Protecting digital assets is one of the greatest challenges businesses face today. As one of the world’s largest cloud computing platforms, G Suite continues to evolve with the goal of helping businesses get one step closer to total security. By combining machine learning with strong authentication methods, it provides solutions for helping your organisation safeguard data from a wide range of threats.
In July 2017, Google boosted security even more with the introduction of OAuth apps whitelisting. Designed to broaden the reach of your data access controls while guarding against phishing scams and other threats, the feature gives IT departments more oversight of third-party apps and how they access sensitive data. After the nasty OAuth scam that took hold earlier this year, it’s a welcome upgrade.
How Does OAuth Apps Whitelisting Work?
Before this update, cyber criminals were able to create web services that looked exactly like G Suite apps. Scammers would send an email that replicated the “John Doe has invited you to edit the following document” message, and when their victims clicked the Open in Docs button it brought them to an authentic Google page asking them to grant the app permission.
Even well-trained users couldn’t recognise that the original email was actually a non-Google app, meaning that everyone who granted it permission on the page that followed had inadvertently whitelisted a malicious program.
The new OAuth apps interface grants you more control over how much access third-party web services have to your business data. For example, you may want to share content stored in Gmail or Drive with an outside application, such as your customer relationship management software. OAuth apps now let you provision or revoke those privileges on an app-by-app basis from the G Suite Admin dashboard.
The Benefits of OAuth Apps Whitelisting
Adding an app to your organisation’s OAuth whitelist only means that you have OK’ed it for users. They will still need to grant access to the data on an account-by-account basis. This helps prevent phishing scams from duping users into unwittingly providing access to confidential data. With the new security controls in place, administrators can enjoy the following key advantages:
- Gain a clear line of sight into the third-party apps that are being used to access data stored in G Suite. Administrators will be able to view app names, types and IDs, access permissions and connected users within the G Suite security dashboard.
- Set permissions allowing third-party apps to access specific G Suite data, such as that stored in Google Drive, Calendar, Contacts or Gmail. Administrators will be able to allow access only to third-party apps that have been vetted and trusted by the OAuth community.
- Limit employee access to the OAuth application whitelist to prevent the installation of any unauthorised apps. G Suite can also display a message whenever users try to access an app whose permissions have been disabled.
OAuth apps whitelisting was launched on July 6, and is now available to G Suite users around the world. With enough expertise — or the right help — you too can start using the new security feature to simplify administration and boost protection of your corporate data.
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