Google responds to EU data rulings with new Workspace controls

Google is boosting its data protection controls for European Workspace users.

Binary flag of the European Union showing a ripple effect.
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Google Cloud has announced a new set of Sovereign Controls for users of its Workspace productivity software, aimed at allowing organizations in both the public and private sector to better control, limit, and monitor data transfers to and from the European Union.

The changes look to have come in response to a range of recent European Union efforts to better protect the personal data of members when using cloud services, following the collapse of Privacy Shield.

With these coming changes, Workspace users will be provided with an expanded range of access controls, as well as the ability to generate comprehensive log reports on data access and actions.

European customers will also be able to enforce stronger client-side encryption, which was first offered to Workspace users last June. Client-side encryption is now generally available for Google Drive, Docs, Sheets, and Slides, with plans to extend the functionality to Gmail, Google Calendar, and Meet by the end of 2022.

Workspace users will also be able to restrict or approve Google support access through Access Approvals and limit customer support to EU-based support staff through Access Management. Google is also providing ongoing support from Google Engineering staff with remote-in virtual desktop infrastructure.

Data regions, which allow customers to control the storage location of their data at-rest, will also be available by the end of 2023. This will give customers coverage of both data storage and processing in-region, along with an in-country copy.

“We often hear from European Union policymakers and business leaders that ensuring the sovereignty of their cloud data, through regionalization and additional controls over administrative access, is crucial in this evolving landscape,” Javier Soltero, vice president and general manager for Google Workspace, wrote in a blog post outlining the changes. “Digital sovereignty is core to our ongoing mission in Europe and elsewhere, and a guiding principle that customers can rely on now and into the future.”

Sovereign Controls will start rolling out at the end of 2022, with additional capabilities such as data location controls, slated for 2023.

Copyright © 2022 IDG Communications, Inc.

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