Google Drive has become an important part of our everyday life. Individuals and organizations alike keep their files in Google Drive. Perhaps, this service is one of the most secure places to store your cloud data. But do you need to implement additional security measures to protect your data even better? Let’s figure out.
Google Drive Security Threats
First things first, let’s figure out what threatens your files stored in Google Drive.
Phishing is a method of stealing valuable data using emails. In a phishing email, an attacker impersonates a known organization or your colleague. Usually, a phishing email contains a link to a malicious site.
A phishing message is composed in a way to look as reputable as possible. That’s why a victim often clicks a corrupted link without hesitation. Ultimately, the goal is to exploit human error and steal important information like credentials or credit card details.
In some cases, scammers use Google Docs in phishing attacks. By creating a document and sharing a link to it via email, hackers can trick a careless user. Opening a corrupted document and clicking a malicious link will enable hackers to steal account credentials.
2. Fake Applications
Companies often rely on SaaS apps to boost productivity or get better tools for analytics. And 70% of companies report using employee-introduced apps. Yet, there’s no guarantee that all apps are risk-free.
Unfortunately, apps can be dangerous. Sometimes, hackers embed malicious code in the seemingly harmless app.
Installing and using a potentially dangerous app can lead to a cyberattack. How? Each app requests permissions (for example, permission to access your files stored in Google Drive). Usually, users grant permissions to apps without a second thought, seeing this process as a routine.
Fake apps enable hackers to abuse permissions and get access to the victim’s critical data. Criminals can use installed apps and their accesses to read, encrypt, or delete your files.
3. Malware & Ransomware
Both individual users and companies can be targeted with malware attacks. Ransomware is one of the malware types that can damage Google Drive. Ransomware encrypts your files to block access to them until you pay a ransom. Files or whole systems can be encrypted.
Google Drive files are often targeted with ransomware attacks, as users will likely pay to get them back. Ransomware is especially dangerous for companies using G Suite users. Google Drive’s synchronization can be used to spread the virus through corporate networks. Even if one employee gets infected, ransomware will encrypt other G Suite accounts.
In many cases, ransomware attacks happen due to user error. For example, a phishing email can be a source of an attack. Clicking an infected link is one of the ways to get ransomware into your network. Alternatively, a user can install a fake app. Hackers can use such apps to infect your data with ransomware to demand money for decryption.
4. Built-in Protection
What about native security features? Google provides comprehensive multi-level security. Here are several key points about the built-in Google cloud security:
- Google Drive files and metadata (e.g. titles and comments) are encrypted. Google uses several layers of encryption to keep your information secure both at rest and in transit.
- Data is encrypted with secure AES256 or AES128 encryption algorithms.
- Google’s data centers use custom hardware running a custom hardened operating system and file system.
- Google implements access control measures to prevent unauthorized parties from reading or using your data.
- Google’s security practices are verified and certified by third-party auditors.
As you can see, encryption is a major part of Google’s security. You can read more about the best encryption for Google Drive and why this security measure is vital.
Undoubtedly, Google systems are very secure. However, data loss still happens. Why? As mentioned earlier, user error is to blame. A lack of caution can initiate a cyberattack or cause data deletion.
That’s why, in addition to built-in security, you’ll need to implement other security measures. They will help you to reduce the negative impact of user error and keep your data protected.
Additional Security Measures to Protect Your Google Drive
So what can you do to give your data additional protection? Here are four great tips to help you.
1. Use Backup and Recovery Software
If something happens to your files, having a backup is the best way to restore them. Google cloud backup and recovery tools will help you to recover damaged files back to your Drive.
Backing up your Google Drive to the cloud means that the backup is done automatically, and your data is encrypted both in transit and at rest. Generally, the granular recovery is faster than recovery from a snapshot, as only damaged files are restored.
2. Implement Application Whitelisting
SaaS applications help us to boost productivity and improve our user experience. However, installing unverified apps can be disastrous for Google Drive and other G Suite services.
Application whitelisting is a security practice based on allowing users to install and use only verified apps. This process greatly reduces the probability of installing an unsafe app. Whitelisting can be done by IT security professionals manually or with specialized software like SpinOne.
3. Set Up Two-Factor Authentication
By default, you need a password to access your Google account. Two-factor authentication (2FA) gives you an extra layer of protection. With 2FA, you’ll need a special code generated with the Google Authenticator app as well.
Long story short, two-factor authentication is a great way to keep your data secure even if you’ve got your credentials stolen. Also, this security measure helps against brute-force attacks.
4. Arrange a Security Training
The role of human error can not be overstated, especially in the business environment, where one user’s mistake can lead to multi-million damages. That’s why making an error less probable is vital.
Education is the answer. Security training helps you and your colleagues to raise your security awareness. An aware person is less likely to click a phishing link or install an unsafe app.
Also, implementing security training procedures may be a compliance requirement in highly regulated industries like healthcare or finances.