For the most part, Google Drive is safe and secure. Sure, it has had a few security slip-ups in the past, but these have been relatively minor and few in number compared to those experienced by some of Google Drive's competitors.
The majority of safety and security problems that you're likely to run into when using Google Drive revolve around human error when sharing your Google Drive files, as well as the nature of Google Drive as a part of Google's connected network of Internet applications. We'll explain the risks involved with both of these facets, as well as how you can work around them.
One of the neat things about Google Drive is that you can easily allow other people to find and access the files that you store on it. However, depending on how you set up your sharing options for your files on Google Drive, other people may be able to download your files, copy them to their own Google Drive accounts, make changes to them, or even allow other people to access them against your will.
The key to sharing your Google Drive files responsibly is knowing how to adjust your sharing settings properly. If you don't want just anyone to be able to find and access one of your files on Google Drive (which you can do, if you are okay with it), then you can make it so that only people who know the specific Internet address of the file can access it. Or, you can specify that you only want people within your business, or specific people whom you personally choose, to be able to access your file.
You can also control the actions that people who have access to a certain file on Google Drive can take with that file. For some files, you may want people to be able to edit the file, or give other people access to the file. For other files, you may want to restrict access to simply being able to view, download, or copy the file. You can also set additional options whereby your files on Google Drive can't be downloaded, copied, or printed by people without certain access permissions, or can't have their sharing settings changed by anyone but you.
Google has implemented a system whereby its users can use one central account to log into nearly every Internet application and service run by Google (including Gmail, YouTube, Google Maps, Google Finance, and -- of course -- Google Drive). On one hand, this is convenient in that, since you don't need separate accounts for each Google product, you only need to remember one email address and password combination in order to use all things Google. The flip side of this is that, if a hacker or other troublemaker manages to find the email address for your Google account and crack your password, they now have access to all of your information across all of the Google services that you use.
The best way to remedy this security issue is, quite simply, to make your Google Drive password as difficult to break as possible. Our How to Make a Strong Password tutorial will give you some tips on how to do that.
That's our advice on how to stay safe and secure while using Google Drive!
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