When we think about cryptographic keys, we tend to think about closely guarded secrets. Keys are the only thing that keeps the attacker away from your encrypted data. Some keys are usually treated with the appropriate level of respect. Security professionals in the payments industry, or those that have deployed a PKI, know all too well about the importance... 

Richard Moulds

Practically Speaking About Cloud Computing: Google Apps Part II

Advantages of Google Apps:

In September 2010, Google announced that over 30 million people are using Google Apps.

The top ten advantages as listed by Google are:

  • 1. Cloud computing is in Google’s DNA.
  • 2. Faster access to innovation drives higher productivity.
  • 3. Users adopt new functionality with less disruption.
  • 4. Employees can be productive from anywhere.
  • 5. Google’s cloud enables faster collaboration.
  • 6. Google’s immense security investments help protect customers.
  • 7. Less data is stored on vulnerable devices.
  • 8. Customers get higher reliability and uptime.
  • 9. Google Apps offers extensive flexibility and control.
  • 10. Customers spend less through Google’s economies of scale.

Security First: SAS 70 Certified and Two Step Verification: Already long time back, we know that Google Apps is certified with SAS 70 Type II Audit.

This assures the users on:

  • Logical security: Controls provide reasonable assurance that logical access to Google Apps production systems and data is restricted to authorized individuals
  • Privacy: Controls provide reasonable assurance that Google has implemented policies and procedures addressing the privacy of customer data related to Google Apps
  • Data center physical security: Controls provide reasonable assurance that data centers that house Google Apps data and corporate offices are protected
  • Incident management and availability: Controls provide reasonable assurance that Google Apps systems are redundant and incidents are properly reported, responded to, and recorded
  • Change management: Controls provide reasonable assurance that development of and changes to Google Apps undergo testing and independent code review prior to release into production
  • Organization and administration: Controls provide reasonable assurance that management provides the infrastructure and mechanisms to track and communicate initiatives within the company that impact Google Apps

Last month, Google introduced two step verification methods for apps users. We know that security is one of the prime concern in cloud computing. When we try making data accessible from anywhere through many devices, securing the information with proven access control systems becomes a critical one. It is felt that the traditional access methods like authenticating through a user name and password is not enough in all circumstances. Google Apps has introduced a more secure sign in capability: Two Step Verification. When this is enabled by administrator of the Google Apps account, it requires two means of identification to sign in. For example it may be something you know like password coupled with your mobile phone. After entering your password, a verification code is sent to your mobile phone via SMS, voice calls, or generated on an application you can install on your Android, BlackBerry or iPhone device. This makes it much more likely that you’re the only one accessing your data: even if someone has stolen your password, they’ll need more than that to access your account. Two-step verification is built on an open standard designed to allow integration with other vendors’ authentication technologies in the future. We are also open sourcing our mobile authentication app so that companies can customize it as they see fit. Adding an extra layer of security puts on par with some of the security systems used by banks.

As mentioned in the Google Security Whitepaper, the information stored on Google Apps Systems is safe and secure. Each of the ten components of Google’s multi-layered security strategy is endorsed and defended throughout the organization. Google Apps provides controls at each level of data storage, access, and transfer. Millions of organizations, including Google, Motorola Mobile Division,, Avago Technologies etc., run their businesses on Google Apps, and Google invests in that trust every day. With Google Apps, users can rest assured that Google values the privacy, confidentiality, integrity and availability of their data.

By Glenn Blake

About Glenn Blake

Glenn Blake is a writer for CloudTweaks and has been writing about technology trends for over 25 years.

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