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May 12, 2024
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 min read

‎Is Google Drive PCI Compliant?

Ensuring PCI Compliance with Google Drive: PCI DSS 4.0 and Strac's Data Protection Solutions

‎Is Google Drive PCI Compliant?
Calendar Icon White
May 12, 2024
Clock Icon
 min read

‎Is Google Drive PCI Compliant?

Ensuring PCI Compliance with Google Drive: PCI DSS 4.0 and Strac's Data Protection Solutions



  • Google Drive is regularly assessed for PCI DSS compliance, with organizations needing to ensure secure storage of cardholder data.
  • Misconfiguration of Google Drive can lead to data leakage, despite its strong security features.
  • New PCI DSS 4.0 requirements impact how organizations manage and secure PCI data in Google Drive.
  • Strac enhances data security in Google Drive by offering advanced detection, compliance across standards, seamless integration, and comprehensive coverage.
  • Organizations using Google Drive for PCI data should review and update their practices to align with the latest standards.

Google Drive PCI Compliance

Google Drive, a widely used platform for file storage and synchronization, is regularly assessed on its compliance with industry standards such as the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS).

Organizations that handle cardholder data are obligated to comply with PCI DSS to protect against data breaches and fraud.

This post delves into the compliance of Google Drive with PCI DSS, particularly in light of the recent 4.0 updates.

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Can You Store PCI Data in Google Drive?

Google Drive allows for the storage of various types of data, including documents, images, and other files. When it comes to PCI data, the critical factor is whether the data is stored securely as per PCI DSS guidelines.

According to PCI DSS Requirement 3, merchants and financial institutions may only store cardholder data if it is essential for business operations​​.

For those who choose to store such data, it must be protected with strong access control measures and encryption. Google Drive does offer robust encryption for stored data and has implemented multiple security measures to safeguard data.

However, compliance also depends heavily on how the organization configures and manages its Google Drive settings. For example, access controls must be strictly managed, and data should not be shared externally without proper security measures.

Under the Google Cloud shared responsibility model, customers are responsible for configuring their firewalls, setting up access controls, and securing their applications and data.

Can PCI Data be Leaked from Google Drive?

Despite strong security features, the potential for data leakage exists if Google Drive is not configured correctly. The platform itself offers tools and settings that can meet compliance requirements, but misuse or misconfiguration can lead to data exposure. Common risks include:

  • Inadequate access controls allowing unauthorized users to access sensitive data.
  • Failure to apply encryption properly to files and folders containing cardholder data.
  • Sharing settings that may expose data to external parties unintentionally.

Organizations must ensure that they implement robust policies and training to prevent data leakage from Google Drive.

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What are the New PCI 4.0 Requirements for PCI Data in Google Drive?

PCI DSS 4.0 introduces stringent requirements that significantly impact the storage and handling of PCI data on cloud platforms such as Google Drive. Here are the key updates and their implications for Google Drive users:

1. No Unauthorized Copy/Relocation of PAN

Requirement 3.4.2 aims to protect the Primary Account Number (PAN) from unauthorized copying or relocation across all platforms, including cloud-based services like Google Drive.

This update mandates the implementation of strict technical controls to limit copying or relocating PAN to authorized personnel only, who must have documented authorization and a legitimate business need.

Such controls are vital in cloud environments like Google Drive, where the remote and distributed nature of data storage increases the risk of unauthorized access.

2. PAN Must Be Unreadable

Requirement requires that PAN be rendered unreadable in storage, which includes databases, files, and logs hosted on services such as Google Drive.

This is achieved through the use of keyed cryptographic hashes of the entire PAN, underpinned by strong key management processes as stipulated in PCI DSS Requirements 3.6 and 3.7.

This requirement ensures that PAN data remains encrypted and indecipherable, safeguarding it from unauthorized access and breaches in a scalable and accessible cloud storage solution like Google Drive.

3. Incident Response for PAN Data Leaks

Requirement 12.10.7 necessitates the establishment of proactive incident response procedures that activate upon detecting PAN in any unauthorized location, including cloud platforms like Google Drive.

The goal is to quickly address potential data leaks by analyzing, retrieving, and securely deleting or relocating the PAN to a secure environment.

This requirement underscores the importance of continuous monitoring and rapid response capabilities in Google Drive, where data dynamics are subject to swift changes, requiring agile and effective incident management strategies.

4. Protecting Payment Information on Google Drive

Organizations should avoid storing any cardholder data unless absolutely necessary. Essential steps to protect PCI data include:

  • Ensuring that payment card terminals and other vulnerable endpoint devices do not retain payment card data.
  • Ensuring that printed payment card information is truncated or masked on receipts to protect the cardholder's data.
  • Keeping servers and storage devices, like those used in Google Drive, locked, secure, and access-controlled.
  • Enforcing strict access controls to prevent unauthorized personnel from accessing stored cardholder data.

These measures collectively enhance the security of sensitive cardholder information stored in cloud services like Google Drive, addressing both digital and physical security issues.

To maintain compliance with PCI DSS 4.0, entities using Google Drive must critically assess and possibly upgrade their configurations and operational practices. This includes regular audits to ensure ongoing alignment with the stringent requirements of PCI DSS 4.0, with a particular focus on encryption validation, access controls, and logging mechanisms.

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How Does Strac Enhance Data Security in Google Drive?

Strac is a comprehensive SaaS/Cloud and Endpoint DLP solution offering a state-of-the-art DLP solution. Here’s how Strac protects your sensitive data across multiple platforms, including Google Drive:

  • Advanced Detection & Customization: Strac detects and redacts sensitive data in various formats like images and documents. Explore the full catalog of sensitive data elements to understand the breadth of Strac's capabilities.
  • Compliance Across Standards: Strac helps achieve compliance with major regulations such as PCI, SOC 2, HIPAA, ISO-27001, CCPA, GDPR, and NIST, ensuring your data management practices meet legal requirements.
  • Seamless Integration and Accurate Redaction: Integrating Strac takes less than ten minutes, offering immediate protection. Strac's Google Drive DLP integration uses sophisticated machine learning models for high-accuracy detection and redaction, significantly reducing false positives and negatives.
  • Comprehensive Coverage: Strac supports a wide range of DLP integrations, enhancing security across all digital environments. Additionally, Strac’s developer documentation provides extensive resources for customizing and extending DLP capabilities.

Strac fortifies your data protection strategy by aligning with the latest compliance standards and providing a clear security framework

Discover how Strac can transform your data security measures by booking a free demo today.

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

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