Ending Soon! Save 33% on All Access

Alphabet's Eric Schmidt: Gmail Is 'Far More Secure' Than Government Systems Schmidt spoke this week at a private cybersecurity thought leadership forum in New York City.

By Carly Okyle

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

As high-profile hacks continue to make the news, businesses must figure out a way to keep their data secure. At a private cybersecurity event this week in New York City, industry leaders agreed that the question was not if a company would be hacked, but when.

Eric Schmidt, executive Chairman of Alphabet and former CEO of Google, delivered the keynote speech at the CIO Thought Leadership Forum on Cybersecurity on Monday. In his talk, he brought up a vital question he always poses to businesses. "I always ask, "How do you know your data's secure?' There's never a good answer, which is why I like asking it," he said. "It gets the fear response going."

Schmidt said encryption is critical to keeping businesses safe. Google encrypts information while it's in transit and while it's at rest with 2048-bit keys -- for the non-techies, the basic general principle is the bigger the bit, the better the encryption. The company moved to 2048-bit keys in 2013 amid public outrage over the National Surveillance Agency's surveillance practices. "I can tell you today if you have something that needs to be secure, your best place to keep it is in Gmail," he said. "It's attacked all day and [hackers] don't get in. It's certainly far more secure than anything you're going to find in the U.S. government."

Related: 7 Cybersecurity Layers Every Entrepreneur Needs to Understand

Beyond plugging his company's products, Schmidt also talked about what a difference it makes to adhere to the industry's best practices. He points out, for example, that working on old servers and running Windows 95 will leave you vulnerable in comparison to newer, updated alternatives. Two-step authentication is also important. Schmidt told the group, "If you're not using it, you're at serious risk."

Schmidt knows that cybersecurity threats will become increasingly difficult as machine learning gets better and the time each attack takes to launch gets shorter. That's why Monday's forum, and others to come, will be vital. "This is crucial," he said.

On Tuesday, the Senate passed the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act (CISA), a controversial bill that would encourage companies to voluntarily share information related to hackers with one another and the government. While supporters say it's a positive step toward addressing and preventing cyber attacks, critics argue it fails to prevent cyber attacks from happening and that any customer information collected could be used for surveillance.

The bill will be merged with two information-sharing bills that were passed earlier this year by the House of Representatives, then sent to President Obama to be signed into law.

Related: Google Is Creeping Back Into China With an Investment in AI

Carly Okyle

Assistant Editor, Contributed Content

Carly Okyle is an assistant editor for contributed content at Entrepreneur.com.

Want to be an Entrepreneur Leadership Network contributor? Apply now to join.


I Wish I Knew This About Google Before Trying My Growth Strategy

Smart digital marketers love to sharpen their pencils while optimizing ad campaigns. But, as you will learn in this article, there is such a thing as over-sharpening your pencil to the point it breaks when you press on it, putting the entire campaign into a death spiral.

Science & Technology

5 Common AI Buzzwords All PR Pros Need to Know

With so many AI buzzwords flying around, it can be difficult for communicators to understand what's what in the field of artificial intelligence. Here's a glossary of the most common AI buzzwords you should know to have a better grasp of this groundbreaking technology.

Business Solutions

Empower Your Team with Visual Studio Pro for $40 This Memorial Day

Developers can code faster and smarter with this development environment solution.

Thought Leaders

Hackers Are Now Using AI to Steal Your Identity — Here's How to Navigate the Current Digital Identity Landscape

Discover the latest in digital identity security as hackers leverage AI and new tactics.

Starting a Business

How to Find the Right Programmers: A Brief Guideline for Startup Founders

For startup founders under a plethora of challenges like timing, investors and changing market demand, it is extremely hard to hire programmers who can deliver.

Health & Wellness

Become Unrecognizable By the End of Summer With These 6 Habits

Summer is often a time of rest, relaxation and socializing. But, summer can also be a time for improving and living our best lives. Follow these six healthy habits and you're bound to make this summer one you'll never forget.