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Google offers to encrypt all customer data stored in its Cloud Storage platform

19 Aug 2013
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Google is beginning to encrypt all data uploaded to its Cloud Storage platform, in a bid to bolster its security credentials.

Google's Cloud Storage is a data storage product for businesses, intended for static content such as web pages and other permanent files. Previously, users would have to create their own encryption keys and manage them personally, but with this update Google will do the legwork for its customers, handling the encryption keys and the encryption process.

Dave Barth, Cloud Storage product manager, detailed this change further on the Cloud Platform blog. He said: "If you require encryption for your data, this functionality frees you from the hassle and risk of managing your own encryption and decryption keys.

"We manage the cryptographic keys on your behalf using the same hardened key management systems that Google uses for our own encrypted data, including strict key access controls and auditing. Each Cloud Storage object's data and metadata is encrypted under the 128-bit Advanced Encryption Standard (AES-128), and each encryption key is itself encrypted with a regularly rotated set of master keys."

Barth added that if users wish to provide their own encryption, they are still free to do so. Currently, only new data written to the Cloud Platform will be encrypted by Google, which includes existing files that are overwritten. Barth said that older files left untouched will gradually undergo the encryption process in the coming months, while he also maintained that the service itself would not change in any visible way, either in terms of performance or functionality.

Encryption features were already available in other Google products including Persistent Disks and Scratch Disks, which are part of the Google Compute Engine cloud service. The encryption does not yet extend to Google's consumer-facing cloud product, Google Drive.

Last week Google suffered a partial outage in various heavily used services including Search, Gmail, Drive and Talk. As a result, a 40 percent decline in overall web traffic was reported, highlighting the power that the search giant has over the world's internet consumption.

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Michael Passingham
About

Michael Passingham joined V3 as a reporter in June 2013. Prior to working at V3, Michael spent time at computing magazine PC Pro. Michael covers IT skills, social media, tech startups and also produces V3's video content.

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