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Google Cloud wants to grow in Europe, so it’s bolstering its security features

Google is going all-in on its strategy of courting European businesses to its Cloud platform, with the company announcing some key new features and partnerships at an event in London. 

The Google Cloud Next UK event is the largest event dedicated to the company’s cloud computing service in Europe, and the firm knew that it was the most important event in the calendar to bolster its standing in the European market. That’s why it rolled out a whole slew of new security-focused features, partnering with third-parties to ensure that Google Cloud offered exactly what European customers are looking for. 

The first big new feature announced in London is External Key Manager, which allows companies to store and manage encryption keys outside of Google Cloud. This new service is an alternative to the company’s existing key management system, Cloud KMS, with businesses given the option of managing their encryption keys either on-premise or on one of five third-party services – Equinix, Fortanix, Ionic, Thales, and Unbound.

Google’s opening up of its key management system is seen as a big win for companies, as it gives them complete control over their security keys. It means that businesses can now encrypt their data in BigQuery and Compute Engine with the encryption keys stored externally outside of Google Cloud – even on-premise. This is especially important for those companies that want to switch to the public cloud, but have been prevented to do so due to regulations and compliance issues that have forced them to keep keys on-premise. 

To complement the launch of External Key Manager, the company also announced Key Access Justification. This feature is pretty self explanatory, but because the keys can now be managed off of Google’s own cloud, it’s 100% warranted. 

Key Access Justification essentially gives users a detailed reason as to why the customer has to provide their security key before decrypting certain bits of data. Google says that this should not only bolster security, as it’ll prompt IT managers to only give the keys with a good enough reason, but it will also give greater transparency on when data is being encrypted and decrypted. 

Both External Key Manager and Key Access Justification are launching soon, although External Key Manager will be in beta, while development of Key Access Justification is a little further behind, launching in alpha. 

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