Your data is safer than ever: Google has added another security feature to its Workspace and education suites.
The tech giant is rolling out client-side encryption — Workspace Enterprise Plus, Education Plus, and Education Standard customers can all apply now for the beta version of the function.
Google has limited the new security feature to web browser use for now, but given how many companies operate remotely and from the cloud, that's a big boon for workforce security for everyone using Google's professional services.
What Is Client-Side Encryption?
Client-side encryption stands apart from the server-side variety, offering even more protection: Server-side encryption requires that the server remain trusted in order to stay secure, but any data that has already been encrypted on the client's side will always remain secure, even if bad actors attempt to access it from the server.
No one anticipates the server being breached, sure, but it never hurts to have another layer of security in case it ever is.
Technically, this isn't end-to-end encryption, as many tech sites have reported: End-to-end encryption refers to a communication process, with both the sender and receiver using a software key to encrypt a message before sending it and decrypt it after receiving it. Client-side encryption just allows the client to safely store data without allowing access from a server or service provider. Google explains it all in the blog post announcement:
“Using client-side encryption in Gmail ensures sensitive data in the email body and attachments are indecipherable to Google servers. Customers retain control over encryption keys and the identity service to access those keys.”
How to Get Started
Admins can start using the beta version of the security now with a few steps. First, you'll need to have an eligiable Workspace plan. Then, you'll have to find the feature and turn it on. The process will look like this:
Admin console > Security > Access and data control > Client-side encryption
Once the switch is flipped, all end users can add client-side encryption to any message by clicking the lock icon and selecting “additional encryption.”
This new tool isn't a huge leap from how Google ensures data is kept safe: The tech conglomerate already makes the functionality available for many popular services including Google Drive, Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides, Google Meet, and Google Calendar (in beta).
Staying Safe Online
If you're looking for a web conferencing service for your business, we'd rate Google Meet's services fairly highly, although there are plenty of other options as well.
And if protecting private data is a top concern, you'll be happy to know that new client-side encryption is just the tip of the iceberg for the service's security tools.