Risky Sharing in Google Drive

Every Google Workspace administrator knows how quickly Google Drive becomes a messy sprawl of loosely shared confidential information. This isn't anyone's fault; it's inevitable as your productivity suite is purposefully designed to enable real-time collaboration – both internally and externally.

For Security & Risk Management teams, the untenable risk of any Google Drive footprint lies in the toxic combinations of sensitive data, excessive permissions, and improper sharing. However, it can be challenging to differentiate between typical business practices and potential risks without fully understanding the context and intent.

Material Security, a company renowned for its innovative method of protecting sensitive data within employee mailboxes, has recently launched Data Protection for Google Drive to safeguard the sprawl of confidential information scattered throughout Google Drive with a powerful discovery and remediation toolkit.

How Material Security helps organizations safeguard Google Drive

Trying to answer fundamental questions about what's in Google Drive and where it's shared is painstakingly manual using the Workspace admin dashboard, and working with the Drive API is costly and complex. Given the breadth of sensitive content, this is an area that warrants focus, but it's challenging to get to the depth required.

Material is backed by a powerful data platform that syncs with your Google Workspace tenant to build out a structured model of historical file contents, metadata, permissions, and sharing settings that is kept up-to-date based on ongoing activity. This data platform enables in-depth inspection that wouldn't be possible by interfacing with the Drive API alone. With this data platform as the foundation, Material:

  • Scans file contents against a set of custom built ML-based detection rules to identify and classify sensitive content across a wide range of PII, PCI, PHI, and other confidential data categories
  • Calculates file and folder permission sets and sharing settings to build a unified access model that is easier to understand and demonstrate for compliance
  • Enables automated access revocation based on precise search results and activity triggers to continuously reduce the risk profile

The precision of Material allows you to effectively wrangle such a complex and vast data repository without getting in the way of daily use – security without impacting productivity. See it for yourself.

Illuminate blind spots across your Google Drive footprint

With a powerful data platform as the foundation, you gain an expressive search interface that guides you through your Google Drive footprint to identify toxic combinations worthy of investigation. You can search against file metadata, ownership, content, location, and sharing to answer questions such as:

  • Show me every file that contains financial records that are shared externally
  • Show me every file viewable via a public link that contains PII
  • Show me every file accessible by these users who are departing the company next week
  • Show me every file with confidential information that's shared with a gmail address
  • Show me every file in a Shared Drive that contains health records

As you illuminate more of those dangerous blind spots, you continuously gain a more complete view of the environment with heightened security posture – the types of things that make it easier to sleep at night.

Block exfiltration paths with automated remediation

The primary remediation mode to fix toxic combinations in Google Drive is to revoke access. That sounds easy on the surface, but when you consider the conditions of the whole space, it becomes a multi-dimensional puzzle. When is external sharing valid and when is it not? Are there users that belong to groups that they shouldn't? Which settings should change when a document is modified to add confidential information?

Precise search and activity-based filtering enables remediation workflows for scenarios such as:

  • Automatically revoking public links for any file that contains classified information
  • Sending users a message to confirm external sharing when files contain any sensitive data
  • Cutting off access to all files shared with specific external domains in a single bulk job
  • Revoking all access to a specific account that displays behaviors of a compromise
  • Resetting any files accessible to the organization that contain personal health information to Restricted

Applying automation generally can get in the way of day-to-day use, so it's important to build with precision – a better understanding of the nature of content, which domains are trusted, and common user behaviors help you contain the surface area the right way.

Risky Sharing in Google Drive

Keep your productivity suite productive with Material Security

At Material, we focus our efforts on the productivity suite because we believe that it's critical infrastructure to any organization. And as critical infrastructure, in-depth security defenses that can effectively stop attacks and reduce risk across the environment are paramount.

The new capabilities with Data Protection for Google Drive solve hard data discovery, governance, and access problems that have traditionally been challenging to do without dedicated tooling.

Want to see it for yourself? Schedule a personal demo with our team today.

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