Google is adding another layer of security to its popular Gmail service to help protect businesses against human error and email-based data leaks.
The feature, branded Data Loss Prevention (DLP), works by scanning emails and attachments and referencing the content against a set of tailored keywords.
"Every company has data that it must keep secure, whether that data is about confidential innovations, strategic plans or sensitive HR issues, keeping all of your data safe from inadvertent or purposeful leaks needs to be simple, quick and reliable," explained Suzanne Frey, director of security, trust, and privacy at Google.
However, the security feature, which is available now for Google Apps Unlimited customers, goes beyond email scanning.
In addition to this, it can check the content inside common email attachment types such as documents, presentations and spreadsheets. Furthermore, the feature allows admins to configure the tool to detect keywords and expressions.
Frey outlined how businesses could use the service to their advantage. "Organisations may have a policy that the sales department shouldn't share customer credit card information with vendors. And to keep information safe, admins can easily set up a DLP policy by selecting 'Credit Card Numbers' from a library of predefined content detectors," she said.
"Gmail DLP will automatically check all outgoing emails from the sales department and take action based on what the admin has specified: either quarantine the email for review, tell users to modify the information or block the email from being sent and notify the sender."
Google for Work released a number of security updates throughout 2015, a welcome move from the perspective of businesses and CISOs who are under increasing pressure as cyber attacks and data leaks rocket.
Over the past year the firm bulked up its two-factor authentication offerings, launched a feature that allowed customers to bring their own encryption keys to Google Cloud and launched Postmaster tools to help users handle email volume and cut down on spam.
The bolstering of security remains a key part of Google for Work's long-term strategy, according to Frey.
"Gmail DLP is the first step in a long-term investment to bring rule-based security across Google Apps. We're working on bringing DLP to Google Drive early next year, along with other rule-based security systems," she said.
Data protection remains a significant issue for businesses and will become even more important as regulation tightens over data leaks.
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