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Security & Identity

Introducing Access Approval and new Access Transparency services: Gain more meaningful oversight of your cloud provider

December 17, 2018
Joseph Valente

Product Manager

Google Cloud is explicit in our commitment to our customers: you own your data, and we will never use it for any purpose other than those necessary to fulfill our contractual obligations to you. We also know that commitments alone may not be enough, and that in order to fully trust a cloud provider, many customers want additional transparency and control. Earlier this year, we released Access Transparency, a first to market product on Google Cloud Platform (GCP) that delivers transparency through near real-time logs when Google administrators interact with your data.

To increase the level of control we offer on GCP, we are pleased to announce Access Approval.  While Access Transparency provides insight into accesses by Google Support and Engineering, Access Approval allows you to explicitly approve access to your data or configurations on GCP before they happen.1 We believe we are the first cloud provider to offer controls of this nature that cover all of our employees. We are also announcing that four more GCP services now produce Access Transparency logs: BigQuery, BigTable, Cloud PubSub and Dataflow.

Approve access by your cloud provider before it happens
Having dedicated experts to manage infrastructure is a key benefit of operating in the cloud, but it requires trust that cloud providers are living up to their commitments around data access. Access Approval lets you approve or dismiss requests for access by Google employees working to support your service. This gives you the advantages of cloud infrastructure management while enjoying some of the access control you had on prem.

Google has multiple layers of support to help you resolve issues with your service—from frontline support staff who help solve minor issues to Software Engineers and Site Reliability Engineers who actually built the platform and can help to resolve the most complex issues. Naturally, different levels of support require different privileges, which makes implementing comprehensive controls challenging. Access Approval controls govern access by all of our employees who might support your service, not just select groups.

Of course, these accesses still generate Access Transparency logs and continue to be subject to Google’s existing internal security controls. Together, these controls allow requests to be cross-referenced back to records like tickets, showing an end-to-end link from support ticket, access request, approval, to eventual access.

Access Approval: available to use today
Access Approval is available today in Alpha for Google Compute Engine, Google App Engine, Persistent Disk, Google Cloud Storage, Identity & Access Management, Key Management Service, BigQuery, Cloud Pub/Sub, BigTable, and Dataflow, for customers with Platinum or Enterprise support. Sign up here to request access to the program. Please note that spots in the Alpha program are limited, and we appreciate your patience as we continue to add capacity.

Customers already using Access Transparency can also request Access Transparency logs for the four additional services entering Beta: BigQuery, Cloud Pub/Sub, BigTable, and Dataflow. To request access, contact your sales or support team. To learn more about using Access Transparency, check out the documentation.

 1. Unless those accesses are required by law or necessary to resolve a current outage or security incident.

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