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Is Google Sheets Secure | Dangers of Storing Sensitive Data

August 6, 20235 min read

Password Management

We love Google. It can be used daily to search, email, store, and share documents and keep our lives in and outside of work more organized. Honestly, how did we ever function without it?

For a company that has no system in place to keep track of their passwords, then Google Sheets is a great place to start. It allows you to separate, label, and categorize, plus it autosaves your work. It gives some level of access control as to who can view, edit, and comment on a document. It's free, and almost everyone is already using it.

[Table of Contents]

Is Google Sheets Secure?

The question of Google Sheet's security often arises due to the sensitive data that users might store within these sheets. Let's delve into whether Google Sheets is secure or not, along with supporting reasons for both sides. 

Ways Google Sheets is secure:

1. Data Encryption: Google Sheets employs strong encryption protocols to protect your data while it's being transferred and stored on their servers. This helps ensure that unauthorized parties cannot easily access your information.

2. Two-Factor Authentication (2FA): Google offers 2FA, an additional layer of security that requires you to provide a second form of verification, usually a code sent to your phone, when logging into your account. This prevents unauthorized access even if your password is compromised.

3. Access Controls: Google Sheets provides you with granular control over who can access your documents. You can share sheets with specific individuals, granting them view or edit permissions, or keep them entirely private.

Ways Google Sheets is not secure:

1. Data Breaches: While Google has stringent security measures in place, no system is entirely immune to data breaches. There have been instances of high-profile breaches affecting various Google services, raising concerns about the safety of stored data.

2. Third-Party Add-ons: Google Sheets allows third-party add-ons that can sometimes access your data. While Google vets these add-ons to some extent, there's still a possibility that a malicious add-on could compromise your data's security.

3. Account Compromise: If your Google account is compromised, unauthorized individuals could potentially gain access to your Google Sheets. This is why it's crucial to maintain a strong, unique password and enable 2FA.

Why You Should Not Store Passwords in Google Sheets 

There are three main areas of concern when Google Sheets becomes the sole keeper of your passwords.

#1. Security

The fact that you've taken the initiative to create an access-restricted spreadsheet shows that you are aware of the need to be secure and have taken steps to ensure that. Whilst Google Sheets is more reliable than sticky notes or Excel spreadsheets, things can get complicated quickly when you start using a Google spreadsheet for highly sensitive or work-related passwords. As soon as you hire someone who doesn't need access to everything — or fire someone who had access to everything, then that's when a safety hazard occurs.

#2. Operations

If you don’t want everyone to have total control over the Google Spreadsheet, you'll need to create different spreadsheets for different accounts to control who can read/write each spreadsheet. You may want to give someone "view only" access, but when their job requires them to create a new account for the company, they'll have to find the document's owner to update that login information in the spreadsheet. Giving everyone editing access exposes the spreadsheet and the sensitive data it keeps to human error and malicious opportunities.

#3. Convenience

Having multiple spreadsheets with different security levels requires more management and more time to maintain — valuable time that you could apply to your role.

Once you start managing clients' information, you open a door that'll lead to more complications. Clients trust that their information is being correctly handled and securely stored. To ensure accountability, you're going to need better processes in place.

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These are just a few examples of situations where using a Google spreadsheet is inefficient and inconvenient. A password manager like TeamPassword can vastly improve your company's security processes, increase efficiency, and step-up security. TeamPassword lets you easily create groups to manage who has access to what, write detailed labels to distinguish accounts used by several clients, and quickly onboard new employees and clients by giving or removing access in just a few clicks. Our browser extensions allow you to access all your login information right in your browser window without interrupting your workflow.

Ready to step up your data security? See why TeamPassword is your best option to securely store and share your passwords by starting our free 14-day trial today!

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