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February 29, 2024

Product Showcase: Introducing Data Protection for Google Drive

Ivan Dwyer 


Last week we introduced Data Protection for Google Drive, a new product in our Cloud Office Security Suite. The product aims to control the spread of confidential information that's often shared loosely inside and outside of the organization. We held a Product Showcase session to dive deeper into the domain, our solution, and upcoming roadmap themes. Watch the session replay below, and read a recap of a few themes.

Product launches are a source of excitement for teams for a variety of reasons, with the most significant being positive feedback from customers. Our motivation for building Data Protection for Google Drive stemmed from pressing demand. Our customers trust us to handle sensitive data in email, so we were confident in our ability to tackle this challenging area with great care. The response we’ve received so far has been amazing.

Why Tackle Google Drive?

Email security is a challenging domain that's constantly changing. We've built a comprehensive solution that covers the full email attack lifecycle from inbound detections to automated response workflows – and we have the customer success to back it up. While it may seem like a departure from our main focus area, incorporating support for Google Drive is a crucial component in addressing the total threat landscape. It isn't just a tangential use case, but directly related to the larger task of securing the productivity suite.

Building a security solution for Google Drive is a challenging undertaking due to the large amount and diverse types of content, as well as the various ways of managing and inheriting permissions. This complexity is further complicated by the sharing of files within and outside the organization.

Fortunately, our previous experience in modeling employee mailboxes within our underlying data platform gave us an edge.

A Data Platform Designed for the Productivity Suite

As we've learned building a modern email security solution, the cloud providers offer up a set of rich APIs that allow for more advanced features to be built from within, rather than relying on external gateway services around the perimeter. However, solely using APIs often misses the mark as there's performance limitations, missing context, and a lack of historical knowledge. The advantage of Material is our ability to sync with your cloud provider and create a structured data warehouse of email data over time. This capability can now also be applied to your shared file repositories.

Why is a data warehouse necessary for addressing Google Drive use cases? Essentially, it's extremely difficult to answer fundamental questions around what's stored in Google Drive and where it's shared. Google Workspace administrators don't have a clear overview of the entire system, and using the API directly is both expensive and time-consuming. After speaking with many teams who attempted to create their own internal tools, it became clear that they faced numerous obstacles, such as examining file contents, calculating permission levels, and determining external access. These tasks require a deeper level of data analysis and modeling to fully understand the space.

Just as we see file protection as more than a tangential use case to email security, incorporating file data into our underlying data platform further strengthens our ability to deliver a complete security solution for the productivity suite.

Search and Discovery On the Road to Automation

It’s an engineering feat to sync an entire Google Drive footprint and model into a structured data warehouse that can be built upon. This underlying data platform enables us to deliver a powerful search and discovery toolkit across Google Drive, which is a major component of our initial product release. The aim is to be as precise as can be when seeking out toxic combinations of sensitive data, excessive permissions, and improper sharing. And as you can see from the demo during this Product Showcase session, it’s fast.

What precise search and discovery enables is powerful automation – that’s our next act. With the hard parts of data modeling built, we can focus our roadmap efforts on effectively solving the security use cases that matter most (also hard). But we’ve already been building out the foundation of an automation framework with the help of our design partners. Now that we’re onboarding customers into the GA product, we’re hearing a lot of great ideas that we’ll incorporate into upcoming releases. 

It’s always a great signal when your customers eagerly jump at the art of what’s possible – it means we’re onto something.

To see Data Protection for Google Drive in your own environment, schedule time for a POC today.