Google adds enterprise-grade security controls for G Suite

The new levels of security give customers more control and visibility over their sensitive data.
Written by Stephanie Condon, Senior Writer

On January 31 Google announced new layers of enterprise-grade security controls it's adding to G Suite, giving customers greater control and visibility over sensitive information.

The new features that will enable greater control over information include the ability to enforce the use of login security keys, the addition of Data Loss Prevention (DLP) for Google Drive and S/MIME (Secure/Multipurpose Internet Mail Extensions) for Gmail. Additionally, G Suite customers will be able to gain more visibility into employee activity with Gmail's new integration with BigQuery. Finally, G Suite customers can also integrate Gmail with third-party archiving solutions.

All of the new features are part of the new G Suite Enterprise edition. Security features are, not surprisingly, a significant selling point for productivity and collaboration tools -- Box, for instance, has stressed its security and compliance features to secure major government customers.

Last September, Google rebranded its Apps for Work as G Suite, making a stronger push for enterprise business. Last week, when Google's parent company Alphabet reported its fourth quarter earnings, the company said G Suite last quarter hit a new milestone, reaching more than 3 million paying businesses.

Google introduced 2-step verification for Google accounts in 2011 and later added support for security keys -- a physical token that plugs directly into a laptop or pairs with a mobile device using Bluetooth or NFC. Security keys are more secure against phishing attacks than other methods of 2-step verification, like typing in a code received via text. Now, G Suite Enterprise admins can restrict login capabilities to users with a security key. They'll be able to manage deployment of the keys and view usage reports.

Meanwhile, Google is extending DLP to Google Drive, after launching it for Gmail in 2015. Google says that with its easy-to-configure rules and optical character recognition (OCR) recognition of content stored in images, its DLP protection goes beyond standard offerings.

Google's also improving control over shared data by allowing administrators to enforce (Secure/Multipurpose Internet Mail Extensions) S/MIME usage within Gmail.

For stronger oversight of employee behavior, G Suite administrators can now analyze Gmail logs with BigQuery. The pre-configured integration will allow admins to build custom dashboards. Additionally, integrations with third-party archiving programs such as HP Autonomy or Veritas will help G Suite customers comply with retention policies.

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