The cloud storage wars are in full swing, and Google has made it plain that the search giant intends to trump Amazon as the cloud storage provider of choice for businesses around the world. Google Cloud Storage has become immensely popular for a number of reasons, including its security and replication. What does the search giant actually do with your data in the cloud, though?
One of the first things that happens to your data when using Google Cloud Storage is encryption. According to the company’s documentation, your data is encrypted from the very beginning, while it is being transmitted to cloud storage. Once it is stored, the data remains encrypted. While encryption does not guarantee that your information will not be accessed by hackers, it is a significant deterrent.
Another thing that Google does with your data is replicate it. Yes, Google makes multiple copies of your information and stores that data in different places. While that might raise an eyebrow or two, particularly with businesses concerned with regulatory compliance, this is actually a good thing. For example, did you know that a serious lightning strike near a Google data center several years ago actually caused the search giant to lose some customer data?
It was wiped out of the data center in which it was stored. However, it wasn’t a permanent deletion. Google believes that “a silo of one only increases risk”, and because there were replicated copies of the deleted data, Google was able to restore it for their customers without missing a beat (once the hardware damage was handled, of course).
Does Google Allow Others Access to Business Data?
Google built their empire on indexing vast quantities of data, organizing it, and making it available to Internet searchers. Before Google offered cloud storage, or began developing Android, they were a search engine. That makes it natural to wonder just how secure your data is when stored in Google Cloud Storage. Given the fact that Google is now facing a lawsuit from 800 plus college and university students claiming that the search giant parsed their emails with the company’s apps for Education suite, it makes sense to question the company’s methods in the realm of cloud storage.
Do they index your data? Do they mine it and use the information for advertising? What, exactly, do they do with this information? The answer is – nothing that you wouldn’t do. In fact, Google Cloud Storage is certified for compliance with a number of different regulations, including ISO 27001, AICPA SOC, SOC3 and PCI DSS.
Then there is this, taken from Google’s own Cloud Platform whitepaper, “Cloud Platform customers own their data, not Google. The data that customers put into our systems is theirs, and we do not scan it for advertisements, nor sell it to third parties. We offer our customers a detailed data processing amendment that describes our commitment to protecting customer data. It states that Google will not process data for any purpose other than to fulfill our contractual obligations. Furthermore, if customers delete their data, we commit to deleting it from our systems within 180 days. Finally, we provide tools that make it easy for customers to take their data with them if they choose to stop using our services, without penalty or additional cost imposed by Google.”
In the end, Google’s cloud storage is robust, secure, and does not put your information in their sites for indexing, organizing or parsing. You own your data, not Google, and the company remains committed to protecting that ownership.