Google Workspace (former G Suite) and Microsoft 365 continue to dominate the global market for office productivity software suites. There are many factors to consider when choosing one over the other for your business, with one of the most important considerations being data security. This article explores the security aspects of both platforms, addressing the pros and cons of each suite to help you make an informed decision.
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Google Workspace Vs Microsoft 365: Security Features and Certifications
Both Google Workspace and Microsoft 365 adhere to ISO 27001 and 27018 industry standards and comply with data protection regulations, including GDPR, HIPAA, and the EU Data Protection Directive. Robust security features are offered by both platforms, encompassing data loss prevention, data encryption, malware, spam and phishing defenses, single sign-on (SSO), as well as data audit and investigation tools.
Google Vs Microsoft: Commitment to Data Privacy
Both Microsoft and Google have years of experience working out security holes and optimizing data protection strategies for businesses.
Some may have concerns about Google’s collection of data for personalized ads. However, Google takes protecting organizations’ data very seriously, making it very clear that “Google Workspace customers own their customer data, not Google”, and they will not, on any occasion, scan or use data in Google Workspace for advertising purposes or make it available to third parties. Google explicitly states that your company data in Google Workspace, including Google Drive, Gmail, Sheets, Docs, Forms, Calendar, Chat, Meet, and other core services belongs solely to you.
Live Collaboration Vs Advanced Niche Features
One core difference between Google Workspace and Microsoft 365 lies in the very roots of the software. Microsoft 365 originated from installed desktop applications, while Google Workspace was conceived as a web-based platform. Although both platforms offer cloud-based and offline capabilities, their strengths lie in different areas.
Microsoft 365 places emphasis on offering more extensive functionality through its installed desktop apps, catering to users who require advanced niche features. In contrast, Google Workspace provides much more powerful web-based applications for more streamlined collaboration. Being “born in the cloud,” Google Workspace naturally places a strong emphasis on live collaboration. On the contrary, Microsoft initially focused on developing desktop software, and only later adapted it for cloud integration. As a result, live collaboration in Google Workspace is significantly more streamlined and intuitive compared to Microsoft 365.
It is a common concern that the unrivaled convenience of collaboration that Google provides may also be its worst security fault. Security isn’t only about preventing bad data from coming in, it’s also about ensuring company data stays private, particularly in the context of cloud-based environments. Let us take a closer look at the admin tools offered by each office suite for monitoring and safeguarding company data.
Google Admin Console Vs Microsoft Purview: Mitigating Data Exposure Risks and Demonstrating Compliance
Regardless of the cloud-based office suite you opt for, it is essential to ensure that data is shielded from unauthorized access. It is important to train your employees on document sharing practices, but that is not the sole solution. Administrators, CISOs, or data protection officers must maintain complete visibility of company data, including its access permissions, and take the necessary steps to protect the data when unauthorized sharing is detected, ensuring that the company remains compliant with data protection regulations. With this in mind, which platform offers admins better tools to prevent data leaks and demonstrate compliance?
The Audit solution in Microsoft Purview allows admins to search for files based on various criteria, including file names, locations, and users.
The Investigation tool in Google Admin Console has similar capabilities, allowing admins to find Drive log events using various filters and conditions.
Whether you are using Microsoft Purview or Google Admin Console, identifying where potential security leaks may occur and ensuring your company’s compliance will require significant time and effort. Both tools have limited search capabilities and the insights they provide are not always clear and actionable.
When a security threat is identified, both Google Workspace and Microsoft 365 allow administrators to modify or revoke file access permissions. However, both platforms have limitations when it comes to addressing a large number of files at the same time. In a situation where you may need to change access permissions for numerous files at once, such as the termination of a partnership with an external party, a change in internal policies, or responding to a data breach incident, utilizing a third-party software becomes necessary.
In the last 12+ years I have witnessed many businesses face similar challenges in Google Workspace management, and data security has grown in importance significantly in the last few years. This is why I took it upon myself to develop a tool to address these challenges. Florbs Security & Auditing solution helps you monitor company data exposure and demonstrate compliance through an intuitive dashboard, and change access permissions in bulk with just a couple of clicks.
In conclusion, both Microsoft 365 and Google Workspace demonstrate a strong commitment to data security, and their security features are comparable in many aspects. However, it is important to acknowledge that both platforms have limitations when it comes to effectively monitoring data exposure and revoking access on a large scale. Fortunately, these limitations can be overcome by opting for reliable third-party software solutions.