Google updated its inactivity policy for personal Google accounts.
It’s important to note how this could affect business protocols when using a Google account.
Read on to understand the new policy and any measures you should take.
The Policy Update Explained
According to the policy, accounts that haven’t been used or signed in for two years will be deemed an “inactive account.”
Why does this matter?
With the updated Inactive Accounts policy, Google can delete the account and any/all of its contents. This may include:
- Google Photos
It’s important to note that the policy change pertains to personal Google accounts only. Any accounts that are used for businesses or organizations will not be affected.
While the policy takes effect immediately, Google will not delete inactive accounts until December 2023.
Google will start deleting created and never used accounts before moving to other inactive accounts.
Google also noted that it would send multiple notices via email to both the account email address and the recovery email.
Why The Change?
Online security threats continue to be a big issue. While Google invests in technology to protect from account exposure or phishing scams, nothing is foolproof.
Accounts that haven’t been active for extended periods are more vulnerable to being compromised or hijacked. Per Google, these types of funds are more likely to be compromised if:
- Old or re-used passwords have been used
- Two-factor authentication hasn’t been set up
- Fewer security checks by the account owner
With the policy change, Google will start deleting inactive accounts to reduce a user’s risk of account compromise.
Additionally, deleting inactive accounts reduces the amount of personal information Google retains on users, further securing individuals.
So, what is considered an active account?
Google considers an account active if any of the following actions are taken:
- Reading or sending an email through Gmail
- Using Google Drive
- Watching YouTube videos
- Downloading an app on Google Play Store
- Using Google Search (while logged into a Google account)
- Signing into a third-party app via “Sign in with Google.”
What Businesses Need To Know
Many marketers set up Google accounts to tie third-party tools to an account, such as Looker Studio or other reporting tools. These accounts may not be set up as business accounts, which is why this policy update is important.
Here are some helpful tips that marketers can take action on now to ensure a Google account stays active:
- Take inventory of any shared Google accounts used and document them (especially for agencies)
- Log into any Google account and set up two-factor authentication
- Document the dedicated recovery email set up for each account
- Ensure all account settings are up-to-date
This ensures that all necessary information is in place, especially if there is turnover at a business or agency. The accounts can be used over the long term and reduce the impact of setting up new accounts due to a lack of shared internal information.
A standard process and documentation for accounts are vital for workplace (and personal) security.
Reduce the risk of dealing with an inactive account, or worse – a compromised account – by taking the actions above to ensure any pertinent Google accounts stay active and secure.
Featured Image: Iana Alter/Shutterstock