Google Introduces Security Center for G Suite Productivity Apps

New tools provide unified view of security settings and actionable data for heading off threats, company says.

Google Diversity

Google has introduced a new security management tool for customers of its G Suite ensemble of cloud-based office productivity and collaboration apps. 

The new Security Center for G Suite gives administrators a centralized view of key security metrics pertaining to their data and a way to act upon that information in a more timely fashion, according to the company. 

The tool will be available for use within the Admin console on Google's cloud service within the next few days along with instructions and best practices on how to get the most out of it. 

Security center for G Suite "brings together security analytics, actionable insights and best practice recommendations from Google to empower you to protect your organization, data and users," said G Suite product managers Chad Taylor and Reena Nadkarni in a blog. 

The new tool delivers two key capabilities, Taylor and Nadkarni said. Security center for G Suite provides a unified dashboard for viewing key security metrics in one location. Administrators can use it to gain insight into suspicious device activity on their network or the extent to which spam and malware might be targeting users. Such data can be useful in demonstrating the effectiveness of security controls, the two Google product managers said. 

In addition, security center for G Suite provides security analytics that administrators can actually act upon to head off threats. For example, it gives administrators visibility into which users are being targeted by phishing attacks or if a file uploaded to Google Drive contains potentially sensitive information so administrators can act upon it. 

The new tool also offers best practice recommendations for reducing risk based upon an organization's security settings. The recommendations cover topics such as data storage, file share and sync and secure settings for mobility and communications. Administrators can use a security health page in their Admin console to view security configurations and make changes as needed. 

For example, administrators can review their settings for email forwarding, mail storage and spam in Gmail and verify if it is secure enough to protect against potential security threats. If the configuration settings are secure, the new G Suite security dashboard simply displays a green checkbox. If it is not secure, the dashboard displays a gray icon that the administrator can then click up to get a list of specific recommendations. 

In addition to Gmail, security health checks and recommendations are available for other G Suite applications including Google Drive, Hangouts, Calendar and Sites. 

Users can also take advantage of the security center to get recommendations for secure management of mobile devices running G Suite apps. Recommendations are available for multiple actions related to device management including how to securely block compromised devices, manage password requirements, enable secure device encryption and wipe account data from Android devices. 

Security center for G Suite continues Google's efforts to bring its cloud service capabilities more in line with enterprise expectations. Google's cloud business is rapidly growing but still trails considerably behind Amazon and Microsoft in global market share. 

The company has been trying to close the gap by introducing services and capabilities designed specifically to address enterprise requirements for scalability, reliability and security in the cloud. 

Jaikumar Vijayan

Jaikumar Vijayan

Vijayan is an award-winning independent journalist and tech content creation specialist covering data security and privacy, business intelligence, big data and data analytics.