Google Issues Security Update To Workplace Admins

If your business uses the Google Workspace productivity suite in its daily work, you may have heard that the tech company has released a security update that will affect some Drive files. If you haven’t, don’t worry, as we’ll lay down everything in black and white for you!

In this section:

  • What’s the purpose of the security update?
  • How do you apply the security update?
  • What are the important dates to mark?
  • Who will get impacted by the security update?

What’s the Purpose of the Security Update?

You’re probably wondering, is the security update necessary in the first place? The short answer is, YES, it is! According to Google, “this security update is being applied to some Google Drive files to make sharing links more secure. The update will add a resource key to sharing links. Once the update has been applied to a file, users who haven’t viewed the file before will have to use a URL containing the resource key to gain access, and those who have viewed the file before or have direct access will not need a resource key to access the file.”

Applying this update means admins no longer have to worry about unauthorized access to your company’s sensitive files because every user will need a resource key for legitimate access. For instance, suppose you erroneously share resources and documents that other team members DO NOT need access to. In that case, Google covers for your mistakes in the new security update by requiring these users to provide unique keys before opening such files or folders. Cyber threat actors also won’t have a chance to steal your sensitive data stored in Google Drive, even if they manage to hack into your system.

How can Google Workspace Admins Apply the Security Update?

As an administrator, Google allows you to choose how you wish to apply the security update to files in your organization – as you’ll discover below. Anyway, here’s the step-by-step procedure for implementing the updates:

  1. Sign in to your Google Admin console, i.e., your administrator account.
  2. From the Home Page, proceed to Apps>Google Workspace>Drive and Docs.
  3. Click Sharing settings, then Security update for links.
  4. From there, you want to choose any of the three options below as preferred by your organization:
  • Apply the security update with no option for users to remove it. This comes as a default option for education/EDU customers, and it applies the security update to all files impacted in your organization.
  • N/B: You can refer to the Alert Centre to see how many files, folders, shared drives, and users are impacted in your organization. And if your organization doesn’t have any impacted files, it’s still critical to apply this security update for the sake of the impacted files you may receive in the future.
  • Apply the security update, but users can remove it for specific files. This option comes as a default for all non-EDU customers. And even though the update applies to all the impacted files in your entity, users can always disable the security feature for specific resources.
  • Remove the security update (not recommended). With this option, the links to your files remain unchanged. However, Google doesn’t provide an alternative to remove the security update from your folders.
  1. After applying your preferred security update option, you want to click Save to seal the deal.

What are the Important Dates to Mark?

Google has provided different timelines by which admins and other users are expected to complete various actions regarding the application of the security update. They are as follows:

July 23, 2021

Google expects all Workspace admins to choose how they wish to apply the security update (from the three options highlighted above) before July 23, 2021. However, admins will be able to alter or change their selection after that date.

July 26 to August 25, 2021

Within this period, Google Drive will alert all users impacted by the security update, plus any affected items that they own or manage. This enables the users to decide whether to exempt the items from getting affected by the update.

September 13, 2021

Google Drive will begin enforcing the security update on September 13th until the end of that month.

Who will get Impacted by the Security Update?

Aside from Google Workspace administrators, the upcoming security change will also impact end-users, users with personal accounts, and developers, as follows:

End-Users/Customers

Unless the administrator decides to opt the entire organization out of the upcoming security update, the chances are that end-users will get impacted. More so, if they (the end-users) own or manage affected files, Google will send them email notifications starting July 26, 2021. And they’ll have until September 13, 2021, to decide how they wish to have the update applied to their files, with the permission of their admin, of course.

Users with Personal Google Accounts

These comprise Google users who aren’t part of the Workspace domain but own or manage files impacted by the update. Google will send such users email notifications via Drive starting July 26, 2021, informing them of their impacted files, and they’ll have the option to remove the update. Likewise, they’ll have until September 13, 2021, to decide how they wish to have the update applied to their files.

Developers

Developers will also get impacted by the update. More so, if you’re a developer, and you own or manage items with Drive API permission with type=anyone or type=domain, where withLink=true (v2) or allowFalseDiscovery=false (v3), you’ll get impacted by the update. But that’s not all; besides the item ID, the chances are that your app will also require a resource key to access these items.

Compunet is your No.1 IT and Cybersecurity Support Partner!

Time’s running out, and the sooner you act to decide whether to allow this security update, the better for your organization. Remember, Google has given Workspace admins only up to September 13, 2021, to determine how the update will get applied to your organization’s files. But we understand that this can be a tough decision, considering that you have to consider several factors, including the nature of your business files and end-users.

Luckily, we can help lift the dilemma off your shoulders by conducting a thorough assessment of your Google Workspace to help you decide the best option for your organization. So get in touch with Compunet today, and let us help optimize your Google Workspace with our customizable solutions in the Lower Mainland metro area and Vancouver!

Compunet InfoTech Inc.

105-135 East 15th Street North Vancouver, BC V7L 2P7 Phone: (604) 986-8170 Email: info@compunet.ca

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