In the same way, as Gmail has been one of the excellent options for providing you access to the best possible business performance, Google Docs has also been a perfect choice for most of your requirements. However, when you look at the Google Docs, you should also take care to ensure that it is secure enough. Encrypting the data can definitely prove to be the right way to ensure that the docs are unreadable without the right key. So, how to encrypt a Google Doc?
How to Encrypt a Google Doc?
Google Docs is part of the CCP environment. CCP refers to the Content Collaboration Platform and they ideally work with the live content creation and collaboration. These platforms let multiple users work simultaneously on a single project in real-time. This type of technology and working does not support encryption. Encrypting it can make it difficult to handle the basic functionality of Google Docs.
However, there are a few options that can be useful in providing you access to this limitation. You can opt for a few good options to ensure that you will get access to a high level of security.
Some of the best options useful in achieving the best encryption can include a few of the following-
Transport Layer Security or TLS
Google Docs is a live platform and there are several complexities included in it. Ideally, you will find that Google Docs and a host of the Google Drive apps encrypt the connection between the web browser and Google Drive. This is done through the means of enforcement of Transport Layer Security (TLS).
To enable TLS, you do not need to enable any sort of setting. It uses the asymmetric encryption and it assists you in initiating the secure connectivity between the user and Google Docs. This method will keep the data encrypted at the transit level, but it will remain vulnerable at the network level. Even the content on the Google Docs is not encrypted. Since the content is shared between multiple users, it should always remain unencrypted.
Sharding is yet another encryption method that comes directly baked into the Google Doc architecture. Sharding involves breaking the chunks of data into smaller pieces. Once the smaller pieces or shards are created, they are then encrypted. This is the method used for securing the dynamic data.
Encrypting the complete data is not easy and possible. The Doc keeps communicating with the Google database and making the data secure and faster with the complete data is highly resource-intensive. That is exactly why it breaks up the data into shards and thus can be broken rather easily. These shards are encrypted during the transit and are decrypted once again when they reach the destination.
But, sharding may not be a complete and perfect option. It does protect the data only within the Google servers. It may also slow down the performance. You may also experience data loss or corruption.
The Third-party solutions
Well, sharding and TLS are the two native encryption and data protection options employed by Google Docs. They are powerful, but encrypt the data only at the server or database level. But, you cannot assure a data protection with those methods. That is where and why you may need to go with the third-party solutions.
We will discuss a few of the good options to help you in how to encrypt a document stored on Google Drive.
Encrypt the documents prior to upload
You can encrypt your document before uploading it to Google Drive. However, this method will not be editable. None of the users will be able to edit the document within Google Docs. You can download them on any PC, decrypt them, edit them and then reupload them to Google Docs.
You may want to encrypt the document once again before it can be reuploaded to Google Docs. In the case of the sensitive documents, it may be a great option to help you safeguard them. While it comes with the disadvantages and does not let you work with the document within the interface of Google Docs, but can be a good option to take care of your important documents.
Encrypt the document with Word
There are several ways you can make use of when encrypting the data. The Microsoft Word should be a great option to encrypt your document. Word, if you are unaware, comes with built-in functionality to encrypt the document.
Pick the option to encrypt the document from File > Info > Protect Document > Encrypt with Password option. Create a password for the document and remember it, failing which you will lose access to the document. Once that done, you can upload the document to Google Docs.
When it is time to edit the document, you can download it, open it from within Microsoft Word and decrypt it by providing the password. Once you edit it, you can re-upload it to Google Doc.
You may also use a host of other encryption tools such as VeraCrypt or Boxcrypt.
Protect your devices
Google Docs does not have an option to apply individual encryption on any of the documents. Of course, they are protected on the Google servers. Keeping your devices secure can be one of the best options to safeguard the data.
Some of the options that can prove to be much effective can include using a strong password, enabling a two-factor authentication, and using a hardware-based security. With these security measures in place, you can be assured that no one will be able to access your data or your account – of course, unless you have shared the document with them.
The Bottom Line
Until the time Google comes up with an encryption feature for Google Docs, there is no way you can encrypt a Google Doc on Google Drive. As you have already found out, Google makes use of the security features such as Sharding and TLS to secure the Google Docs. Applying the high-end encryption to the documents directly is not possible simply because of the CCP nature of the functionality.
Make use of the above methods if you really have extra sensitive documents. Otherwise, Google does take care of the protection of your documents.