How Google Is Bolstering Its G Suite for Big Business

January 31, 2017, 7:32 PM UTC
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shown on a screen during a keynote address by CEO of Huawei Consumer Business Group Richard Yu at CES 2017 at The Venetian Las Vegas on January 5, 2017 in Las Vegas, Nevada. CES, the world's largest annual consumer technology trade show, runs through January 8 and features 3,800 exhibitors showing off their latest products and services to more than 165,000 attendees. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
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Google G Suite business applications have long been popular among startups and small companies, but are only now making headway within bigger companies. These are the sorts of older corporate entities that have long used Microsoft Office for word processing and spreadsheets along with Outlook for email.

To keep that mojo going, Google (GOOG) on Tuesday announced security and other enhancements for G Suite, which includes Gmail as well as word processing, spreadsheets, and presentation modules meant to compete with Microsoft Office (MSFT).

Chief among the improvements is that a corporate IT administrator can now require employees to use physical security keys (dongles that can hook onto standard keychains) to access data.

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Google already enabled two-factor authentication on its applications. What this new feature means is that users can be mandated to use a physical key—rather than a pin code—to access accounts. The use of such keys better defends against phishing attacks, Google said in a blog post. Administrators can also get reports back on the usage of these keys.

In addition, Google said it is extending Data Loss Prevention (DLP) technology already enabled for Gmail it to Google Drive storage as well. In theory, that means if the administrator sets the rules correctly, a file including sensitive data (like social security or credit card numbers) cannot be downloaded or shared. Basically, DLP systems scan content looking for these data formats and flag those that contain them. When such formats are found, the files are flagged, and management is notified so the data can be scrubbed.

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In the email context, DLP monitors outgoing email, and if it detects sensitive data in a message, it will hold the mail until the situation is addressed.

The new perks are available only in the high-end G Suite Enterprise Edition—the price for which is not listed on the company’s web site. G Suite for Business, without these new features, costs $10 per user per month.

Google now claims 3 million companies—including such large organizations as Whirlpool (WHR) and PricewaterhouseCoopers—are paid G Suite customers.

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