Risk and Hosted Applications

This article takes a look at vulnerabilities of sharing data over online mail and productivity services that IT managers should address with employees. While there’s a lot to be said about the convenience of using online spreadsheets and Gmail accounts, and even using them to collaborate with others over the internet, they lack security and reliability.

Unfortunately, little thought is given to reliability or security risks. Authentication is typically limited to a user log-in name and password. While data in transit across the internet is encrypted using Secure Sockets Layer, the services generally don’t offer encryption for data at rest on the provider’s servers. If something goes wrong, support may be limited. And availability isn’t guaranteed (Google offers an uptime guarantee only for its Gmail application as part of its Google Apps Premier Edition subscription).

The article notes that there are security-audited, enterprise-grade offerings as well as in-house platforms allowing employees to safely use online applications and collaborate over the net that offer the same kinds of convenience but with a lot more protection for companies and and their data.

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