Identity Security with G Suite

Written by Natalie Bluhm on December 27, 2017

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Identity security is more critical now than ever before. With identity theft and breaches occurring daily, IT organizations want to know that the solutions they choose are secure. Google’s G Suite is no different. IT admins are interested in G Suite’s approach to identity security. They certainly should be, especially after Google recently released a study where they identified “788,000 credentials stolen via keyloggers, 12 million credentials stolen via phishing, and 3.3 billion credentials exposed by third-party breaches.” So what does identity security with G Suite look like?

Before diving deeply into Google’s approach to identity security, we need to think through the overall architecture most organizations have when it comes to their identities.

Google’s Approach to Identity Management

G Suite Google Identity Management Challenges

G Suite (formerly Google Apps) is a productivity platform that is used by millions of organizations. In fact, many of these organizations have leveraged G Suite as a replacement to Microsoft Exchange, Office 365, Windows Server, and more. Unfortunately, G Suite Directory, though, isn’t a replacement for Active Directory®.

G Suite’s identity strategy – now called Google Cloud Identity – is just one part of the overall approach for organizations when thinking about identity management and identity security. Most organizations are leveraging a directory service as the source of truth and connecting that identity provider to G Suite Directory. This approach makes a great deal of sense as G Suite identities are really focused on Google Apps and connecting to a few, select web applications. The result is that thinking about identity security with only G Suite isn’t enough. Identities aren’t just used for logging into G Suite or web-based applications. Typically, an identity is also used for gaining access to systems, remote servers, file servers, and the wireless network. Google Cloud Identity doesn’t connect with these additional resources, so the overall identity security picture needs to include the core directory service and other ancillary IAM solutions, if any are used.

Google and Identity Security

Identity Security

Now, it should be pointed out that Google takes identity security incredibly seriously. They have claimed that over 500 employees in Google work on security, and it is no doubt that some of those people also focused on securing G Suite identities. G Suite also offers the opportunity to add multi-factor authentication to accounts which all IT admins should make mandatory. It’s a great comfort to know that G Suite identities are secure and that Google takes identity security so seriously. But, IT organizations need to widen their diligence to ensure that their core IAM solutions are secure as well.

Legacy IAM Solutions are Inadequate


For IT admins, identity security is within their core responsibilities. IT admins are on the hook to develop the approach and implement it for security. Many of these admins are counting on Active Directory, but recently, sufficient identity security with a legacy IAM solution has become challenging and expensive. Legacy directories don’t integrate with modern, popular resources like Mac and Linux systems, web-based applications, and remote servers. Often, IT still ends up with a decentralized environment that results in little to no control over user identities. The good news is IT doesn’t have to settle for these incomplete core identity providers anymore.

Cloud IAM Solution Increases Identity Security with G Suite

A new generation of cloud identity management solution is emerging that is taking identity security to the next level. This cloud directory, called Directory-as-a-Service®. is securely managing and connecting users to the IT resources that they need including G Suite and other applications, systems (Windows, Mac, Linux), cloud and on-prem servers (AWS, Google Cloud Platform, Azure, and on-prem data centers), physical and virtual file storage such as Samba file servers and NAS appliances, and wired and WiFi networks. The benefit of this approach is to tightly control identities with multi-factor authentication, password complexity, and one-way hashing and salting of credentials. Identity security needs to be an holistic approach that doesn’t end with applications such as G Suite, but encompasses all aspects of the identity chain as well.

Learn more by reading how Grab secured 3000+ user identities by using our cloud-based directory. For more information about elevating your identity security with G Suite, please drop us a note. You can also start testing all of our security features by signing up for a free account. Your first ten users are free forever.

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