Google Analytics – Is that really you?

by Helen M. Overland July 21st, 2011 

Google Analytics has launched a security system that is set to make life just a little more difficult for analytics specialists and consultants to help companies out.

We at SEP frequently helps businesses and organizations understand their analytics, and develop business information and strategies based on their Google Analytics data. Frequently, there isn't an analytics specialist on staff, or their expertise is focused on one or more of the other analytics platforms. Not a problem – that's when we get called in to figure out what the data is saying, and what needs to be done to address whatever the issue is. When an organization gets to this point, the issues are usually backlogged and the work is a high priority.

My team took on a client this week, to help answer some key business questions that will help guide the online strategy of the organization going forward. There are some serious questions need answered, and they need answered fairly quickly. We got the Google Analytics information from the client, booked in the time to complete the work, and set a deliverable date.

But this message from Google Analytics put a speed bump in the analysis:

Hey {email}, is that really you?
It looks like youre signing in to your account from a new location. Just so we know this is you " and not someone trying to hijack your account " please complete this quick verification. Learn more about this additional security measure.

Google Analytics - Is that really you?

Google explains this message on it's Unusual sign-in location detected help page as being designed to help secure your account & data:

The additional step at sign in is designed to prevent an unauthorized person who does not know you from accessing your account, even if they've obtained your username and password. While this won't necessarily stop people who know you from accessing your account (for that, try 2-step verification), it's an important measure to keep hijackers who have a long list of passwords from doing malicious things with your account, such as creating spam or accessing and deleting valuable data

Google Analytics can already be a difficult beast to tame for many organizations, especially when the person using GA leaves the company. It's not uncommon for a business to lose literally years of information simply because the Google Analytics login information is incorrect, and the email address is disabled after the person leaves. I've seen it happen, more than a few times.

This new system is going to make these situations even more difficult – if a company's IP address changes and they don't have access to the email address, for example, this security system could stand between a company and their data.

Action Item:

If you are going to be consulting for a company in their Google Analytics account, you should proactively take one of these two steps before beginning the work:

1. Instead of using the client's email address to log into the account, get the client to set up your GA login email with access to their GA data. This should bypass this security measure.

2. Get the answer to one or two (to be safe) of the security questions before beginning the work. This will save your project time!

Everyone appreciates the fact that security is a key concern, especially where business data is involved – you want to keep that private. I believe this system is a good one, and is useful. Just be aware of this potential speed bump when you take on a new client!

Helen Overland

Vice President at Search Engine People, helping clients with Conversion Optimization, Analytics, and On-Page SEO. Online Marketer since June 2000, Internet geek since 1994. Follow me on twitter at @semlady to see what I'm reading now.

http://www.searchenginepeople.com/

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