8 great Google Workspace tools to build a more secure enterprise

SADA Says | Cloud Computing Blog

By Ashtin Odoy | Google Workspace Deployment Engineer

In today’s remote and hybrid workplaces, team members need to be able to work from anywhere, on any device — but they must be able to do so securely.

Google Workspace Enterprise empowers your team members with productivity, collaboration, and search tools that enable them to connect, create, and collaborate, all while industry-leading security features protect them, their devices, and your organization’s systems and data. Here are 8 security features of Google Workspace Enterprise that reduce your organization’s risk without impeding collaboration and innovation.

1. Security Center

The Security Center builds on the advanced settings in the Google Admin console. A unified security dashboard, a security investigation tool, and a security health check feature provide enhanced visibility and control over security issues.

Security dashboard

The heart of the Security Center, the unified security dashboard, enables administrators to view advanced, real-time security information and analytics and generate customizable reports, including custom charts based on search queries performed using the Security Investigation Tool, that can be shared with other stakeholders within the organization.

Security investigation tool

The security investigation tool enables administrators to identify, prioritize, and take action on security and privacy problems within their organizational domain. Here, administrators can examine log data to determine which users, devices, and applications are accessing organizational data, monitor and investigate file access and sharing, and more. Administrators can also access Gmail message content to locate and delete malicious emails.

Customizable search parameters, including nested queries, enable administrators to build broad or granular queries depending on the nature of their investigation. For example, a search for inbound emails that contain attachments or links can be filtered to display only those sent to users within a specific organizational unit, and filtered further to find only users who opened the attachments or clicked the links.

Security health page

The security health page gives administrators visibility into their Admin Console settings enabling them to better understand and manage security risks. For example, admins can monitor multi-factor authentication usage, automatic email forwarding settings, and file-sharing policies. The security health page also provides customized security advice and best practice recommendations, such as policies for email security, mobile device management, and data loss prevention.

2. Data loss prevention (DLP) tools

Prevent users from accidentally or maliciously sharing sensitive data with DLP tools for Gmail and Drive

  • Scan outbound and inbound email traffic using predefined content detectors specifically designed to locate personal identifying information (PII) and financial data, such as credit card and bank account numbers, Social Security, or passport numbers, along with dozens of other types of sensitive data, including SEC filings, Google Cloud credentials, source code, resume text, IP addresses, ICD codes, medical terminology, and more. 
  • Supplement predefined content detectors with custom keywords or regular expressions (regex) to create highly customized content compliance policies. 
  • Trigger automatic responses in Gmail, such as quarantining, rejecting, or modifying non-compliant messages, and perform regex queries in Drive.
  • Design and enforce rules to prevent users from sharing sensitive content in Google Drive files with others outside the organization. Automatically trigger responses, such as blocking the content, directly warning users not to share sensitive content outside of the organization, and/or alerting administrators and security personnel of violations.
  • Produce audit trails of documents and actions that trigger DLP rules to monitor for the presence of sensitive content in Drive and identify patterns of problematic users or activity.

3. Context-Aware Access

Context-Aware Access enhances general access control policies, such as multi-factor authentication, by enabling administrators to design more granular, contextual controls based on attributes such as user identity, location, device security status, and IP address. For example, admins can allow users to access certain apps only if they are using a company-provided device or bar access from outside the enterprise network. 

4. Security Sandbox

New malware emerges daily, and antivirus programs can’t keep up. Security Sandbox flags messages with potentially malicious attachments and sends them to a “sandbox,” a secure, confined environment where they can be safely scanned and executed to determine if they pose a risk. In addition to preventing malware from landing in user inboxes, Security Sandbox enables administrators to safely observe and analyze the behavior of new malware.

Security Sandbox can scan attachments from both inside and outside the organization’s domain. It can be configured to scan all attachments or only attachments fitting certain criteria, such as files of a certain type, files containing certain words or phrases, or files sent from a certain user or domain.

5. Access Transparency

Google takes customer privacy seriously and will never access customer data unless it’s required to fulfill contractual obligations, such as resolving technical or security issues. Further, Google never grants government entities “backdoor” access to customer data or to Google servers that store customer data.

For extra assurance, Google Workspace Enterprise customers are covered by Google’s Access Transparency policy, which enables customers to review logs of all actions taken by Google staff in cases where they had to access user content. Log content includes the time and reason for the access, such as a customer support request, what resources were accessed and what was done, and information about the Google staff member who accessed the data.

6. Data regions

Some organizations must store data at rest in specific regions for compliance purposes. Google Workspace Enterprise enables administrators to choose where covered data for select Google Workspace apps is stored at rest: globally distributed, in the U.S., or in Europe. There are no minimum seat requirements, and organizations can change their covered data’s location at any time. They can also assign an unlimited number of organizational units (OUs) to a single data region and have multiple regions set for the same domain. When new users join the organization, their data is automatically located based on their specific OU’s policies.

7. S/MIME 

S/MIME (Secure/Multipurpose Internet Mail Extensions) uses asymmetric cryptography to protect emails from unauthorized access. It also enables senders to digitally sign their emails and verify that they are who they claim to be.

Google Workspace administrators can set up compliance and routing rules that require outgoing messages to be signed and encrypted using S/MIME and prevent users from turning encryption off. The rule can be applied to all emails or only to messages meeting certain criteria, such as emails that contain Social Security Numbers or credit card information.

8. Gmail logs in BigQuery

Large enterprises that need customizable, scalable email reports can export Gmail logs to BigQuery, Google’s managed data analytics warehouse solution. While the Google Workspace Admin console keeps Gmail data for only 30 days, BigQuery stores it perpetually. Administrators can create custom Gmail reports, including reports that combine Gmail data with data from other sources, such as organizational directory data, or other Google Workspace apps.

Go further with SADA

SADA has a certified team of cloud consultants and sales engineers to evaluate and activate Google Workspace for organizations that want to power productivity and achieve more, together. When you mobilize Google Workspace with SADA, we put the enterprise-class cloud productivity suite to work for you – better, faster, and more effectively, helping you make technology a catalyst for collaboration and transformation. In addition, we offer a variety of helpful resources to guide you in your cloud transformation journey including #CloudQuarters, an award-winning go-to hub designed to empower our collective community to boldly embrace the cultural shift to remote and hybrid work. And, be sure to check out our video series, 27°, which offers an opinion, or a unique angle, on a particular topic in the realm of Google Workspace. 

Evaluating Google Workspace vs Microsoft 365? Here’s what you need to know.

Download the eBook to learn why leading companies are using Google Workspace to power their remote workforces, and discover why it’s the modern, agile alternative to Microsoft 365.

Evaluating Google Workspace vs Microsoft 365? Here’s what you need to know.

Download the eBook to learn why leading companies are using Google Workspace to power their remote workforces, and discover why it’s the modern, agile alternative to Microsoft 365.


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