Google Introduces Private Encryption

Published · Jun 15, 2021

On Monday, Google announced that client-side encryption is coming to its Workspace services for business. Users will have control over their own encryption keys and who can access them.

The change will first be implemented to Google Drive and Docs, where it will arguably be most helpful. Later, it’ll roll out to services like Gmail and Calendar.

In simple terms, businesses will have exclusive access to the keys used for encrypting and decrypting their files in Google’s cloud storage. Google engineers will have no access to the files and the data will be unreadable even if the company’s servers get seized.

The feature will be available to Business Plus and Education Plus plan subscribers first and expand to other multi-user packages later.

For starters, admins will be able to store the encryption keys with third-party services like Futurex and Virtru—solutions specialized in key management and file encryption. Google is planning to let enterprises create bespoke key management systems as well down the road.

Google Listens to Customers’ Demands

The change is already a much-requested feature in Google’s suite of cloud services. It will be a welcome addition for enterprises and educational organizations that want to take advantage of Google Drive’s ease of use and protect sensitive data.

It is unclear if a similar option will be available for clients using Google Drive for private storage. Home users might still want to think about more secure cloud backup and storage providers.

Google is also a bit late to the show. Many alternative providers have been selling zero-knowledge encrypted services for years. However, to its credit, Google is ahead of its direct competitors—iCloud and OneDrive.

What’s more, client-side encryption is just one of many security tools coming to Google Workspace. The company will also implement stronger malware protection and systems against phishing, making the storage more secure for online collaboration.

Overall, Google has been boosting significantly its security measures, both on Android and in the cloud. It remains to be seen if the competitors will follow suit as they did so far.

Branko Krstic
Branko Krstic

Branko is a round-the-clock tech geek and loving it. His ideal vacation destination is the Akihabara District (or really any place he can take his computer). If there’s a server out there, count on him to find out what it’s made of… and tell you all about it.