Google for Work Adds Data-Loss Prevention to Gmail

Looking to help businesses safeguard against sensitive information getting into the wrong hands through email, Google has rolled out new data-loss prevention (DLP) capabilities for Gmail for Google Apps Unlimited customers.

The addition of DLP will let administrators set policies that check Gmail traffic to prevent potential data leaks. Any messages that contain sensitive data such as Social Security or credit card numbers will be flagged, according to Suzanne Frey, director of security, trust and privacy for Google Apps. Frey said admins can then take action based on what they specified, whether quarantining the email for review, notifying users to modify the information or blocking the email.

451 Research Director Chris Hazelton comments

"For organizations that are paying customers of Google, IT admins are able to add a layer of security to outgoing messages through Gmail. Overall this alerts IT to any sent emails that contain keywords that IT has identified as content that should not go outside the organization to an external recipient. While useful in preventing employees from inadvertently sending data to the outside. For more malevolent actors, DLP can be avoided by using personal email or USB storage devices, so to be effective, DLP needs to be used in conjunction with other security tools. Google for Work does provide encryption, device management for mobile, and two-factor authentication.

This is pretty basic for DLP and scanning emails is really table stakes for corporate email. Google does not mention the techniques it is using for identifying the data to be blocked, which can range from really simple pattern matching to very sophisticated techniques like optical character recognition. We believe that Google built this DLP technology internally. It competes with security vendors like Watchful Software and TITUS that also provide data classification and digital rights management. Microsoft is also in this space with the acquisition of Secure Islands."


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