Calendar Icon White
March 9, 2024
Clock Icon
 min read

Is Google Drive HIPAA Compliant?

Learn if Google Drive is HIPAA Compliant, its benefits and drawbacks.

Is Google Drive HIPAA Compliant?
Calendar Icon White
March 9, 2024
Clock Icon
 min read

Is Google Drive HIPAA Compliant?

Learn if Google Drive is HIPAA Compliant, its benefits and drawbacks.


  • Google Drive can be made HIPAA compliant with proper settings and a signed BAA.
  • Healthcare organizations must configure and manage Google Drive settings to protect PHI.
  • Strac's DLP solutions help prevent data leaks and unauthorized access to PHI stored on Google Drive.
  • Risks of data breaches exist, including unauthorized access and malware attacks.
  • Strac offers advanced capabilities like real-time alerts, data encryption, and granular access controls to enhance data protection.

A Deep Dive into Data Protection

In the rapidly evolving landscape of digital health information, ensuring the privacy and security of patient data is paramount. For healthcare providers and associates leveraging cloud-based solutions to store and manage Protected Health Information (PHI), the compliance of these services with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) is a critical concern. Google Drive, as a widely used cloud storage service, often comes under scrutiny regarding its compatibility with HIPAA requirements. This blog post provides a comprehensive analysis of Google Drive's HIPAA compliance, examining its capabilities, safeguards, and the implications for healthcare entities.

Understanding the Importance of HIPAA Compliance

HIPAA sets the standard for protecting sensitive patient data in the United States. Any organization or associate that handles PHI must ensure the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of such information, applying rigorous physical, network, and process security measures. Compliance is not only a legal requirement but also a cornerstone of trust in the healthcare industry.

Is Google Drive HIPAA Compliant?

In the realm of healthcare, the security and confidentiality of patient information are paramount. The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) sets the standard for sensitive patient data protection. As more healthcare providers and associated businesses rely on cloud services to store and manage data, it's critical to examine the compliance of these services with HIPAA regulations. Google Drive, a widely used cloud storage service, often comes under scrutiny regarding its HIPAA compliance. In this blog post, we will explore various facets of using Google Drive for storing Protected Health Information (PHI) and how Strac, a Data Loss Prevention (DLP) company, plays a crucial role in ensuring the security of such data.

Can You Store PHI or Patient Data in Google Drive?

Yes, it is possible to store PHI or patient data in Google Drive, but with stipulations. Google Drive, as part of Google's G Suite (now Google Workspace), can be made HIPAA compliant under certain conditions. The primary requirement is that the healthcare entity must enable the necessary settings to ensure PHI is handled in a compliant manner and that Google's use of the data is properly restricted.

Sample PHI Data

‎Will Google Sign a BAA Agreement for Google Drive?

Yes, Google will sign a Business Associate Agreement (BAA) for Google Drive, which is a critical step in complying with HIPAA. A BAA outlines the responsibilities of each party in protecting PHI and is mandatory for any third-party service provider (business associate) that may come into contact with PHI. Google offers BAAs for Google Workspace customers, which includes Google Drive, ensuring that they adhere to HIPAA's regulations regarding the handling and protection of PHI.

Compliance Is a Shared Responsibility

While Google Drive provides the technical capabilities to support HIPAA compliance, it's crucial to recognize that compliance is a shared responsibility. Healthcare organizations must properly configure and manage their Google Drive settings to ensure PHI is adequately protected. This includes:

  • Activating and managing access controls.
  • Regularly reviewing and updating permissions.
  • Training staff on secure data handling practices.
  • Ensuring that PHI is not shared improperly within or outside the organization.

Can PHI/Patient Data Be Leaked from Google Drive?

Despite the security measures Google Drive has in place, the risk of PHI or patient data leakage exists, as with any cloud service. Data breaches can occur through various means, including but not limited to:

  • Unauthorized access due to weak passwords or phishing attacks.
  • Misconfigured sharing settings that inadvertently expose sensitive information.
  • Malware and ransomware attacks that compromise data integrity and confidentiality.

It's crucial for organizations to understand these risks and implement additional security measures to protect PHI stored on Google Drive.

How Can Strac Protect Companies from Data Leaks?

Strac offers a comprehensive DLP solution for both SaaS/Cloud and Endpoint environments, aiding organizations in maintaining PCI DSS compliance through its advanced capabilities:

  • Immediate Alerts and Ongoing Surveillance: Strac ensures that businesses remain vigilant by providing real-time notifications and constant monitoring for any unauthorized activities or data transactions.
  • Enhanced Detection of Sensitive Data: Leveraging sophisticated machine learning algorithms, Strac significantly boosts the precision in identifying sensitive information.
Strac Google Drive DLP: Scanning Sensitive File and Blocking (Remediation)
  • Continuous Scanning for Sensitive Information: Strac actively searches and scans for sensitive data, offering thorough security and management essential for locating and protecting critical data elements.
  • Advanced Redaction of Sensitive Details: With its superior editing capabilities, Strac effectively removes sensitive information from documents before sharing, preventing unintended data exposures.
  • Data Encryption During Transmission: Strac protects data on the move by encrypting it as it travels across networks, vital for deterring unauthorized access.
  • Granular Access Controls: The platform allows for detailed access management, enabling only approved users to access sensitive information, thereby significantly minimizing the risk of data breaches.
  • Broad Platform Support: Compatible with a variety of platforms, including SaaS, Cloud, and endpoint technologies like Zendesk, Slack, and Office 365, Strac delivers extensive protection and secures operations across all key areas. All Integrations here: https://‎
Strac SaaS, Cloud and Endpoint DLP

In Summary: Google Drive and HIPAA Compliance

While Google Drive can be configured to be HIPAA compliant, and Google will sign a BAA, the responsibility ultimately lies with the healthcare provider to use Google Drive in a manner that complies with HIPAA regulations. Strac's DLP solutions play a critical role in ensuring that PHI stored in Google Drive is protected against unauthorized access and data breaches. By leveraging advanced scanning, detection, and remediation technologies, healthcare organizations can confidently use cloud services like Google Drive while maintaining compliance with HIPAA's stringent requirements.

To learn about how Strac can help you with HIPAA Compliance, please read ‎ and learn about Google Drive DLP Blog post: ‎‎

Founder, Strac. ex-Amazon Payments Infrastructure (Widget, API, Security) Builder for 11 years.

Latest articles

Browse all