How to Protect Your Data in Google for Education

by Emily Levison

With so many schools using Google Apps these days, it’s worth a refresher course on a few easy things you can do to keep your (and your students’!) data safe.

Two-Step Verification

Although this is the most basic form of protection, two-step verification means someone trying to get into your Google account needs more than just your password to get in. With two-step verification, Google sends a code to your phone after you enter your password. The code can be sent through an app, a text message, or a call. Two devices, two steps; good luck, hackers.

Now that sounds like a lot of work just to log into your Gmail every day. However, you have the choice to remove the two-step verification from specific devices; this keeps your Gmail sign in fast and easy on the computer, laptop or tablet you use regularly.

Boxcryptor

Hackers are not the only fear with Google Drive. One of the major worries of many Google users is the loss of data or files. Boxcryptor is one easy solution. This application secures your files by encrypting them before they are uploaded to Google Drive. There is a free version that allows for storage encryption on two devices.

Share with Care

One of the best features in Google Drive is the ability to have multiple people share and simultaneously edit a file. Despite this incredible capability, the multiple user feature of Google Drive opens the door to more risk. Take the time to explore your options before sharing a file. Here are some tips:

  1. Limit access: Share access only with users you fully trust.
  2. Use your options: Default to the “view only” option. When you share access with this restriction a user can only see the file, not change it. For sensitive content, choose the option to “Disable options to download, print, and copy for commenters and viewers.”
    NOTE: If you give someone editing access, be sure to check the box that says “Prevent editors from changing access and adding new people” to stop others from distributing your content.
  3. Less is more: You can always upgrade a user to have more access if needed.
  4. Remove: If someone no longer needs to see a file, remove his or her access in the Advanced sharing setting.
  5. Remember: Although you can prevent all of these actions, a user can still use a screenshot to steal important information. Share smart and you’ll never have to worry.

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