Privacy and Security FAQ
Providing your school community with a safe digital learning environment is foundational to Google for Education, so you can teach and learn knowing your school community’s data is private and secure.
How does Google keep data secure?
All Google products are continuously protected by one of the world’s most advanced security infrastructures, and we vigorously resist any unlawful attempt to access our customers’ data. This built-in security automatically detects and prevents online threats, so you can be confident your private information is safe.
Google encrypts data at rest by default. We protect this data with multiple layers of security, including leading encryption technology like HTTPS and Transport Layer Security. Google’s data centers use custom hardware running a custom hardened operating system and file system. Each of these systems has been optimized for security and performance. Because Google controls the entire hardware stack, we are able to quickly respond to any threats or weaknesses that may emerge. We are fully committed to the security and privacy of your data and protecting you and your school from attempts to compromise it.
How are Google for Education products and services reliable and scalable?
Our industry-leading global network is built with multilayered, full-stack security that can handle even extreme shifts in demand. From custom-designed data centers to private undersea cables that transfer data between continents, we operate one of the world’s most secure and reliable cloud infrastructures. Our infrastructure handles more than 100 billion search queries each month and scales services such as Gmail to hundreds of millions of users with guaranteed 99.9%% availability and no scheduled downtime. It’s continuously monitored to protect your data and keep it available. And in the event of a disruption, platform services can be automatically and instantly shifted from one facility to another so that they can continue without interruption.
How do you know we’re keeping our word?
Our industry-leading security, third-party audits and certifications, documentation, and contract commitments help support your compliance. We make contractual commitments in our Data Processing Amendment and Google Workspace for Education Agreement and commit to comply with privacy and security standards, including as captured in our Google Cloud Privacy Notice. And whether it’s real-time dashboards to verify system performance, our ongoing auditing of our processes, or sharing the location of our data centers, we’re committed to providing all our users utmost transparency. It’s your data, and we want you to know what happens with it so that you can always make informed choices.
How does Google Workspace for Education provide a safer learning environment?
Providing a safer way to learn is at the foundation of all Google Workspace for Education products and services, and every single one adheres to the highest educational standards of privacy and compliance. We ensure these learning environments are free of ads, spam, and other cyberthreats.
We provide a safer age-based experience for students by offering advanced admin controls and policies so K-12 schools can ensure content and browsing on a Google for Education account is age-appropriate by default. Our tools enable admins to limit service and content access by user and provide SafeSearch and SafeSites by default.
Built-in automated protections provide 24/7 monitoring, encryption, and security alerts. An easy-to-use dashboard puts all of your settings and analytics reports in one place, giving you full visibility and control of your data and security policies. Premium upgrades provide additional proactive security capabilities that meet the needs of your individual institution.
What are Google Workspace for Education Core Services?
Google Workspace for Education Core Services are the heart of Google’s educational offering to schools. Google Workspace for Education Core Services are listed in the Services Summary and include Classroom, Assignments, Forms, Google Meet, Gmail, Calendar, Docs, Slides, Sheets, Sites, Drive, Chat, Jamboard, Contacts, Groups, Vault, and Chrome Sync. These services are provided to a school under its Google Workspace for Education Agreement and, as applicable, Data Processing Amendment.
Google Workspace for Education Core Services support rigorous privacy standards, contain no advertising and do not use information in those services for advertising purposes. Millions of students, educators, and administrators in almost every country in the world rely on Google Workspace to learn and work together. We are committed to protecting the privacy and security of all our users.
Are Google Workspace for Education products and services education compliant?
Yes. Google Workspace for Education complies with rigorous privacy and security educational standards.
We undergo several independent third-party audits on a regular basis. Google’s certifications, audits, and assessments include:
- ISO/IEC 27001
- ISO/IEC 27017
- ISO/IEC 27018
- SOC 2 and SOC 3
- FedRAMP (US Government)
- BSI C5 (Germany)
- MTCS (Singapore)
- PCI DSS
- FISC Compliance
- Esquema Nacional de Seguridad (ENS) (Spain)
Google Workspace for Education can be used to help meet your compliance and reporting requirements with:
- General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)
- US Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)
- Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA)
- South Africa’s Protection of Personal Information Act (POPI)
- EU Model Contract Clauses
Can Google Workspace for Education be used in compliance with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)?
Can Google Workspace for Education be used in compliance with the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act of 1998 (COPPA)?
Yes. Schools are required to obtain or provide consent for their students’ use of Google for Education Core Services and Additional Services, consistent with COPPA. Schools are required to obtain parental consent for students’ use of Additional Services with their Google Workspace for Education account.
Can Google Workspace for Education be used in compliance with European privacy law (GDPR)?
Yes. Google Workspace for Education can be used in compliance with GDPR. Our Data Processing Amendment is designed to meet the adequacy and security requirements of the GDPR and model contract clauses were created specifically by the European Commission to permit the transfer of personal data from Europe. Customers can opt-in to the Data Processing Amendment and model contract clauses. Please visit our GDPR webpage for more information on Google Cloud and Google Workspace commitments around GDPR.
Which third parties have reviewed Google’s security practices?
We regularly connect with independent auditors to review our data protection practices. An independent third-party auditor has verified that our practices and contractual commitments for Google Workspace for Education comply with ISO/IEC 27018 and ISO/IEC 27001, and are audited against SSAE 18 / ISAE 3402 Type II. For our full compliance offerings, see our Compliance resource center.
Does Google Workspace for Education encrypt my data?
Yes. Data encryption by default is an important piece of the Google Workspace for Education security strategy, helping to protect your emails, chats, video meetings, files, and other data. Data is encrypted at rest and in transit, ensuring that your messages are safe not only when they move between you and Google’s servers, but also as they move between Google’s data centers.
What happens to student data after the student finishes school?
It is the school’s responsibility to delete a student’s Google Workspace for Education account once the student finishes school. Schools have the ability to delete end user accounts when they are no longer needed. Google commits to deleting customer data associated with an end user account within 180 days from the customer deleting the account.
Students have the option to export their data under a Google Workspace for Education account if their administrator allows.
Are there ads in Google Workspace for Education?
No. There are no ads in the suite of Google Workspace for Education Core Services. Outside of the Google Workspace for Education Core Services, additional Google services may show ads, as described in the Google Workspace for Education Privacy Notice. For Google Workspace users in primary/secondary (K-12) schools, Google does not use any user personal information (or any information associated with a Google Account) to target ads.
Does Google own school or student data?
No. Schools own their customer data, retain full rights over its intellectual property, and can set rules for when people in your school community can download data. Google doesn’t assume ownership of any customer data in Google Workspace for Education Core Services, as mentioned in our contracts (under “Intellectual Property”).
Google provides powerful, easy-to-use management tools and dashboards to help administrators keep track of their organizations’ services, usage, and data. We only keep your customer data as long as you ask us to keep it. If an education department, school, or university decides to stop using Google, we make it easy for them to take their data with them.
Does Google sell school or student data to third parties?
No. We don’t sell your Google Workspace customer data to third parties, and we do not share customer data placed in our systems with third parties, except in the few exceptional circumstances described in the Google Workspace for Education Agreement, such as when you ask us to share it or when we are required to do so by law. It is Google’s policy that the customer, as the data owner, is primarily responsible for responding to law enforcement data requests. However, Google may receive direct requests from governments and courts around the world about how a person has used the company’s services. Detailed information about data requests and Google’s response to them is available in our Transparency Report. Google also does not sell personal information collected in Additional Services. Learn more about Google Workspace for Education Core and Additional Services.
Has Google signed the Student Privacy Pledge?
Yes. Google has signed the Student Privacy Pledge with respect to Google Workspace for Education Core Services. This pledge, introduced by the Future of Privacy Forum (FPF) and The Software & Information Industry Association (SIIA), is intended to reflect our commitment to safeguard student personal information in our services designed for use in schools. Additional Services outside of the Google Workspace Core Services are not governed by the Student Privacy Pledge.
How do I know that other customers sharing the same servers can’t access my data?
Your data is logically separated as if it were on its own server. Unauthorized parties cannot access your data. Other customers cannot access your data, and you can’t access theirs. In fact, all user accounts are protected by this secure architecture that ensures that one user cannot see another user’s data. This is similar to how customer data is segmented in other shared infrastructures, such as online banking applications.
How do Google services collect and use information with Google Workspace for Education accounts?
Google Workspace for Education Core Services don’t collect or use information for advertising purposes or to create ads profiles. Data is being treated responsibly with strict security protocols and full transparency into privacy policies. The Google Workspace for Education Privacy Notice details what information Google services collect when used with Google Workspace for Education accounts. We use data to provide, maintain, protect, and improve products, to develop new ones, and to protect Google and our users. For example, collecting information like a user’s email address enables us to send an email to that user to grant access to Classroom.
What kind of scanning or indexing of user data is done on Google Workspace for Education accounts?
Google Workspace for Education Core Services don’t collect or use information for advertising purposes or to create ads profiles.
We provide users with information in our Google Cloud Privacy Notice about the Service Data that we collect and generate while providing the Google Workspace for Education Core Services. This Service Data includes information about customers’ payments and transactions, settings and configurations, product usage, and direct communications with us, but excludes user personal information provided by our customers and end users through the services.
How can I customize privacy and security needs for my institution?
Google Workspace for Education offers four editions to give admins more choice in finding the solution that best suits the needs of your institution.
Enable secure learning environments with Google Workspace for Education Fundamentals and Teaching and Learning Upgrade editions:
- Alert center: provides a complete view into security with notifications, alerts, and actions
- Identity and access management: Manage access to tools with two-factor authentication, single sign-on, and password management
- Data loss protection (DPL): Helps prevent the loss or theft of data in Gmail and Drive by allowing you to set your own automated rules and policies
- Vault: Support your unique data retention and eDiscovery requirements by retaining, searching, and exporting data
Build on your secure foundation with advanced security capabilities that enable a more proactive approach to your school’s security. With Google Workspace for Education Standard and Google Workspace for Education Plus, get all the security offerings above, and:
- Proactive prevention: Tighten your security across your domain with security health monitoring and best practices recommendations
- Advanced detection: Provides analytics and insights through your security center dashboard to help you address security risks
- Quick remediation: Remediate malware, phishing, spam, and other cyberattacks by quickly identifying issues and taking action from a central console
All Google Workspace for Education editions offer admins full flexibility and control to change default settings for entire schools, classes, or individuals. By default, students under 18 have access to content that is deliberately limited to ensure a safer and protected online experience, but admins can override these settings if they see fit.
Can students access other Google services with their Google Workspace for Education account?
By default, students marked under the age of 18 will be deliberately limited from accessing age-inappropriate content by default for additional Google services, like YouTube, Maps, Search, Play, and lose access to some additional services. Admins can override these settings if they see fit. These services may show ads, however personal information (or any information associated with the account) from primary and secondary (K-12) schools users will not be used to target ads.
How can I manage Google Workspace Additional Services?
Schools can turn these services on or off for certain groups of teachers and students. When a school obtains appropriate consent, Additional Services that allow it can be used by Google Workspace for Education users. Every organization and community is different, and so we give schools the power to configure tools as they wish to meet the unique needs of students and educators
How is the data that was collected in Additional Services being used?
For Google Workspace for Education users in primary and secondary (K-12) schools, Google does not use any user personal information (or any information associated with a Google Workspace for Education account) to target ads, whether in Core Services or other Google services accessed while using a Google Workspace for Education account.
Is Google Workspace customer data shared with Additional Services? If so, what kind of information is shared with Additional Services?
Google Workspace for Education customer data is not shared with Additional Services. If the domain Admin chooses to enable Additional Services, some customer data may be shared to the extent required to facilitate the interaction with the Additional Service(s). Google does not share customer data from Core Services with Additional Services without a user or admin direction. However, when Core Services data is required to facilitate the interaction with an Additional Service (for example, Assistant), the data is processed according to the Google Workspace terms and conditions.
How can Additional Services data be deleted?
Who uses Chromebooks?
Millions of students around the world use Chromebooks for learning. Cutting-edge privacy and security features have helped to make Chromebooks popular devices globally.
Can Chromebooks help me to comply with FERPA and COPPA?
Yes. Chromebooks can be used in compliance with FERPA and COPPA when a school obtains parental consent. Google also ensures they comply with the Student Privacy Pledge.
Are Chromebooks secure for my school community?
Yes. Chromebooks are designed with multiple layers of security to keep them safe from viruses and malware without any additional security software. A full 10%% of boot time is dedicated to reverifying that the device has not been tampered with, so every time you power on a Chromebook, your security is checked. And because they can be managed centrally, Chromebooks make it easy for school IT administrators to configure policies and settings, like enabling safe browsing or blocking malicious sites. Chromebooks have the following built in:
- Automatic updates: Help ensure your malware protection is always up to date
- Verified boot: Allows Chromebooks to self-check for malware and auto-repair if corrupted
- Security sandbox: Helps prevent the spread of viruses by making sure each webpage and application runs in its own walled environment
- 128-bit data encryption: Protects every Chromebook by enabling a unique username and password for each student
- Chrome Sync: Allows students to sign in to any Chromebook or Chrome browser to access all their apps, settings, and preferences
Are Chromebooks compatible with online testing?
Chromebooks are a secure platform for administering student assessments. With Chromebooks, you can disable students’ access to browse the web during an exam in addition to disabling external storage, screenshots, and the ability to print. Both PARCC (see TestNav) and the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium have verified that Chromebooks meet hardware and operating system requirements for online students.
How is data used and protected for students on Chromebook?
Google is committed to building products that help protect student and teacher privacy and provide best-in-class security for your institution. Our systems compile data aggregated from millions of users and, after completely removing any identifying information, we use this data to holistically improve the services we provide. By default, Chromebooks collect broad device and setting information along with usage statistics and crash reports. For example, if data shows that millions of people are visiting a webpage that is broken, that site would be moved lower in the search results. This is not connected to any specific person, nor is it used to analyze student behavior.
Chrome sync enables Google Account holders to sign in to any Chromebook or Chrome browser and find all their apps, extensions, bookmarks, and frequently visited web pages. With Chromebooks and Chrome sync, students can have a personalized experience on any device they share with their classmates, while keeping their data secure. Google Workspace for Education users’ Chrome Sync data is not used to target ads to individual students.
If they choose to, administrators can disable Chrome Sync, and users can choose what information to sync. Personally identifiable Chrome Sync data in Google Workspace for Education accounts is only used to power features in Chrome for that person, for example allowing students to access their own browsing data and settings, securely, across devices. If they choose to, administrators can disable Chrome Sync entirely, and users can choose what information to sync. Google Workspace for Education users’ Chrome Sync data is not used to target ads to individual students through the Google Workspace for Education Core Services.
Are there additional security and privacy capabilities available for Chromebooks?
With Chrome Education Upgrade, school IT administrators can manage settings to give students as much or as little access as the school desires, to provide yet another layer of data security and centralized management capabilities, including:
- Advanced security: Prevent unauthorized access to school data with advanced security features that allow IT to easily disable the device. Devices can also be set as ephemeral, removing user data at the end of a session, or set up with a persistent enrollment to prevent unrestricted access.
- 24/7 support: Get the added benefit of Chrome’s OS troubleshooting assistance with 24/7 admin support. Call Google at any time if an issue comes up, at no additional cost.
- Simplified deployment: Provides IT admins with access to device policies and fleet oversight capabilities, both school-issued and student-owned, all from the easy-to-use, cloud-based Google Admin console.
- Powerful access controls: Manage access to platforms and school data – putting IT in control of who can access. Managed guest sessions and kiosk mode enable shared device use cases, for example to showcase student work or in a library setting.
How can teachers help create a safe and positive digital learning experience?
We appreciate the role educators can play in helping students develop healthy, positive relationships with technology. To help educators guide their students through a range of important technology issues, we developed the Digital Citizenship and Safety Course. Google also partners with teachers to help students learn with kid-friendly content, setting boundaries, and building a healthy relationship with technology, like educating internet safety with Be Internet Awesome.
How does Google Workspace for Education respond to government requests for data?
It is Google’s policy that the customer, as the data owner, is primarily responsible for responding to law enforcement data requests and we direct the government to request such data directly from the customer. However, Google may receive direct requests from governments and courts around the world about how a person has used the company’s services. We carefully review each request to make sure it satisfies applicable laws. If a request asks for too much information, we try to narrow it, and in some cases we object to producing any information at all. Respect for the privacy and security of data you store with Google remains our priority as we comply with these legal requests. Detailed information about data requests and Google’s response to them is available in our Transparency Report.
Where can I find more detail on security, privacy, and compliance?
Google is committed to providing school communities with a safer digital learning environment. We’ve compiled even more resources to show how we protect users.
How does Google keep my child’s data secure?
All Google products are protected by one of the world’s most advanced security infrastructures, and we resist any unlawful attempt to access our customers’ data. In fact, your school’s data gets the same industry-leading, multi-layer safeguards that Google uses for our own operations.
In fact, your school’s data gets the same industry-leading, multilayer safeguards that Google uses for our own operations. Google encrypts data at rest by default and our data centers are optimized for security and performance. Google’s security engineers, including some of the world’s foremost experts, work around the clock to spot threats early and respond quickly.
How does Google collect and use my child’s information?
Google does not own user data.
Schools own and control all student work and retain full rights over its intellectual property. Personal information collected when using Google Workspace for Education or a Chromebook is never sold to third parties. Google uses this information to be helpful and to provide a more personalized learning experience for students. For example, we need to use a student’s email address, so they can send an email.
How does Google for Education protect my child’s privacy?
Google for Education is committed to compliance, providing robust privacy and security protections built into our services to meet rigorous global education requirements. Google for Education can be used in compliance with FERPA, COPPA, and GDPR, and we’re also audited by independent, third-party organizations.
How does Google provide a safer learning experience to children under 18?
Google products have built-in default settings to help protect students by only serving them age-appropriate content.
Your school’s admins can control these settings to restrict YouTube content and enable Google Search to screen out inappropriate results, preventing students from viewing unsafe websites.
What services are included in Google Workspace for Education?
Google Workspace for Education includes Google Classroom, Assignments, Forms, Google Meet, Gmail, Calendar, Docs, Slides, Sheets, Sites, Drive, Chat, Jamboard, Contacts, Groups, Vault, and Chrome Sync.
Will my child see ads in Google Workspace for Education?
No. There are no ads in Google Workspace for Education, and we do not collect or use student data to create advertising profiles.
For primary and secondary schools, this applies even outside of Google Workspace for Education tools. For example, your child will not see ads while searching on Google if they’re signed in to their Google Workspace for Education account.
How can I access my child’s Google Workspace for Education information?
Parents of Google Workspace for Education users in primary and secondary schools can access their child’s personal information or request that it be deleted through the school admin.
If a parent wishes to stop any further collection or use of their child’s information, they can request that the admin use the service controls available to them to limit the child’s access to features or services, or delete the child’s account entirely.
You and your child can also visit your Google Account while signed in to their Google Workspace for Education account to view and manage the personal information and settings of the account. Parents can also visit Family Link to learn more about parental online supervision settings.
How can I help my child be safer online?
Your child’s digital safety is of the utmost importance. Not only do we provide a safer learning environment for your child, we also create resources to help you navigate your child’s digital environment. Here are some resources to help you keep your child safer online:
- Guardian’s Guide to Privacy and Security provides an overview of how Google for Education tools combine to provide safer learning
- Google Safety Center gives expert educator tips on managing technology for your family
- Be Internet Awesome family guide provides resources to learn about online safety and citizenship at home
- Tech Toolkit for Families and Guardians: Security video explains how Google for Education protects security with built-in protections
- Digital Wellbeing Family Guide helps you start a conversation about tough tech questions and navigate the digital world as a family
- Family Link shows you how to set screen time, find quality content, and build healthy digital habits with the parental controls app
- Google Families is a resource hub for raising digitally responsible children
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Privacy & Security
See how Google protects student and teacher privacy and provides best-in-class security for your institution.