How Admins & Users Can Strengthen G Suite Security

Updated: August 31, 2018

G Suite Security KeyIf you’re using G Suite or considering G Suite for your organization, there may be questions about G Suite security in your mind.

After all company email and business documents (if you are leveraging Google Drive for cloud backup of local files) are stored in Google’s data centers.

G Suite, as you’d expect, has multiple levels of built-in security.

G Suite Data Center Security

Google’s data center security is superior to that of most corporate networks. Google has hundreds of full-time security engineers. Some of them are leading experts in the security field.

Data moving within Google’s data centers and to and from its data centers is encrypted using perfect forward secrecy. With perfect forward secrecy, breaking an encryption key would not do a hacker any good.

You can find G Suite security FAQs here.

As with many web applications that have hardened data center security, the easiest access point for an intruder may well be via user login access.

G Suite User Access Security

Google provides multiple levels of native protection to prevent a dictionary attack.

What can users of G Suite do to make the account access even more secure?

Use a long password

By default, a G Suite password can be up to 100 characters long. Spaces within passwords are permitted, which means that password phrases can be used. A G Suite admin can increase the minimum required password length and the maximum possible password length.

Google Apps Password Management

A randomly generated password phrase or “passphrase” is more secure and is easier to remember than a password such as T%e3$&1#.

You can use a site such as Use a Passphrase to generate passphrases. An example passphrase we generated is “swedish wide finish spectra”. The approximate crack time reported by Use a Passphrase is 57,384 centuries.

Keep a secure record of all passwords

Users should only keep a physical record of their G Suite password (and all your other passwords) in an encrypted password database such as LastPass or 1Password.

In other words, users should avoid storing passwords in a spreadsheet, a document or on paper.

Enable Google 2-Step Verification

Google 2-Step Verification (2SV) can be enabled by a G Suite administrator.

Google Apps 2-Step Verification

Once 2-Step Verification has been enabled by a G Suite administrator, users can enable one or more options for their account by going into My Account > Signing Into Google > 2-Step Verification.


Note: An administrator can enforce 2SV for all users.

Before 2SV is enforced, it’s important that all users are first enrolled in 2SV so they are not locked out of their accounts. A user can be placed in an exception group until they have enabled 2SV.


When a user logs in from an unfamiliar device or location, there are several different verification options. These are not mutually exclusive.

1. The user can enter a Google Verification Code that’s texted to them.

2. If a user installs the Google app on their Android or iPhone, they can verify by simply answering “Yes” on your mobile device. This option is known as Google prompt.

3. A user can generate and print out a list of one-time use backup codes. These can be kept in a wallet or digitally stored in a cloud location that’s separate from G Suite and Google Drive.

Google Backup Codes

Use a Physical Security Key

At the 2018 Google Next conference, Google announced the Titan Security Key.

Update: The Titan Security Key is now available in Google’s online store.

This is a physical key that can be kept on a key chain. It plugs into a computer’s USB port. This is the best defense against phishing attacks.

Google Titan Security Key

In fact, starting in 2017, Google required all 35,000 of its employees to use a security key. Since then, not one employee account has been compromised.

Using a security key does not supersede the ability to use a verification code. It’s just that using a security key in place of a verification code provides an additional layer of security.

With some basic actions, admins and users can strengthen G Suite security.

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