Government orders its employees not to use Google Drive, Dropbox, VPN

The central government has ordered its employees not to use third party, non-governmental cloud platforms including Google Drive and Dropbox, and virtual private network (VPN) services including NordVPN and ExpressVPN. Gadgets 360 has learned that the National Informatics Center (NIC) order has been sent to all ministries and departments and all government employees are required to follow the instructions. The new move comes weeks after the government directed VPN service providers and data center companies to store their users’ data for five years.

The 10-page document accessed by Gadgets 360 shows that employees will not upload-save any internal, restricted, confidential government data or files to any non-government cloud service. This document named ‘Cyber ​​Security Guidelines for Government Employees’ specifically points towards Google Drive, Dropbox etc.

Apart from banning the use of these popular cloud services by government employees, the government has directed that employees should not use any unknown third party services and VPNs including NordVPN, ExpressVPN, Tor and Proxies. Employees have also been instructed to avoid using “unauthorized remote tools” such as TeamViewer, AnyDesk and Ammyy Admin.

Government servants have been told not to use external email services for official communication and not to use unauthorized third party video conferencing tools in sensitive internal meetings.

Employees have also been ordered not to convert or compress any document
Do not use any external website or cloud-based services. Employees have been told not to use any external mobile app-based service, including CamScanner, for scanning government documents. Significantly, the government had banned CamScanner in the year 2020 itself as part of its initial step to ban China-based apps. However, it was seen that some government officials were still using the app to scan physical copies of their official documents.

Employees have been instructed to set strong passwords on phones and update passwords every 45 days, as well as update the operating system and BIOS firmware with the latest updates and security patches. Along with government employees, this decision will also have to be followed by contract, outsourced and temporary employees.

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