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Google’s “Less Secure Apps” Update and How It May Affect Your Business

A new Google security update in 2022 could affect the way your business operates, especially if you are reliant on printers and some of their communication functions such as the “scan to email” function. 

Google announced that to keep accounts secure, they will discontinue the use of third-party apps or devices deemed as “less secure apps.” The change took effect on May 30th, 2022.  

This update will not affect Google Workspace or Google Cloud Identity customers yet. However, they should keep an eye out for when Google releases a reinforcement date for them. Learn what the update entails and how it can affect your business in this blog post. 

Which Apps Does Google Consider “Less Secure Apps”? 

Less secure apps (LSAs) are apps or devices that you can log into using only your Google account credentials and that do not meet current Google security standards for third-party apps. 

For example, some native email applications allow you to log in with your Google account. Your mobile phone might also ask you to sign in to the Calendar or Contacts apps with your Google credentials. Printers and other devices let you access certain features by using those credentials as well. 

Why the Change? 

These apps are less secure because they do not require MFA (Multi-Factor Authentication) and because Google cannot check if users’ credentials are being stored safely by these third-party apps.  

Apps without MFA are easier to hack and are often used to enter a device or network and steal sensitive information.  

99.9 percent of hacked Microsoft enterprise accounts didn’t use MFA.

 Therefore, this Google security update eliminates the use of apps not compliant with Google’s security standards and regulations.  

Related Video: What Is the Definition of Multi-Factor Authentication? | Buzzwords 

How Does This Affect Your Business? 

Scan-to-Email Feature for Printers 

One feature affected by this update is the “scan to email” feature in many printers and copiers. Many businesses set up their printers with Gmail access in order to send and store scanned documents.  

This “scan to email” function allowed businesses to quickly send documents via printer, and to digitize paper documents by scanning them and uploading them to the cloud. Some of the manufacturers of printers with this feature include HP, Konica, Kyocera, and Canon. 

However, with this new Google security update, machines connected to a Google account using only Google credentials will no longer have access to this function. Although cumbersome, this feature will enhance your printers’ security. 

56% of targeted printers were hacked in an experiment. 

Related Blog: Printer Security: Why It Matters to SMBs 

Contacts and Calendar Apps From Older iOS and OSX Versions 

If your business is reliant on devices with older operating systems, it’s time to update your devices. Communication through these apps will be discontinued with this new update from Google. 

In addition, you are putting your company’s cybersecurity at risk. Cybercriminals love when users don’t update devices. Make sure your contacts and calendar apps use MFA or are not connected only through your Google account. 

What You Can Do About It 

In order to continue using the “scan to email” feature in your printer, you will need to set an App Password for all accounts that use Google account credentials. 

To do this, sign into your Google account and go to the Security tab. From there, you will see a “Signing in to Google” feature. This feature has a two-step verification and an App Password option. 

An instructions graphic showing people how to set up App Passwords in Google How to Set Up App Passwords in Google Sign into your Google Account. Go to the Security tab on the left. Scroll to the “Signing in to Google” section. Set up 2-Step Verification (skip this step if it’s already turned on). Turn on the “App passwords” option.

Be aware that App Password won’t be available unless you first set-up two-step authentication. Going through this security process since the change on May 30th, 2022 allows you to use your printer’s “scan to email” function like you used to. You can still use your Google account to access the printer function, but now you are complying with this Google security update. 

Bottom Line 

In a security update beginning May 2022, Google stopped supporting the use of third-party apps that use only Google credentials to log in.  This may affect some native apps in your devices and will have an effect on printers’ “scan to email” feature.  

Fortunately, this enhances the security of your accounts and devices. The downside is that you will have to set up MFA on your third-party accounts or turn on the App Passwords feature for your Google Account. 

Making security changes as soon as you can, setting up multifactor authentication, and ensuring that all devices are connected following current security standards will allow you to continue doing business uninterrupted. 

If you’d like to continue learning about the best cybersecurity practices for your business and how you can implement a thorough, layered strategy to stay secure, download our eBook, What Makes a Good Cybersecurity Defense for a Modern SMB?