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Gmail Client-Side Encryption Arrives in Beta Form for Businesses

The beta is currently available only for some Google Workspace customers.

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Angela Lang/CNET

Google has rolled out a beta of client-side encryption in Gmail for businesses and organizations, the company said in a recent blog post. CSE lets organizations use their own encryption key and encrypt data before it's sent to Google's servers.

The beta is available only for Google Workspace Enterprise Plus, Education Plus and Education Standard customers. Google Workspace, which used to be called G Suite, is made up of apps and services designed for companies and orgs.

Once encryption is enabled, it protects data in an email's body, attachments and inline images and leaves Google unable to decrypt that data. The email header, timestamps and recipient list won't be encrypted. Encrypted email is especially handy for companies that want communications to be secure and safe from outside eyes.

"Client-side encryption helps strengthen the confidentiality of your data while helping to address a broad range of data sovereignty and compliance needs," Google said in its Friday blog post. Asked for further comment, the company pointed to a 2021 blog post that discusses the importance of client-side encryption, especially for organizations that store sensitive data or intellectual property.

The Google Support Center page is accepting beta applications until Jan. 20, 2023. The encryption beta isn't available for Google Workspace Essentials, Business Starter, Business Standard, Business Plus, Enterprise Essentials, Education Fundamentals, Frontline, Nonprofits, legacy G Suite Basic and Business customers, or those with personal Google accounts. This feature is currently being tested on Gmail for web, not mobile.

Last year, Google introduced encryption to Google Docs, Sheets and Slides for businesses.