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Google's DLP for Gmail Adds Optical Character Recognition

Google on Tuesday made a series of improvements to Data Loss Prevention (DLP) for Gmail, which will bring improved data protection and control over detection thresholds.

DLP for Gmail was launched in December 2015 to help Google Apps for Work customers keep their sensitive information secure. It was designed to automatically check all outgoing emails based on a set of predefined content detectors set by the Apps admins, and to take or prompt for appropriate actions when needed.

The company announced a new set of features that extend the capabilities available to admins, including Optical character recognition (OCR) for improved attachment scanning, a new set of predefined content detectors, and increased control over content detection thresholds.

The new OCR feature in DLP for Gmail should prove highly useful in situations when sensitive information resides not just in text documents, but also in scanned copies and images. With the new enhancement, admins can set DLP policies to analyze common image types and extract text for policy evaluation.

Google Apps Unlimited admins can enable the new OCR feature from the Admin console at the organizational-unit (OU) level for both the Content compliance and Objectionable content rules, Google notes.

Starting today, DLP for Gmail also features new detectors that cover personally identifiable information (PII) in additional countries, while also providing better coverage for HIPAA data as well. 

To provide customers with improved control over DLP policies to minimize false positives, Google added two new detection parameters to its offering, namely count and confidence. The former is meant to allow customers set up different DLP policies based on whether a message contains individual or bulk PII, while the latter lets them tighten or loosen detection criteria for the most commonly used detectors, depending on their needs.

According to Google, the new features are launching to both Rapid release and Scheduled release and are expected to see full rollout in roughly three days. As before, Gmail DLP is available for Google Apps for Work Unlimited customers only.

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