How secure is my data on Google Apps and Gmail?

Businesses are understandably and rightly concerned about the security of their data and even more so when that data is hosted in a nebulous “Cloud” – no pun intended.

My typical answer to that concern is rather straightforward and simple: if you use a “Name Brand” cloud services provider, in this case let’s talk about Google, it is almost certain that their security practices are far superior to your own.  It’s nearly certain that your data is far safer in Google’s cloud than it is in your office.

IT security is an incredibly complex field that encompasses broad areas including obvious areas like physical premises, hardware, operating system updates, software bugs and also not-so-obvious aspects like disposal of expired hardware.

If you want better peace of mind in terms of the security of your data and are considering  using Google Apps or Gmail for business, I suggest you watch this well-done 7 minute video.

You might also scan through this article, “Top ten reasons why customers trust Google Apps with their business data” and those reasons are:

  1. Powerful administration tools give you control of your data
  2. Pure and proven cloud architecture
  3. Patch management
  4. Strong authentication
  5. Disaster recovery
  6. Third party verifications
  7. Information security expertise
  8. Secure connections for users
  9. High availability
  10. Reduced risk of data breach

Your Android or iPhone is safer when you use the cloud

Finally, this post, “Google Apps helps reduce the risk of data breaches”  makes one of my favorite simple points of why cloud computing is inherently more secure:  data isn’t stored in the device but rather the cloud.  So lets take for example the scenario where you lose your smartphone.   If you had your contacts and email physically stored on that phone, you would have great cause for alarm should it go in the wrong hands.  But if your data is stored in the cloud and accessed in the phone, simply changing the password on your cloud account immediately cuts off that phone’s access to your data.
Now to be sure, my example is greatly oversimplified but that is purposely so as to make the point. There are other ways to secure your phone such as remote wipes, complex phone access passwords, and service provider disable commands, but the point is that when your data is stored in the cloud and that cloud is as secure as something like a Google data center, it’s nearly impossible to create something that is more secure in-house.

Feel better?

Security is a big deal and its important you understand about the complexities that cloud services address.  It’s even more important that you feel comfortable about how safe your data is.

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