted when shared from device to device on the same network.
How secure is Google Drive: Measures You Can Take To Boost Security
As mentioned above, users are the biggest threat to document security. Google has worked on its end to ensure that your documents are as secure as possible, but it cannot take into consideration what other cloud-based platforms you’ll connect with Drive, or how you’ll use your data, or what security measures you currently have in place on your own network. That is your job. Fortunately, beefing up security isn’t as complicated as you might think. Sometimes, boosting security is as simple as strengthening your usernames and passwords.
- Change Your UN and PW: Oftentimes, it’s the simple things that pose the greatest threats, such as your weak passwords and usernames. Think about it—you can invest in all the high-end security for your home that your money can buy, but if you forget to lock the front door, an intruder can get in. If your password and username are too simple, you’ve basically left the front door unlocked. Some tips for strengthening your password include:
- Make it a passphrase.
- Use at least 12 characters and a mix of numbers, capital and lowercase letters, and symbols.
- Have multiple passwords for different accounts.
- Don’t use obvious names, phrases or numbers (using your birthday is never a great idea).
- Use the Two-Step Verification: What’s better than the one really strong password? Two really strong passwords! Just like your phone has, you use your fingerprint to log in, and then it requires you to re-enter your password for certain apps. Google Drive may request that you log in to drive and then into a document.
- Secure Your Google Account: Google Drive documents are accessed via your Google Drive account, so anyone who has access to that account has access to your documents. Secure your account with a tough password, and whenever you access your Gmail or Google account on a computer, be sure to log out. Someone accessing your Google Drive on a library computer is far worse than a person posting a fake status on your Facebook page.
- Backup Your Documents: The only thing worse than losing a document to a thief, is losing the ONLY document of its kind to a thief. Backup your files via a hard drive and, if a document is especially important, print a copy, and store it in a safe, or some other secure location.
- Add Your Own Encryption: Google does a good job of encrypting data, but it wouldn’t hurt to add some code of your own. In doing so, you ensure that you are the ONLY person who can access the data. If you want to share the information, your encryption can allow you to do so in a safe way.
In short, Google Drive is secure, but there are measures you can take to make it even more so. If you don’t trust Drive, then don’t use it, but beware that without you taking measures of your own, any cloud or non-cloud storage platform is going to pose a threat to your privacy.
So, How Secure Is Google Drive?
At risk of sounding repetitive, it cannot be stress enough that Google Drive is only as secure as you make it. Google has taken several measures to ensure that users can use its platform simple enough, while still operating with peace of mind. That said, if it implemented more security measures, the platform likely wouldn’t be very user-friendly.
That said, according to one study, only half of the cloud users actually examined the security features of their chosen platform. Of those surveyed, 15 percent said that they had been a hack. This is not surprising, as it’s easy to get hacked if you don’t know what security features are, and are not protecting your documents in the first place.
Cloud-based platforms are often the target for thieves because users simply assume that the creator has not only implemented all the proper security measures but also because they assume that the creator will accept liability for property stolen. Neither of these is the case. If you put something out on the internet, it’s your responsibility to ensure its security, no matter how secure a platform claims to be. When you open that file on a device that is not your own or shares it with others outside of your network, you put your data at an even greater risk.
Bearing that in mind, cloud services are no less secure than, say, a physical hard drive or a filing cabinet. A thief could easily break into your office after hours and steal your computer, or a manipulative employee could copy a file for his or her own use after quitting. Threats are everywhere, both online and off, and it’s how you prepare for them that makes all the difference.