If you are an administrator of Google Apps, one concern that will never let you sleep peacefully is “SECURITY”. The good thing is: Google helps you to take care of the physical security of your business data by duplicating the copy of data into different data centers, and generally you don’t have to worry about data loss caused by disk crash or natural disasters. However, most data loss are actually caused by users errors, hacker invasion, or poor data management, so “SECURITY” is still the first concern for a Google Apps administrator.
To enhance the security of your Google Apps business data, here are recommendations:
1. Enable 2-step verification
2-step verification adds much needed security to all Google accounts. With 2-step verification enabled, when a user sign in his Google account, an extra verification code is required, either generated from his cell phone app or received via text message. With 2-step verification, hackers have no way to break into accounts without access to user’s cell phones.
To enable 2-step verification for all Google Apps domain accounts, the administrator need to log in to the domain control panel of Google Apps, and make sure “Allow users to turn on 2-step verification” is checked in the “Security” page.
Related: Authy vs Google Authenticator
To enforce 2-step verification on all employees (or employees in a specific organization inside your company), click “Go to advanced settings to enforce 2-step verification”, and select “Turn on enforcement now”.
Note: Before turning on this enforcement, you need to make sure that all employees in your company understand what the 2-step authentication is and how to use it.
2. Manage data carefully when an employee leaves the company
Data loss can easily happen when employees leaving the company. Here are several steps the administrator should take to make the data transfer safer.
a) Before leaving, transfer the ownership or export data in Gmail, Google Docs, Calendar and Contacts from the leaving staff to another employee.
b) Reset the user’s password when the employee leaves the company.
c) Suspend the user’s account. DO NOT delete the account just after he/she has left. To prevent unexpected data loss, the administrator should always “Suspend” ex-employee’s account for some time (6 months is a good number) and then later delete it after all the data has been transferred safely and completely.
3. Chose a Third Party Backup App
Backup solution is still very necessary for your business data, even if they are stored on Google’s cloud.
A good backup plan can help to prevent losing precious business data in all kind of accidents caused by careless employees or dangerous hackers. There are several different backup tools you can choose on Google Apps marketplace.
4. Use Only Chrome
Google Chrome is definitely the best web browser for Google Apps users. Most Google’s cloud services are more friendly to Google Chrome than to other web browsers. And it’s more natural and convenient to wok on Gmail, Google Drive, Google Contacts and Calendar using Chrome browser. Compared to Firefox, Safari and the miserable IE, not only more features are available in Chrome, but also you get extra security benefit from the built-in malware and phishing protection in Chrome.
Since Google Chrome are auto-updated, new features of Google Apps are usually first available on Chrome, as well as new security problems usually fist get fixed.Using Google Chrome as the only web browser should be enforced as a policy inside your company.
Related: Chrome extensions by Google
Lastly and most importantly, every company should educate its employees on data security and safety protocols. Data is as safe as it’s employees want it to be. For example, sharing permissions lies in the hands of employees. A minor sharing mistake can cause large scale impact. We hope that by following these recommendations, you can strengthen Google Apps data security. Let us know if you have more tips on data security.