Home Internet Google will let enterprises store their Google Workspace encryption keys – TechCrunch

Google will let enterprises store their Google Workspace encryption keys – TechCrunch

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As ubiquitous as Google Docs has become in the last year alone, a significant criticism often overlooked by the countless workplaces who use it is that it isn’t end-to-end encrypted, allowing Google — or any requesting government agency — access to a company’s files. But Google is finally addressing that key complaint with a round of updates that will let customers shield their data by storing their own encryption keys.

Google Workspace, the company’s enterprise offering that includes Google Docs, Slides, and Sheets, adds client-side encryption so that a company’s data will be indecipherable to Google. Companies using Google Workspace can store their encryption keys with one of four partners for now: Flowcrypt, Futurex, Thales, or Virtru, which are compatible with Google’s specifications. The move is primarily aimed at regulated industries — like finance, healthcare, and defense — where intellectual property and sensitive data are subject to intense privacy and compliance rules.

The natural magic lands later in the year when Google will publish details of an API that will let enterprise customers build their own in-house critical service, allowing workplaces to retain direct control of their encryption keys. That means if the government wants that company’s data, they have to knock on their front door — and not sneak around the back by serving the key holder with a legal demand.

Google

Google published technical details of how the client-side encryption feature works and will roll out as a beta in the coming weeks. Tech companies giving their corporate customers control of their own encryption keys has been a growing trend in recent years. Slack and cloud vendor Egnyte bucked the trend by allowing enterprise users to store their own encryption keys, effectively cutting themselves out of the surveillance loop. But Google has dragged its feet on encryption for so long that startups are working to build alternatives that bake in encryption from the ground up.

Google said it’s also pushing out new trust rules for how files are shared in Google Drive to give administrators more granularity on how different levels of sensitive files can be shared. New data classification labels mark documents with a sensitivity group such as “secret” or “internal”. The company said it’s improving its malware protection efforts by blocking phishing and malware shared from within organizations. The aim is to help cut down on employees mistakenly sharing malicious documents.

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