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Data Loss Prevention Feature For Gmail Can Now Use Optical Character Recognition

1 March 2016, 9:05 am EST By Sumit Passary Tech Times
Google announced expansion of data loss prevention for Gmail. DLP can now use optical character recognition for detecting sensitive information on image files.  ( Cairo | Flickr )

Google has announced new security aspects for Gmail at Work that expands the company's data loss prevention (DLP) feature.

In December 2015, Google introduced DLP as a measure to prevent sensitive data on Gmail from being leaked or accessible to unauthorized people. On Monday, the company introduced a number of new features for the DLP that will enhance security by adding another layer of protection for sensitive information.

The most notable new feature is the optical character recognition (OCR), which is a tool that scans email content for private data, such as credit card details, social security number or driver's license number. The tool also looks into objectionable words such as project codes. It's capable of scanning not only text in emails, but also attachments such as documents, presentations and spreadsheets.

"Gmail DLP will automatically check all outgoing emails from the sales department [or any other department] and take action based on what the admin has specified: either quarantine the email for review, tell users to modify the information, or block the email from being sent and notify the sender," explains Suzanne Frey, director of security, trust and privacy for the Google Apps team. 

Google has also launched a set of new predefined content detectors for DLP, which will assist in scanning emails for personally identifiable information in a number of new countries. Admins now have the capabality to set up rules to quarantine or reject emails based on company policy.

"Admins have the option to enable OCR in the Admin console at the organizational-unit (OU) level for both the Content compliance and Objectionable content rules," says Google.

The new security features also bring more control over content detection thresholds. Admins can define parameters for handling emails effectively. For example, a company may agree that an email containing one credit card detail will be quarantined and with more than 10 being outright rejected.

Gmail DLP's new features will make it easier for organizations to manage emails and avoid unnecessary rejections or quarantines. It is currently available only for Google Apps for Work Unlimited customers.

Improving DLP capabilities for Gmail may help the company to compete with rivals such as Microsoft for selling more productivity services to businesses.

Photo : Cairo | Flickr

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