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March 24, 2020

Privacy Tip of the Week: Secure Google Drive

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Google Drive is one of the most-used cloud storage services in the world. For many, the service is integral. Individuals, for example, rely on Drive as a way of keeping personal documents easily accessible. In addition, businesses use it as a method of sharing and storing work files. With the rise of work-from-home situations, use of the service will only increase. However, like any digital service, Drive may be vulnerable to virtual attacks. Because of this, it’s more important than ever to secure Google Drive. Here’s how:

  • Is Drive private and safe?
  • How do I secure it?

Is Drive Private and Safe?

Let’s get the big question out of the way. Is Drive safe? In short, the service is one of the safest cloud options currently on the market. Because it’s frequently used for storage and transfer, Google encrypts both uses. They use 128-bit encryption for stored files. For file transfers, they use stronger 256-bit encryption protocols. The reason for the stronger encryption is because files in transit are more at risk than files in storage. In addition, Google encrypts its keys, which keeps your information even safer. However, like any online service, Google has fallen victim to breaches in the past. There is also no guarantee that it cannot happen again.

In addition to safety, many users want to know how private their information is. Unfortunately, Google is a data giant. They collect massive amounts of user data. The information your store in Drive is subject to this collection as well. They may then sell it to third-parties, such as advertisers.

Overall, Google Drive is mostly secure. However, what it makes up for in safety, it lacks in privacy.

How Do I Secure Google Drive?

If you use Google Drive and want to increase your privacy and safety on the service, there are a few tips to help.

  • Encrypt Your Files: One way to protect your information is to independently encrypt your files before uploading them. There are two reasons to do this. The first is that if hackers breach Drive, your files remain encrypted anyways. The second is that Google cannot read your encrypted files to collect your data. There are a number of services on the market to help you with this task.
  • Use Strong Passwords: A strong password will help protect your account in the event of a breach. Take a look at these tips for generating a strong password.
  • Turn on Two-Factor Authentication: Two-factor authentication, or 2FA, is a great way to secure your account. Every time you log in, you will need to know your password, as well as a one-time passcode. Google will send this code to your email or another device (like your smartphone). By enabling this setting, you decrease the chances of hackers breaching your account.
  • Use a VPN: If you frequently share files, you can further secure Google Drive by using a VPN. This type of service creates a private tunnel between you and the file destination. With a VPN enabled, snoopers can’t intercept your data while in transit.
  • Don’t Use Drive: If you need a secure cloud service, Google Drive is one of the best. However, if your information is sensitive and needs to be kept private, Drive is not your friend. More private options include Dropbox, and pCloud.
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