Gmail is becoming a more and more popular tool for businesses. While that ‘Gmail’ domain might not sound particularly professional, that’s really the only mark that a Gmail account has going against it these days for businesses. And to be fair there are ways around this – such as adding other clients to your Gmail account via ‘Options > Mail Settings > Accounts and Import > POP3’, or simply forwarding emails to your Gmail account.

Why would you go to these lengths to use Gmail for your business? Simple: it has a huge amount of powerful features. And what’s more is that most of these features can be expanded upon using plugins that extend the capabilities of Gmail just like you can extend the capabilities of Facebook with apps. With the right plugins or external software, Gmail can become a powerful CRM option, an autoresponder or an extension for LinkedIn.

And now there’s one more reason for businesses to use Gmail: added security.

New Data Loss Prevention Capabilities

Gmail DLP image

Google has recently improved its security and data loss prevention in a number of ways. For example, Google can now better detect personally identifiable content in email messages and use this to more effectively control its DLP policies. In other words? Google knows when you’re talking about where you live, or what your name is and it can then use enhanced features to protect that information.

This goes further than just looking at your email content too. Gmail can now also scan through email attachments as of February 29th 2016. This uses ‘OCR’ or ‘Optical Character Recognition’ and can even be used to look at photos and images.

What use does this have for businesses? DLP stands for ‘Data Loss Prevention’ and it’s something that businesses need to be able to offer to their clients. In other words, if you’re working with customers then you need to ensure you’re keeping their data safe. Some businesses will therefore actually prohibit personal content in order to ensure that it doesn’t get through – and that the company is never culpable.

Businesses will be able to set their own parameters in order to decide what their specific policies are for that DLP content.

A Bit of Context

This is a powerful and useful feature for businesses that want to prevent data leaks and protect not only their customers and clients but also their staff. Of course this could also be useful for preventing employees from sending information out of the business.

This is nothing new though it’s important to note. Businesses have been using DLP tools for a long time to prevent their sensitive data from leaking in an unauthorized manner. This has become a lot more important and challenging as many businesses move their services to the cloud.

The fact that Google now offers these same tools simply means that companies that require this functionality can consider Gmail a viable choice for their email client. What’s more, is that it shows that Google is clearly invested in its professional clients and wants to ensure that they have access to all the tools and services they might need. Perhaps this points to more ‘professional’ options coming in future.

Of course a small crowd of people might see this as bad news. Google is showing off the ability to scan images and PDFs for sensitive, personal information and to allow businesses to set policies based off of this. However, they have said nothing about how this might affect their own privacy policies for personal users. Perhaps Google will start looking at what clothes you’re wearing in your photos and then marketing that brand of clothing to you on your smartphone?

The scary this is that this isn’t at all out of the question…

*Featured Image – mindscanner

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