Is it safe to store data in the cloud?
Although concerns around security has significantly reduced compared to the past, the idea of storing important business data in the cloud is unsafe still resides deeply in the minds of many people.
In this article, we do not wish to abuse the word ‘Security’ by using it as a fancy buzzword, instead, we will talk about some of the real threats to security that exist in real-life situations as well as G Suite’s solutions to these threats. We hope that this will be useful to you.
Will data be lost?
Data is the lifeblood of a business. In order to prevent any data loss from happening, multiple backup procedures are configured. Such issue is completely out of a G Suite user’s concern. Why? It is because data is stored separately in Google’s data centers around the world, therefore significantly reduce the risk of data loss. Never put all your eggs in one bag, right? In addition, a strict backup policy is also applied to all of the data centers run by Google in an attempt to minimize the possibility of data loss. Nevertheless, there’s no way we can completely eliminate the risk of data loss. However, it is safe to say that the ability of a company to safeguard business data against catastrophic events such as natural disaster and data theft can hardly compete with that of Google’s. Isn’t it much safer to store your data in Google’s world-class data centers than in your own?
Is it safe to store data outside the country?
As one of the most critical means to ensure data security, business data is stored separately across Google’s data centers around the world. However, there are some companies who can not store business data overseas due to legal constraints or privacy concern. For companies with such concern, G Suite Business and Enterprise edition both allow users to choose a region in which they wish their data to be stored. Currently there are only two options available: the United States and Europe. For this reason, if your company does not allow business data to be stored outside the country where your company operates, G Suite may not suit your company. (While Office 365 allows user to choose a specific country as data location where available) If it is okay for your company to have data stored outside the country as long as there is at least one complete backup stored locally in the same country in accordance with your company’s policy, some third-party solution may help. Please feel free to ask our specialists for more information.
Is it possible that our data will be leaked?
Many companies are worried about whether it’s safe to store data in the cloud because they think cyberattacks and data breaches are more likely to happen. Fortunately, it is less of an issue with Google because Google always puts security in the first place when it comes to managing data centers. Robust security policy is applied to every application of G Suite and all the data are encrypted in transit. (Having said that, Google disclosed in April, 2019 that a small number of its enterprise customers had their password stored on its system in plain text due to some inappropriate password reset feature.) If you have been using Google’s services you should probably already know it’s no news that Google constantly improves its services with the most up to date technology. For example, G Suite will automatically alerts Admins of abnormal logins and 99.9% spam filtering feature in Gmail, etc. All these world-class features are incorporated in G Suite.
Will Google use or inspect our data?
We used to be hosting G Suite seminars at Google’s office. There was one time an attendee asked, ‘What if you (Google) steal our data?’. It seems a little offensive to raise such a sharp question but Google’s representative’s reaction to it was unforgettable. He simply replied with another question: ‘Are you worried about your money being stolen by the bank clerk when you are saving money at the bank?’ In fact, there is one article from the G Suite terms of service that says ‘Google does not own the data customers created. While Google is the data processor, the customers remain data controller’ and ‘Moreover, there are no ads in G Suite and Google will not process Customer Data for Advertising purposes or serve Advertising in the Services’.
What if an employee is intentionally leaking our data?
Although G Suite is a very secure service by itself, insider threats still exist within any organization. In order to prevent data breach or data leakage caused by malicious employees or ex-employees, a G Suite admin can easily manage users and monitor user status from the Admin Console at anytime. When an employee leaves the company, Admins can suspend his or her account just by one click. In addition, the Vault service that comes with G Suite Business edition as well as Enterprise edition can store and archive all business data from emails to chat history associated with the business domain with unlimited storage. This is particularly important for businesses with the need of data archiving or e-discovery when a legal issue occurs.
The whole discussion about security and underlying risks comes down to one conclusion: Is the service provider reliable and trustworthy. For most people, it is more difficult to trust what you can’t see. The fact is, there are more security vulnerabilities and risks around us than we may have identified. Such as the NAS server at the back of the office that people forget about; employees using unauthorized commercial apps that are out of company’s control like Whatsapp to communicate with people outside the company; granting too many unnecessary permissions to an IT staff that will not stay long, etc. All these examples of underlying security loopholes reside in any organization can cause greater damage to the business than anything else. As for the mistake made by Google to have passwords stored in plaintext that we’ve mentioned earlier was disclosed to the public by Google itself because Google wanted its users to know that Google is a trustworthy company who would confront its own mistake and continue to improve itself. If you still don’t have any faith in Google’s products or services, then G Suite is probably not an option for your company to consider at all.