Privacy and Security FAQ
Providing your school community with a safe digital learning environment is essential to Google for Education, so you can teach and learn knowing your school community’s data is private and secure.
Private and secure
We build and operate our own servers and services. We also make it easy for admins to manage their digital security, with centralized controls, default protections, and increased visibility across their entire domain.
Our services support your organization’s compliance with demanding privacy and security requirements. We also regularly undergo independent verification—achieving certifications, attestations, and audit reports to help demonstrate compliance.
Google is committed to transparency about the collection of your data – our Google Workspace for Education Privacy Notice explains what data we collect, why we collect it, and how you can manage it.
Trustworthy content and information
Age-based content, safer browsing settings, training and curriculum resources plus integrated apps – found easily through the Google for Education App Hub – help provide a safer, high-quality digital educational experience.
Find answers to common questions about how Google protects privacy and keeps data safe.
Learn about Google for Education’s commitments to privacy and security.
How does Google keep data secure?
With Google, school data is protected by one of the world's most advanced, secure and reliable cloud infrastructures. Our cloud-based systems mean schools always have the newest available software, the latest security updates, up-to-the-second backups of all data, and Google-grade 24/7 cyber protection. This built-in security automatically detects and prevents online threats, so you can be confident your private information is safe.
We are also committed to treating your data responsibly and protecting your privacy with strict protocols and innovative privacy technologies. 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 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 Cloud Data Processing Addendum and Google Workspace for Education Agreement and provide transparency around data processing 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.
Explore commonly asked questions about privacy and security within Google Workspace for Education.
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 that core learning environments are free of ads, and protected against spam and cyberthreats. Google Workspace is one of the world’s most secure cloud-based productivity suites.
We provide a safer age-based experience for students by offering advanced admin controls and policies so schools can effectively manage content and applications accessed with a Google Workspace for Education account. Our tools enable admins to limit service and content access for younger users and provide SafeSearch and SafeSites by default. For all users, Gmail blocks more than 99.9% of spam, phishing attempts, and malware powered by Google’s AI.
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, Contacts, Groups, Vault, and Chrome Sync. These services are provided to education customers under its Google Workspace for Education Agreement and Cloud Data Processing Addendum.
Google Workspace for Education Core Services support rigorous privacy standards, contain no advertising and do not use information collected 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.
Do Google Workspace for Education products and services support education compliance?
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 (Germany)
- MTCS (Singapore)
- PCI DSS
- FISC (Japan)
- 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) [EU]
- US Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) [US]
- Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) [US]
- South Africa’s Protection of Personal Information Act (POPI) [SA]
- EU Model Contract Clauses [EU]
- HIPAA [US]
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, Additional Services, and third party services consistent with COPPA.
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 Cloud Data Processing Addendum 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. 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 instruct 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 manage students’ Workspace accounts, including suspending access, retaining data according to government regulations, and deleting the account when appropriate. 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) or sell to third parties to target ads.
Does Google own school or student customer 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”).
Does Google sell school or student data to third parties?
No. We never sell school or student data. At Google, we are committed to protecting your data. That’s why it’s our strict policy to never sell personal information to anyone, including for ads purposes.
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. Advanced security protections are in place to help prevent unauthorized parties from accessing your dataIn 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. Even more so, admins can set up additional data controls via Google Admin console.
How do Google services collect and use information with Google Workspace for Education accounts?
The Google Workspace for Education Privacy Notice details what information Google services collect when used with Google Workspace for Education accounts. For example, collecting information like a user’s email address enables us to send an email to that user to grant access to Classroom.
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.
Providing secure digital learning environments is foundational to Google for Education to help ensure that the following features are offered within all editions of Google Workspace of Education.
- Centralize control with Admin console, your unified tool for privacy, security, data, and device management.
- 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
- Utilize Chromebook power buttons as a security key with your Google Login.
- Implement secure passwordless authentication with passkeys.
- Data loss protection (DLP): Helps prevent the loss or theft of data in Gmail and Drive by allowing you to set your own automated rules and policies
- ChromeOS Data controls: Set rules to protect against data leakage based on the data source, destination, and user.
- Vault: Support your unique data retention and eDiscovery requirements by retaining, searching, and exporting data
- Block more than 99.9% of spam, phishing attempts, and malware in Gmail
- Automatic data encryption
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
- Advanced controls: Endpoint management to centrally deploy and manage devices, define geographic data regions to limit or distribute data where required for compliance best practices, and context aware access and application licensing and management controls
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 help to ensure a safer and protected online experience.
Learn more about Additional Services.
Can students access other Google services with their Google Workspace for Education account?
School admins are required to obtain parental consent for the use of Additional Google Services for users under the age of 18. For users designated as under 18 with access to Additional Google Services, Google will provide a more age-appropriate experience by restricting access to certain content, features, or services. Additional 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 parental consent, Additional Services can be used by Google Workspace for Education users. Learn how to do so in this tutorial video.
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.
How can Additional Services data be deleted?
Google enables customers and end users to delete user data. Certain Google services can also be deleted from accounts. Google Workspace for Education, accounts can also be deleted at any time by the school administrator. Please see this support article for seeing, controlling, and deleting the info in a Google Account:
Discover answers to commonly asked Chromebook security questions.
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 support compliance with FERPA and COPPA?
Yes. Google Workspace for Education accounts, including Workspace Core Services, and Chrome services are all FERPA compliant. With Google Workspace for Education Access Controls and Chrome Management policies inside of Google Admin console, schools can control students on Chromebooks' access to third-party websites, applications, and services that also meet their regulatory requirements.
Can Chromebooks support compliance with European privacy law (GDPR)?
Yes. Chromebooks can be used in compliance with GDPR. Our Data Processing Amendment is designed to meet the adequacy and security requirements of the GDPR.
Are Chromebooks secure for my school community?
Yes. There have been zero successful ransomware attacks on Chromebooks as of 2023. And that’s because security is built in at every step – from our data centers, to computer hardware, mobile devices, and user authentication.
Chromebooks are designed with multiple layers of security to keep them safe from viruses and malware without any additional security software. 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.
- Sandboxing: Helps prevent the spread of viruses by making sure each webpage and application runs in its own walled environment.
- 256-bit data encryption: All devices can leverage 256-bit data encryption, helping protect Chromebooks and maintain resistance to attacks.
- Chrome Sync: Allows students to sign in to any Chromebook or Chrome browser to access all their apps, settings, and preferences.
- Data security controls: Helps IT admins monitor, secure, and manage data on their network.
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. Users can turn on sending usage statistics and crash reporting on Chromebooks to Google to help improve our services.
Chrome sync enables Google Account holders to sign in to any Chromebook or Chrome browser and access 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. Chrome sync data in Google Workspace for Education accounts is only used to provide sync services for users, such as syncing browsing history, bookmarks, passwords and other settings, securely, across devices. If they choose to, administrators can disable Chrome sync entirely, and users can choose what information to sync.
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.
Help your educational community learn and apply digital safety best practices.
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.
Discover commonly asked questions about how Google helps protect your child’s privacy and security.
How does Google keep my child’s data secure?
With Google, data is protected by one of the world's most secure and reliable cloud infrastructures. Our cloud-based systems mean schools have the newest software, the latest security updates, up-to-the-second backups of all data, and Google-grade 24/7 cyber protection. This built-in security automatically detects and prevents online threats, so you can be confident your private information is safe.
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 Customer Data.
Schools own and control all student work and retain full rights over its intellectual property in Customer Data. Personal information collected when students use Google Workspace for Education or a Chromebook is never sold to third parties. Google uses this information to provide our services to school users. For example, collecting information like a user’s email address enables us to send an email to that user to grant access to Google Classroom.
How does Google for Education protect my child’s privacy?
Google Workspace for Education is committed to compliance, providing robust privacy and security protections built into our services to meet rigorous global education requirements. Google Workspace for Education can be used in compliance with FERPA, COPPA, and GDPR, and we’re also audited by independent, third-party organizations.
Under the Cloud Data Processing Addendum, Google acts as a processor of the Customer Personal Data that is submitted, stored, sent, or received by your child’s school via Google Workspace for Education services, and we process such data on the school’s behalf and under their instructions.
What core services are included in Google Workspace for Education?
Google Workspace for Education core services include Google Classroom, Assignments, Forms, Google Meet, Gmail, Calendar, Docs, Slides, Sheets, Sites, Drive, Chat, Contacts, Groups, Vault, and Chrome sync. You can find them all listed here. These services are available for users by default, and admins always have the option to turn them off.
You talk about core services of Google Workspace for Education. What are the additional services, and what is the difference?
With Google Workspace for Education, school administrators can also enable access to additional services, such as Google Search, Maps, and YouTube, for educational purposes. Additional Services are turned off by default for primary and secondary institutions (K-12), and admins are required to get parental consent before enabling an Additional Service for end users under age 18.
How do Google Workspace for Education and Chromebooks provide a safer learning experience to children under 18?
Google Workspace for Education and Chromebooks have built-in defaults for all users in primary & secondary (K-12) institutions, providing them with an experience more appropriate for users under the age of 18.
With Google Workspace for Education, admins also have a setting available to designate users under the age of 18 in higher education institutions in order to provide the same age-appropriate experience for those users.
Will my child see ads in Google Workspace for Education?
How can I access my child’s Google Workspace for Education information?
Parents and guardians of Google Workspace for Education students can access their child’s personal information (ie. “Customer Data”) or request that it be deleted through the school admin.
If a parent wishes to stop further collection or use of their child’s data in certain services on a school account, they can request that the school administrator 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 their Google Account while signed in to Google Workspace for Education to view and manage the personal information and settings of the account.
Parents can also visit Family Link via the app or online, to add parental online supervision settings like setting screen limits, downtimes, and age-appropriate content filters whenever a child is signed in to a Chromebook with their Family Link account. A school account with Family Link lets the child use school apps like Google Classroom while the same parental controls apply.
Where can I learn more about the tools my child is using in school?
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 learning environment.
- Tech Toolkit for Families and Guardians: Security video explains how Google Workspace for Education protects security with built-in protections
- Guardian’s Guide to Privacy and Security provides an overview of how Google Workspace for Education tools combine to provide safer learning
- Guardians Guide to Google Workspace for Education explains the collaborative capabilities and security protections in these tools
- Guardian’s Guide to Classroom provides an overview of Google Classroom, how this tool is used to help guide your child, and security and privacy protections
What is the difference between my child’s school account and personal account?
Students may have a school-issued Google account that they use for school and a personal account, but they are separate.
School-issued Google accounts (created by schools for students & staff)
- School administrators can enable and disable individual services, including other Google services that aren't part of Workspace (YouTube, Search, Play)
- No advertising in Google Workspace for Education core services
Personal Google accounts (created by users and/or parents)
- Advertising in Workspace services and users can optionally enable personalized advertising
- No targeted advertising for users under the age of 18
- No advertising in YouTube Kids
Can my child use their school account at home?
With Family Link, parents and guardians can manage their child’s personal account for users under the age of 13. Parents can add a school account to their child’s personal Chromebook at home, and the same parental controls will apply with Family Link.
Screen time limits, downtimes, and other parental controls apply whenever a child is signed in to a Chromebook with their Family Link account. A school account with Family Link lets the child use school apps like Google Classroom while the same parental controls apply.
When a school account is added as a secondary account for a Family Link user, a child can:
- Switch between accounts to check email.
- Switch between accounts while on some Chrome Web Store extensions and Android apps, like Google Classroom, to do schoolwork under parent supervision.
- Sign in to websites using a school account.
How can I help my child be safer online outside of school?
Here are some resources to help keep your child safer online - while at home and beyond:
- Family Link shows you how to set screen time, find quality content, and build healthy digital habits with the parental controls
- 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
- Google Families is a resource hub for raising digitally responsible children
- Digital Wellbeing Family Guide helps you start a conversation about tough tech questions and navigate the digital world as a family
Get started with Google for Education
We’re here to help you reach your goals with Google for Education. Contact us, and we’ll assist you in choosing the right technology for your school.
Privacy & Security
See how Google protects student and teacher privacy and provides best-in-class security for your institution.