5 security questions to ask on Google Workspace for Education


1. Is Google Workspace for Education preconfigured?

Google Workspace for Education isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution for K-12 classrooms. The platform offers several default settings in the admin console that may not apply to all academies. It’s important for IT admins to review the settings and configure them in a way that works best for their organization.

K-12 IT managers should explore all of the configurable settings. The platform allows them to customize access and authentication settings as well as mail safety and security settings. In the console, they can also define administrator roles. For the first time, CDW AmplifiedTM for Education can provide a starter service to configure your Google Workspace for Education instance to follow good educational practices.

IT pros can also work with the CDW Amplified for Education team to audit and review their existing Google Workspace for Education settings so they make sense for the district. This service will ensure that the platform works to its full potential for your school. We can identify configurations in your institution’s admin console where security vulnerabilities exist, and we can provide recommendations and best practices for improvement.

EXPLORE: What are the other benefits of a Google Workspace for Education audit?

2. Does Google Vault back up all user data?

Google Vault, a core service of Google Workspace for Education, is not a data copy or backup feature. It allows users to keep, archive, search and export their Mail, Meet, Chat and Drive data. To retrieve this information, Vault searches for data on a district’s Google domain. Based on the retention policies in place, users authorized to access Vault can see users’ live data, as well as items that have recently been deleted, such as emails and Drive files.

Schools can adjust retention policies to proactively control how long data is retained. IT administrators can set retention rules to expire after a certain time or to apply indefinitely. The CDW Amplified for Education team recommends setting up Mail, Groups, Drive and Shared Drive, Google Chat, and Sites to retain data according to your district’s retention policies and to track the lifecycle of your user account. Regardless of retention rules, user data from Vault will be deleted upon user deletion.

For security reasons, Vault privileges should be granted only to users who need access to this data, and only at the level necessary for their role. This includes HR, legal compliance and some IT staff. Roles can be customized to control the amount of data accessible to each administrator.

If your organization needs help with Vault best practices, contact your account manager to learn more about the Vault Stack offering from our support team.

3. Does Google own or use staff and student data?

Google Workspace for Education is different from personal accounts in that it comes with a privacy and educational support agreement that allows it to work in K-12 education spaces. The tools work almost the same as Google’s consumer tools, but differ in how they work and are provisioned.

Google does not own any data institutions place on the Google Workspace for Education platform, and Google does not collect, analyze, or use data from Google Workspace for Education services for advertising purposes. Data can be deleted or exported by authorized users at any time, providing added peace of mind that staff and student data is secure.

4. Does Google Workspace for Education comply with privacy laws?

Schools must adhere to many privacy standards, including the Family Education Rights and Shield Privacy Act, which can result in serious legal and financial consequences if compliance is not met. .

DIVE DEEPER: Learn more about privacy laws protecting K-12 institutions.

Designed for schools, Google Workspace for Education is aligned with all K-12 education compliance needs, including FERPA and the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act. The platform also meets the requirements of several other privacy commitments, data standards, and assessments. Google offers a wealth of compliance resources to build confidence in its commitment to meeting these legal requirements.

5. Does Google’s infrastructure help block ransomware?

From new forms of phishing threats to high-profile cyberattacks, ransomware is a top concern for those working in K-12 education. As many districts open virtual academies and schedule remote learning as needed, IT teams face the risk of inconsistent security settings among users connecting from offsite locations. VPNs, firewalls, and anti-virus software often don’t provide enough protection.

Because Google believes in the future of digital teaching and learning, Google has dedicated significant resources to data protection within the Workspace for Education platform. As a K-12 organization, you own your data, but Google helps keep it secure.

Every day, Gmail blocks more than 100 million phishing attempts. Additionally, Google identifies 30,000 dangerous websites each week, and no ransomware attacks have been reported against any educational institution using Google Workspace for Education.

This article is part of the “ConnectIT: Bridging the gap between education and technology” series. Please join the discussion on Twitter using the #ConnectIT hashtag.


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