Google Workspace security and trust
Protecting your data is our top priority.
Protecting your data is our top priority.
Google started in the cloud and runs on the cloud, so it's no surprise that we fully understand the security implications of powering your business in the cloud. Because Google and our enterprise services run on the same infrastructure, your organisation will benefit from the protections that we've built and use every day. Our robust global infrastructure, along with dedicated security professionals and our drive to innovate, enables Google to stay ahead of the curve and offer a highly secure, reliable and compliant environment.
Google has industry-leading knowledge and expertise in building secure cloud infrastructure and applications at scale. While many providers can make these assertions, we believe that security and privacy must be seen and understood by our customers, not just done behind the scenes.
Security and data protection are central to the design of Google's data centres. Our physical security model includes safeguards such as custom electronic access cards, perimeter fencing and metal detectors. We also use cutting-edge tools such as biometrics and laser-based intrusion detection to make physical breaches a 'mission impossible' scenario for would-be attackers. See inside a Google data centre.
Google runs its data centres using custom-designed hardware with a hardened operating system and file system. Each of these systems is optimised for security and performance. As Google controls the hardware stack, we can quickly respond to any threats or weaknesses that may emerge.
Google's application and network architecture is designed for maximum reliability and uptime. Because data is distributed across Google's servers and data centres, your data will still be accessible if a machine fails – or even if an entire data centre goes down. Google owns and operates data centres around the world to keep the services that you use running 24 hours a day, every day of the year. Our integrated approach to infrastructure security works in concert across multiple layers: hardware infrastructure, service deployment, user identity, storage, Internet communication and operations security. Learn more in our Infrastructure Security Design white paper.
Google's private, global, software-defined network provides more flexibility, control and security than any other cloud service provider. Our network connects multiple data centres using our own fibre, public fibre and undersea cables. This allows us to deliver identical, highly available, low-latency services to Google Workspace customers across the globe, and limits exposure of customer data to the public Internet, where it may be subject to interception. Google Workspace customers' data is encrypted when it's on a disk, stored on backup media, moving over the Internet or travelling between data centres. Encryption is an important piece of the Google Workspace security strategy, helping to protect your emails, chats, Google Drive files and other data.
Get additional details on how data is protected at rest, in transit and on backup media, as well as information on encryption key management in the Google Workspace Encryption white paper.
At Google, all employees are required to think 'security first'. Google employs many full-time security and privacy professionals, including some of the world's leading experts in information, application and network security. To ensure that Google stays protected, we incorporate security into our entire software development process. This can include getting security professionals to analyse proposed architectures and perform code reviews to uncover security vulnerabilities and better understand the various attack models for a new product or feature. When situations do arise, our dedicated Google Workspace Incident Management Team is committed to ensuring that incidents are addressed with minimal disruption to our customers through rapid response, analysis and remediation.
Google's research and outreach activities protect the wider community of Internet users – beyond just those who choose our solutions. Our full-time team known as Project Zero aims to discover high-impact vulnerabilities in widely used products from Google and other vendors. We commit to carrying out our work transparently and to reporting bugs to software vendors directly – without involving third parties.
Security has always been a top priority for Google. Here are a few ways in which we've set the bar higher:
Google is the first major cloud provider to enable perfect forward secrecy, which encrypts content as it moves between our servers and those of other companies. With perfect forward secrecy, private keys for a connection are ephemeral, which in turn prevents retroactive decryption of HTTPS sessions by an adversary or even the server operator. Many industry peers have followed suit or committed to adoption in the future.
Every single email message that you send or receive – 100% of them – is encrypted while moving between Google's data centres. This ensures that your messages are safe not only when they move between your devices and Gmail's servers, but also as they move internally within Google. We were also the first to let users know when their email was sent insecurely across providers with the introduction of our TLS indicator.
To protect against cryptanalytic advances, in 2013 Google doubled its RSA encryption key length to 2048 bits and started changing encryption keys every few weeks, raising the bar for the rest of the industry.
Google Workspace offers administrators enterprise control over system configuration and application settings – all in a dashboard that you can use to streamline authentication, asset protection and operational control. Use integrated Cloud Identity features to manage users and enforce multi-factor authentication and security keys for added protection. You can choose the Google Workspace edition that best meets your organisation’s security needs.
2-step verification greatly reduces the risk of unauthorised access by asking users for additional proof of identity when signing in. Our security key enforcement offers another layer of security for user accounts by requiring a physical key. The key sends an encrypted signature and works only with the sites that it’s supposed to, helping to guard against phishing. Google Workspace administrators can easily deploy, monitor and manage the security keys at scale from within the administration console – without installing additional software.
We use our robust machine learning capabilities to help detect suspicious logins. When we discover a suspicious login, we notify administrators so that they can work to ensure that the accounts are secured.
With support for single sign-on (SSO), Google Workspace enables unified access to other enterprise cloud applications. Our identity and access management (IAM) service lets administrators manage all user credentials and cloud applications access in one place.
Google Workspace allows administrators to set customised rules requiring email messages to be signed and encrypted using Secure/Multipurpose Internet Mail Extensions (S/MIME). These rules can be configured to enforce S/MIME when specific content is detected in email messages.
Based on the zero-trust security model and Google’s BeyondCorp implementation, context-aware access enables you to provide secure access for your users while maintaining their productivity. It enforces granular controls and uses a single platform for both your cloud and on-premises applications and infrastructure resources. With context-aware access, you can enforce granular access controls on Google Workspace apps, based on a user’s identity and context of the request.
Google’s Advanced Protection Program is our strongest protection for users at risk of targeted online attacks. With the Advanced Protection Program for enterprise, we’ll enforce a curated set of strong account security policies for enrolled users. These include requiring security keys, blocking access to untrusted apps, and enhanced scanning for email threats.
Google Workspace administrators can set up a Data Loss Prevention (DLP) policy to protect sensitive information within Gmail and Drive. We provide a library of predefined content detectors to make setup easy. Once the DLP policy is in place, for example, Gmail can automatically check all outgoing emails for sensitive information and automatically take action to prevent data leakage: either quarantine the email for review, tell users to modify the information or block the email from being sent and notify the sender. With easy-to-configure rules and optical character recognition (OCR) of content stored in images, DLP for Drive makes it easy for administrators to audit files containing sensitive content and configure rules that warn and prevent users from sharing confidential information externally. Learn more in our DLP white paper.
Machine learning has helped Gmail achieve 99.9% accuracy in spam detection and block sneaky spam and phishing messages – the kind that could actually pass for wanted emails. Less than 0.1% of emails in the average Gmail inbox is spam, and incorrect filtering of mail to the spam folder is even less likely (less than 0.05%).
To help prevent malware, Google automatically scans every attachment for viruses across multiple engines prior to a user downloading it. Gmail even checks for viruses in attachments queued for dispatch. This helps to protect everyone who uses Gmail and prevents the spread of viruses. Attachments in certain formats, such as .ADE, .ADP, .BAT, .CHM, .CMD, .COM, .CPL, .EXE, .HTA, .INS, .ISP, .JAR, .JS, .JSE, .LIB, .LNK, .MDE, .MSC, .MSI, .MSP, .MST, .NSH .PIF, .SCR, .SCT, .SHB, .SYS, .VB, .VBE, .VBS, .VXD, .WSC, .WSF and .WSH, are automatically blocked – even when they’re included as part of a compressed file.
Google Workspace uses machine learning extensively to protect users against phishing attacks. Our learning models perform similarity analyses between previously classified phishing sites and new, unrecognised URLs. As we find new patterns, we adapt more quickly than manual systems ever could. Google Workspace also allows administrators to enforce the use of security keys, making it impossible to use credentials compromised in phishing attacks.
To help prevent abuse of your brand in phishing attacks, Google Workspace follows the DMARC standard, which empowers domain owners to decide how Gmail and other participating email providers handle unauthenticated emails coming from your domain. By defining a policy, you can help protect both users and your organisation's reputation.
Google Workspace's fully integrated endpoint management offers continuous system monitoring and alerts you to suspicious device activity. Administrators can enforce endpoint policies, encrypt data on devices, lock lost or stolen mobile devices and remotely wipe devices.
The security centre for Google Workspace provides a single, comprehensive view into the security posture of your Google Workspace deployment. It brings together security analytics, best-practice recommendations and integrated remediation that empower you to protect your organisation’s data, devices and users.
As part of our authentication controls, administrators get visibility and control of third-party applications leveraging OAuth for authentication and corporate data access. OAuth access can be disabled at a granular level and vetted third-party apps can be whitelisted.
To help administrators maintain control over sensitive data, we offer information rights management (IRM) in Drive. Administrators and users can disable downloading, printing and copying of files from the advanced sharing menu, and also set expiry dates on file access.
The Alert Centre for Google Workspace is a new way for admins to view essential notifications, alerts and actions across Google Workspace. Insights around these potential alerts can help administrators assess their organisation's exposure to security issues. Integrated remediation with the security centre offers a streamlined way to resolve these issues.
Many organisations leverage the power of our distributed data centres to maximise critical benefits, such as minimal latency and robust geo-redundancy. However, for organisations with stringent control requirements, data regions for Google Workspace lets you choose where certain covered data should be stored at rest – either in the US, across Europe or distributed globally.
Google designed Google Workspace to meet stringent privacy and security standards based on industry best practices. In addition to strong contractual commitments regarding data ownership, data use, security, transparency and accountability, we give you the tools that you need to help meet your compliance and reporting requirements.
Google customers and regulators expect independent verification of our security, privacy and compliance controls. In order to provide this, we undergo several independent third-party audits on a regular basis.
ISO/IEC 27001 is one of the most widely recognised and accepted independent security standards. Google has earned ISO/IEC 27001 certification for the systems, technology, processes and data centres that run Google Workspace. View our ISO/IEC 27001 certificate.
ISO/IEC 27017 is an international standard of practice for information security controls based on ISO/IEC 27002 specifically for cloud services. Our compliance with the international standard was certified by Ernst & Young CertifyPoint, an ISO certification body accredited by the Dutch Accreditation Council (a member of the International Accreditation Forum, or IAF). View our ISO/IEC 27017 certificate.
Google Workspace's compliance with ISO/IEC 27018:2014 affirms our commitment to international privacy and data protection standards. ISO/IEC 27018 guidelines include not using your data for advertising, ensuring that your data in Google Workspace services remains yours, providing you with tools to delete and export your data, protecting your information from third-party requests and being transparent about where your data is stored. View our ISO/IEC 27018 certificate.
The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) SOC (Service Organisation Controls) 2 and SOC 3 audit framework relies on its trust principles and criteria for security, availability, processing integrity and confidentiality. Google has both SOC 2 and SOC 3 reports. Download our SOC 3 report.
Google Workspace products are compliant with the requirements of the Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program (FedRAMP). FedRAMP is the cloud security standard of the US government. Google Workspace is authorised for use by federal agencies for data it has classified at a "moderate" impact level, which may include PII and Controlled Unclassified Information. Google Workspace has been assessed as adequate for use with "OFFICIAL" (including "OFFICIAL SENSITIVE") information in accordance with the UK Security Principles. For details on product and services compliance, visit the FedRAMP Google Services page.
Google Workspace customers who need to maintain Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) compliance can set up a data loss prevention (DLP) policy that prevents emails containing payment card information from being sent from Google Workspace. For Drive, Vault can be configured to run audits and make sure that no cardholder data is stored.
FISC (Center for Financial Industry Information Systems) is a public interest incorporated foundation tasked with conducting research related to technology, utilisation, control and threat/defence related to financial information systems in Japan. One of the key documents created by the organisation is the "FISC Security Guidelines on Computer Systems for Banking and Related Financial Institutions", which describes controls related to facilities, operations and Technical Infrastructure. Google has developed a guide to help customers understand how Google's control environment aligns with the FISC guidelines. Most of the controls outlined in our guide are part of our third-party audited compliance programs, including ISO/IEC 27001, ISO/IEC 27017 and ISO/IEC 27018 certifications. View our response to the FISC controls. For further information, please contact sales.
The Esquema Nacional de Seguridad (ENS) accreditation scheme for Spain has been developed by La Entidad Nacional de Acreditación (ENAC) in close collaboration with the Ministry of Finance and Public Administration and the National Cryptologic Centre (CCN). The ENS was established as part of Royal Decree 3/2010 (amended by Decree 951/2015) and serves to establish principles and requirements for the adequate protection of information for Spanish public sector entities. Google Cloud (GCP and Google Workspace) has met the requirements to comply with ENS at the ‘High’ level.
Google Workspace supports customers' compliance with the US Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), which governs the safeguarding, use and disclosure of protected health information (PHI). Customers who are subject to HIPAA and wish to use Google Workspace for PHI processing or storage can sign a business associate amendment with Google. View more details about HIPAA compliance with Google Workspace.
Google Workspace meets data protection recommendations from the Article 29 Working Party and maintains adherence to EU Model Contract Clauses with our Data Processing Amendment, Subprocessor Disclosure and EU Model Contract Clauses. Google also maintains compliance with Privacy Shield and allows for data portability, wherein administrators can export data in standard formats without any additional charge.
We're committed to being compliant with the General Data Protection Regulation 2016/679 (GDPR) by May 2018 and will update the Google Workspace Data Processing Amendment to reflect the GDPR's forthcoming changes before the required date. Over the past years, we've implemented stringent policies, processes and controls through our data processing amendment and model contract clauses, and have worked closely with European data protection authorities to meet their expectations.
Millions of students rely on G Suite for Education. G Suite for Education services comply with the US Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). Our commitment to this compliance is included in our agreements.
Protecting children online is important to us. We contractually require G Suite for Education schools to obtain the parental consent that the US Children's Online Privacy Protection Act of 1998 (COPPA) requires, and our services can be used in compliance with COPPA.
Google provides product capabilities and contractual commitments to facilitate customer compliance with South Africa's Protection of Personal Information (POPI) Act. Customers who are subject to POPI can define how their data is stored, processed and protected by signing a Data Processing Amendment.
Vault allows you to export select Google Workspace apps data to standard formats for additional processing and review – all in a manner that supports legal standards while respecting chain of custody guidelines.
Google Workspace's monitoring tools allow administrators to scan email messages for alphanumeric patterns and objectionable content. Administrators can create rules to either reject matching emails before they reach their intended recipients or deliver them with modifications.
Easy interactive reports help you assess your organisation's exposure to security issues at a domain and user level. Extensibility with a collection of application programming interfaces (APIs) enable you to build custom security tools for your own environment. With insight into how users are sharing data, which third-party apps are installed and whether appropriate security measures such as 2-step verification are in place, you can improve your security posture.
Google Workspace allows administrators to track user actions and set up custom alerts within Google Workspace. This tracking spans the Admin Console, Gmail, Drive, Calendar, Groups, mobile and third-party application authorisation. For example, if a marked file is downloaded or if a file containing the word "confidential" is shared outside the organisation, administrators can be notified.
With BigQuery, Google's enterprise data warehouse for large-scale data analytics, you can analyse Gmail logs using sophisticated, high-performing custom queries and leverage third-party tools for deeper analysis.
Transparency is part of Google's DNA. We work hard to earn and maintain trust with our customers through transparency. The customer – not Google – owns their data. Google does not sell your data to third parties, there is no advertising in Google Workspace and we never collect or use data from Google Workspace services for any advertising purposes.
Google does not collect, scan or use your data in Google Workspace services for advertising purposes and we do not display ads in Google Workspace. We use your data to provide Google Workspace services and for system support, such as spam filtering, virus detection, spell checking, capacity planning, traffic routing and the ability to search for emails and files within an individual account.
The data that companies, schools/universities and government agencies put into Google Workspace services does not belong to Google. Whether it's corporate intellectual property, personal information or a piece of homework, Google does not own that data and Google does not sell that data to third parties.
Access Transparency supports our commitment to customer trust by giving you fine-grained logs of actions taken by Google staff and the reason for each access, including references to specific support tickets, where relevant.
Google Workspace offers a 99.9% service level agreement. Furthermore, Google Workspace has no scheduled downtime or maintenance windows. Unlike most providers, we plan for our applications to always be available, even when we're upgrading our services or maintaining our systems.
We're committed to providing you with information about our systems and processes – whether that's a real-time performance overview, the results of a data handling audit or the location of our data centres. It's your data; we ensure that you have control over it. You can delete your data or export it at any time. We regularly publish Transparency Reports detailing how governments and other parties can affect your security and privacy online. We think that you deserve to know, and we have a long track record of keeping you informed and standing up for your rights.