Wednesday, 12 Jun 2024
Technology

How to Password Protect a Google Doc

Live document collaboration has revolutionized the way we work, but it also raises concerns about the security of sensitive information. If you rely on Google Docs to store and share important documents, you need to be aware of its limitations when it comes to protecting your data.

Why Google Docs Password Protection is Useless & Secure Alternatives

Google Docs offers a password protection feature, but it is far from ideal. Adding an extra password might seem like a good solution, but it doesn’t provide comprehensive security. If a hacker gains access to a user’s Google account, they can still access the documents with the additional password.

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Is Password Protection the Solution?

To understand why password protection falls short, let’s first learn how to password protect a Google Doc:

  1. Download your Google document or Google Sheet by clicking “File > Download > Microsoft Word/Excel”.
  2. With the document open in Word/Excel, go to “File” in your ribbon, then click “Info”.
  3. Click on the “Protect Document” button and choose “Encrypt with Password” from the list.
  4. Enter a strong, unique password and click “OK”.
  5. Confirm the password by entering it again and click “OK”.
  6. Save the document and re-upload it to Google Docs.

However, several issues make password protection inefficient for most businesses. Downloading and re-uploading every file is time-consuming. Distributing passwords securely to recipients and ensuring they store them securely is another challenge. Moreover, passwords can be shared, making intentional leaks or hacking still possible.

Simply put, Google Docs’ password protection provides partial protection in some scenarios, but it is far from effective as a catch-all document security solution.

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How to Protect Google Docs Without Passwords

To enhance the security of your Google Docs, consider using a purpose-built document Digital Rights Management (DRM) solution. One such solution is Locklizard Safeguard PDF DRM. It offers secure file encryption, transparent licensing, and a secure viewer application.

With Locklizard, you can safeguard your documents without the need for passwords. Here’s how it works:

  1. Encrypt a PDF on your local PC and add any desired DRM controls, such as anti-screenshotting, copying restrictions, watermarks, and more.
  2. Safeguard saves the protected PDF to your disk as a .PDC file and creates a record of the document on the Admin System.
  3. Create a user account for each person who needs access to the document.
  4. Users receive an email with a license file and a link to download the Safeguard secure viewer.
  5. After installing the viewer, users activate the license file on their device. Once activated, users can’t register the license file elsewhere.
  6. Choose which documents users can access via the Admin System.
  7. Share the DRM-protected PDF with users through any method (Google Drive, Slack, Email, etc.).

Secure Document Storage

Locklizard’s DRM solution ensures that unauthorized parties can’t view, print, edit, copy, or screenshot your documents. Unlike Google Docs’ password protection, Locklizard effectively locks usage to authorized devices with strong encryption and licensing controls.

How to Protect Google Docs with Locklizard

Protecting your Google Docs with Locklizard is a straightforward process:

  1. Right-click your PDF in Windows File Explorer and select “Make Secure PDF”.
  2. Select the desired restrictions and settings, including access expiration dates, from the “Expiry & Validity” tab.
  3. Locklizard will output your encrypted PDF file, which can only be opened by authorized users.
  4. Add new users or select existing ones in the Safeguard Admin System to give them access to the protected PDF files.
  5. Upload the protected PDF documents to Google Drive or distribute them through any other method.
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PDF Encryption

Locklizard’s DRM solution ensures unauthorized users cannot view, share, copy, edit, or print your protected PDF files.

The Best Choice for Google Docs Protection

Google Docs’ built-in protection systems may not provide the desired level of security. Locklizard offers a reliable alternative for safeguarding your sensitive documents. With Locklizard’s DRM solution, you can apply strong safeguards to your documents after the collaboration process, without relying on passwords.

By taking advantage of Locklizard’s features, you can upload your protected PDF files back to Google Docs or any other platform, knowing that unauthorized users won’t gain access to the contents.

Learn more about Locklizard’s PDF DRM software and start protecting your PDF files from unauthorized viewing, sharing, copying, editing, and printing with a free 15-day trial.

Frequently Asked Questions

Protect Confidential Documents

Can You Lock a Document in Google Docs Against Copying, Editing, and Sharing?

Theoretically, you can lock a document in Google Docs to limit users from sharing, downloading, printing, or copying it. However, this copy protection is trivial to remove, rendering it useless in practice.

Do Google Docs Watermarks Stop Unauthorized Sharing?

No, Google Docs watermarks can be easily removed using the browser’s developer console. Users can share the document without the watermark by copying, pasting, or printing it.

Is Adobe PDF Password Protection a Good Way to Protect Google Docs?

No, Adobe PDF password protection suffers from similar flaws as Microsoft Word’s password protection. For effective protection of sensitive information in PDFs, you need a PDF DRM system that doesn’t rely on passwords.

Can You Protect Individual Files on Google Docs?

While Google Docs doesn’t offer a built-in tool to protect individual files, you have two options: password protect Google Docs using Microsoft Word or an add-on, or use a PDF DRM solution. The latter is a better choice, as it prevents password sharing and unauthorized access.

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Do I Need to Protect My GDoc if My Employees’ Google Accounts Have Two-Factor Authentication?

Yes, two-factor authentication only addresses external hacking attempts. It doesn’t prevent intentional leaks, as authorized users can share their 2FA/confirmation codes with unauthorized individuals.

Can You Give Someone a Password to Access a Google Doc?

Yes, sharing a Google account password is a valid method of leaking documents to outside parties. Google doesn’t restrict multiple people from logging into the same account simultaneously, allowing unauthorized access.

Can Google Docs Extensions Protect My Documents?

Google Docs extensions can convert a document to PDF and produce an encrypted document using a password. However, this method is not effective as the password can be shared or brute-forced.

How Can I Password Protect a Google Sheet?

Password protecting a Google Sheet follows the same process as protecting a Google Doc. However, Google Sheets’ security features are easily bypassed, making password protection ineffective. Save your Google Sheet as a PDF and consider using Locklizard for comprehensive protection.

What Operating Systems Does Locklizard Support?

Locklizard offers a document protection app for Windows and a secure viewer app for Windows, Mac, iOS, and Android. The web viewer supports any operating system.

Conclusion

When it comes to securing your sensitive information on Google Docs, password protection alone is not enough. Consider using Locklizard’s DRM solution to protect your documents effectively, without the need for cumbersome passwords and with comprehensive control over access, copying, printing, and more. Safeguard your valuable data with Locklizard and enjoy peace of mind knowing that your documents are secure.