How secure is Google Drive? 10 Things You Need to Know About Cloud Security

Supreme flexibility, enhanced collaboration, reduced overhead costs: it’s no wonder cloud computing in general, and Google Drive in particular, has become one of the most popular business tools for modern companies. And the trend is still growing: according to the Cisco Global Cloud Index, 78% of workloads will be processed by cloud data centers by 2018. That’s a lot of data! But how secure is it, and how secure is Google Drive in particular?

In theory, Google Drive security is more than adequate for any user. By using 256-bit AES encryption, a cipher many consider uncrackable, the eggheads at Google have provided their users with top-notch protection. Unfortunately, even Google’s techno-wizardry can’t overcome the biggest security flaw in any system: the humans who use it.

If you want to know how secure is Google Drive, first have a long, hard look at your own cloud security habits. If you never think about Google Drive security, then there is a good chance your security isn’t what it should be. 

The first step is to become better informed. Here are 10 things you need to know about Google Drive security and protecting your investment in the cloud:

    1. Cloud computing platforms — and their applications — are only getting bigger and more complex. 90% of enterprise companies employ “Hybrid Clouds,” which is a cloud plus another cloud or application. The levels of security vary between providers, as does the accountability each one takes in owning your data. While they will provide the infrastructure, much of the responsibility in managing these growing systems falls on in-house operations. Instead of wondering how secure is Google Drive a better question is how secure are the apps and other platforms you use with Google Drive.
    2. A surprisingly large number of businesses are in the dark about security.
      According to the recently released Security of Cloud Computing Users Study, only half of those surveyed said that they examine the cloud security features of the services they use. Moreover, only 50% of those surveyed were completely confident in the security of their cloud services. How secure is Google Drive if you don’t even look at the security features? Not very. Don’t be in the half that never bother to look.
    3. Roughly 15% of business Cloud users have been hacked, according to a study by cloud company Netskope. That’s a lot of potentially sensitive data in jeopardy! Typically, it’s not until a hack happens that a company starts to look to improve upon their security solutions. “How secure is Google drive?” is a question you should definitely be asking. The threat is real.
    4. On the other hand, avoiding the cloud doesn’t make you safer. “The biggest security threat is connecting anything (laptops, etc.) to the public internet or deploying any software to the public internet,” added Dave Nielsen (@davenielsen), co-founder, CloudCamp. When it comes to Google Drive security vs private system security, it’s more about connectivity than whether or not you are using a cloud
    5. The simplest things often pose the biggest security threats. The main culprit? Usernames and passwords. Any easy way to avoid mishaps is to remind employees of the merits of a tough password, which contains at least 16 characters, a mix of uppercase and lowercase letters, plus numbers and special characters. Again, if you are wondering how secure is Google drive, a better question is how security conscious are the humans using it.
    6. Identity management helps shrink vulnerabilities. Google offers a 2-step verification process to add an additional layer to Google Drive security via your mobile phone or security key. With 2-step verification, you’ll protect your account with something you know (your password, ideally a tough one) and something you have (your phone or Security Key). Double trouble for bad guys, and great reassurance for anyone worried how secure is Google Drive
    7. Physical security measures are important, especially as storage is perceived as the riskiest cloud app. Although providing a physical location for storing files isn’t a cure all for security concerns, it will help you be sure that accurate backups and proper file location is available. Take steps like implementing Google Drive for Desktop to help increase Google Drive security. Desktop users can create a special folder on their computer and drop files into it, and that folder syncs with your Drive account as fast as the file can be sent to the cloud.
    8. Encryption puts the user in the driver seat. To enhance security, client data can be encrypted before it is uploaded to the cloud. Services such as Bitcasa, Open Drive, and Egnyte provide plenty of information about their secure cloud storage, and guarantee encrypted data transfer and redundant storage. Takeaway: if you are worried about how secure is Google Drive, there are plenty of options for extra encryption.
    9. Many organizations don’t have security policies at all. Let’s change that. For most of us, the need for speed and convenience outweighs angst about security (at least until you have your first security breach). The best thing you can do is take ownership of your files and storage, and not rely on your cloud provider to backup your data or restore it when hard times fall. Verdict: if you don’t have a company security policy, asking how secure is Google Drive is the wrong question!

Bottom line: both IT teams and individual employees all need to pitch in to make cloud computing an organizational win. You never know when the bad guys might strike. It helps also to make sure you are with the most secure provider possible. Go check out our Google Drive vs Dropbox Guide to find out why Dropbox might be a safer option.

So, how secure is Google Drive in your company? What are you doing to increase your cloud security?

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