Google Makes Its Move To The Corporate Enterprise Desktop – Can It Do It Securely?
Coming (securely?) soon to a managed enterprise desktop near you, GoogleApps. As discussed previously in my GooglePOP post demonstrating how Google will become the ASP of choice, outsouring and IT Consultancy CapGemini
announced it is going to offer Google’s Apps as a managed SaaS desktop option to its corporate enterprise customers, the Guardian says today:
Google has linked up with IT consultancy and outsourcing specialist
CapGemini to target corporate customers with its range of desktop
applications, in the search engine’s most direct move against the
dominance of Microsoft.
CapGemini, which already runs the
desktops of more than a million corporate workers, will provide its
customers with "Google Apps" such as email, calendar, spreadsheets and
is an important partner to us as is IBM," said the head of partnerships
at CapGemini’s outsourcing business, Richard Payling. "In our client
base we have a mix of Microsoft users and Lotus Notes users and we now
have our first Google Apps user. But CapGemini is all about freedom,
giving clients choice of the most appropriate technology that is going
to fit their business environment."
Google’s applications such as
its Google Docs word processing and spreadsheet service allow several
people to work on one document and see changes in real time.
you look at the traditional desktop it is very focused on personal
productivity," said Robert Whiteside, Google enterprise manager, UK and
Ireland. "What Google Apps brings is team productivity."
…If you’re wondering how they’re going to make money from all this:
CapGemini will collect the £25 ($50) licence fee charged by Google for its applications, which launched in February.
will make further revenues from helping clients use the new
applications, providing helpdesk services and maintenance. It will also
provide help with corporate security, especially for applications such
as email, as well as storage and back-up services.
expects customers to mix and match products, providing some users with
expensive Microsoft tools and others with cheaper and lower-spec Google
You can check out the differences between the free and for-pay versions here.
Besides being a very good idea from an SaaS "managed services" perspective, it shows that Google (and global outsourcers) see a target market waiting to unfold in the corporate enterprise space based upon the collaboration sale.
What’s really interesting from a risk management perspective, continuing to ride the theme of Google’s Global Domination, is that Google’s SaaS play will draw focus on the application of security as regulatory compliance issues continue to bite at the heels of productivity gains offered by the utility of centrally hosted collaboration-focused toolsets such as GoogleApps.
Interestingly, Nick Carr points out that GoogleApps’ "outsourced" application hosting capability hasn’t caught on with the large corporate enterprise set largely due to "enterprise readiness," security and compliance concerns, a suggestion that Steve Jones, a Capgemini outsourcing executive who oversees the firm’s work with software-as-a-service applications, maintains is not an issue:
"[Carr] asked Jones about the commonly heard claim that Google Apps, while
fine for little organizations, isn’t "enterprise-ready." He scoffed at
the notion, saying that the objection is just a smokescreen that some
CIOs are "hiding behind." Google Apps, he says, is "already being used
covertly" in big companies, behind the backs of IT staffers. The time
has come, he argues, to bring Apps into the mainstream of IT management
in order to ensure that important data is safeguarded and compliance
requirements are met. Jones foresees "a lot of big companies"
announcing the formal adoption of Apps.
Remember, these applications and their data are hosted on Google’s infrastructure. Think about the audit, privacy, security and compliance implications of that; folks that utilize ASP services are perhaps used to this, but the question is, what can Google do to suggest it’s hosting model is secure enough, after all, Hoff’s 9th law represents:
Since Google’s app. suite isn’t quite complete yet, Microsoft’s not entirely in danger of seeing it’s $12 Billion office empire crumble, but it’s got to start somewhere…