We are proud to comply with regulations across the world and across various industry sectors such as healthcare and education. You can use our services with confidence that Google provides the tools and controls you need to meet your compliance requirements.

To help answer some of the many questions we receive, we have created this FAQ and a companion G Suite security site. We hope this helps to answer some of your questions about Google's position on these important issues! Be sure to check Google's Privacy and Terms page for tools and information relating to consumer privacy.

If you need to report an abuse issue, learn more about reporting abuse issues to our team. 

How can I verify G Suite’s and Google Cloud Platform’s security?

Our customers and regulators expect independent verification of security, privacy and compliance controls. Google undergoes several independent third party audits on a regular basis to provide this assurance. This means that an independent auditor has examined the controls present in our data centers, infrastructure and operations. Google solutions have regular audits for the following standards:

  • SOC1 (SSAE-18/ISAE-3402)—G Suite and Google Cloud Platform
  • SOC2—G Suite and Google Cloud Platform 
  • SOC3—G Suite and Google Cloud Platform
  • ISO27001—G Suite and Google Cloud Platform
  • ISO27017—G Suite and Google Cloud Platform
  • ISO27018—G Suite and Google Cloud Platform
  • HIPAA—G Suite and Google Cloud Platform
  • FedRAMP—G Suite and Google Cloud Platform
Can I obtain a copy of these certificates and audit reports? Where can I download the SOC3 audit report? Where can I see Google's ISO27001 certificate?

The SOC3 reports prove that our controls have been examined by an independent accountant. It represents the practitioner’s report on management's assertion(s) that the entity's business being relied upon is in conformity with the applicable Trust Services Principle(s) and Criteria.

The ISO27001 certificates prove the functional scope of the ISO/IEC 27001:2013 standard. Certification is bounded by the G Suite (and G Suite for Education), Google Cloud Platform, Google Plus, Google Now, Google Analytics, and Analytics Premium offerings and the data contained or collected by those offerings and specified facilities.

How does Google adhere to European data protection requirements?

Google has a broad customer base in Europe. Over 50% of our business customers are based outside of the United States. Google provides capabilities and contractual commitments created to meet data protection recommendations provided by the Article 29 Working Party. Google offers to sign EU Model Contract Clauses and a Data Processing Amendment for G Suite and Data Processing Amendment for Google Cloud Platform. 

To opt-in our Data Processing Amendment, please follow these instructions:

Sign in to the Admin console. Click Company Profile > Profile.

In the Security and Privacy Additional Terms section, next to Data Processing Amendment, click Review and Accept. Click I Accept.

Next to EU Model Contract Clauses, click Review and Accept. Click I Accept.

Along with independent third-party audits of our data protection practices and our ISO 27001 certification, and verification that our privacy practices and contractual commitments for comply with ISO/IEC 27018:2014 we provide our customers with several compliance options to address EU data protection regulations.

Don’t EU data protection laws require that personal data be stored in the EU/EEA?

The European Commission’s Data Protection Directive is an important piece of privacy legislation passed by the European Union (EU) in 1995. It restricts the movement of data from the EU to non-EU countries that do not meet the EU’s “adequacy” standard for privacy protection. Processing personal data strictly within the EU is one means of compliance with the Directive. Other means of compliance don’t require data location within the EU, such as the use of European Commission-approved model contract clauses.

What about the U.S. government? Won’t storing data outside of the U.S. mean it won’t be subject to U.S. government requests for data?

Storing your data in a particular country does not necessarily protect the data from access by foreign governments. Location of data in one jurisdiction doesn't necessarily mean that another can't compel its disclosure. Moreover, there are reports of government attempts to directly tap cable lines between data centers in multiple locations around the world. That's why we are advocating for surveillance reform. We refuse to provide governments with access to our systems or to install equipment that gives them access to user data. For more information on how government requests for data are handled, please visit Google’s Transparency Report.

Where does Google store my data?

Your data will be stored in Google's network of data centers. Google maintains a number of geographically distributed data centers. Google's computing clusters are designed with resiliency and redundancy in mind, eliminating any single point of failure and minimizing the impact of common equipment failures and environmental risks.

Can I store healthcare data in Google systems?

G Suite supports our customers’ compliance with the U.S. Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA). Customers who are subject to HIPAA and wish to use G Suite with Protected Health Information (PHI) must sign a Business Associate Agreement (BAA) with Google. Administrators for organizations with G Suite, G Suite for Education, and G Suite for Government can request a BAA before using Google services with PHI. Google offers a BAA covering Gmail, Google Calendar, Google Drive and Google Vault. Google Cloud Platform customers can get a BAA for Compute Engine, Cloud Storage, Cloud SQL, and BigQuery.

Do Google products meet privacy requirements for use by students and children?

More than 40 million students rely on G Suite for Education. G Suite for Education complies with the U.S. Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), and our commitment to do so is included in our agreements. We contractually require G Suite for Education schools to obtain parental consent regarding the use of our service in conformity with the U.S. Child Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA), which facilitates compliance with COPPA requirements.

Can Google be used by U.S. government institutions?

The Federal Information Security Management Act of 2002 (FISMA) is a U.S. federal law pertaining to the information security of federal agencies' information systems. FISMA applies to all information systems used or operated by U.S. federal agencies, or by contractors or other organizations on behalf of the government. 

The Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program (FedRAMP) implements FISMA for U.S. federal agencies using cloud computing services. FedRAMP is the required cloud security compliance standard for Federal agencies.

G Suite, including G Suite, G Suite for Education, G Suite for Nonprofits and Government, and Google App Engine have received a FedRAMP Authorization to Operate (ATO) at the FIPS 199 Moderate impact level, the standard level for Controlled Unclassified Information.

My organization handles payment card data and is subject to PCI DSS. What tools are available to help me remain compliant?

The Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) is a set of policies and technical requirements defined for systems that contain or process payment card information. Google Cloud Platform has been assessed by a Qualified Security Assessor (QSA) and found to be in compliance with the Payment Card Industry (PCI) Data Security Standards (DSS). Google is using the QSA’s Report on Compliance to confirm that application developers can create and operate their own secure and compliant solutions using its platform. G Suite is not meant to process or store credit card transactions. Therefore, customers may configure controls to prevent emails with credit card information from being sent from G Suite. This helps our customers maintain PCI DSS compliance. 

What eDiscovery tools are available for my organization to support legal and compliance requests?

Google Vault is an add-on for G Suite that lets you retain, archive, search, and export your organization's email for your eDiscovery and compliance needs. Vault is entirely web-based, so there's no need to install or maintain any software. With Vault, you can:

Can I use Google services with data controlled under the International Traffic in Arms Regulations?

The International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) is a set of U.S. government regulations that control the export and import of defense-related articles and services on the United States Munitions List (USML). Google does not support use of our services with ITAR-controlled data.

How do Google cloud services comply with the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)?

The EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) replaces the 1995 EU Data Protection Directive. The GDPR strengthens the rights that individuals have regarding personal data relating to them and seeks to unify data protection laws across Europe, regardless of where that data is processed.

You can count on the fact that Google is committed to GDPR compliance across G Suite and Google Cloud Platform services. We are also committed to helping our customers with their GDPR compliance journey by providing them with the robust privacy and security protections we have built into our services and contracts over the years.

Among other things, data controllers are required to use only data processors that provide sufficient guarantees to implement appropriate technical and organizational measures in such a manner that processing will meet the requirements of the GDPR.

Our data processing terms for G Suite and Google Cloud Platform clearly articulate our privacy commitments to customers. We have evolved these terms over the years based on feedback from our customers and regulators and have updated them to specifically address GDPR changes.

Please visit our GDPR site for more information.

What is the difference between the G Suite and the consumer versions of G Suite apps?

G Suite services are offered by Google to organizations under the G Suite Terms of Service and the Data Processing Amendment. Consumer apps are offered by Google directly to its end users under Google Terms of Service and the Google Privacy Policy. There is significant overlap in the features and functionality of G Suite apps and consumer versions of these apps. G Suite services have controls that allow an organization's administrators to have control over the security and privacy settings of the apps for their organization.

Does Google offer the G Suite Data Processing Amendment for consumer versions of the G Suite apps?

No. Our G Suite data processing terms, including the Data Processing Amendment and the model contract clauses, are only available for the customers that use G Suite. The consumer versions of the G Suite apps are offered under the Google Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.

You may want to consult with your legal counsel about your specific privacy and data protection obligations and which model suits your compliance needs.

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