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Google soothes enterprise security concerns with Drive for Work

Adam Bender | June 30, 2014
Google hopes to ease lingering Australian concerns about data sovereignty as it makes a fresh play to get organisations to adopt its Drive cloud storage service, according to Kevin Ackhurst, managing director of Google Enterprise in Australia.

Google hopes to ease lingering Australian concerns about data sovereignty as it makes a fresh play to get organisations to adopt its Drive cloud storage service, according to Kevin Ackhurst, managing director of Google Enterprise in Australia.

The new Google Drive for Work, announced overnight at Google I/O, gives businesses unlimited storage capacity for $10 monthly per user. Businesses can upload files up to 5TB each in size. Drive for Work also includes new audit and administration controls, as well as stronger encryption to enhance security.

Google is in talks with Australian customers about upgrading to the unlimited offer, Ackhurst told Computerworld Australia

"We're in the process of having those final discussions with them," he said. "We've spoken to some of our most significant customers early. After the announcements last night, we're actually going to call the rest of them."

Major Google customers in Australia include Woolworths, Dick Smith, Fairfax and News Corp.

One thing Google can't guarantee is that data will be stored in Australia. Data uploaded to Drive does not get stored in any one particular country, Ackhurst said.

Ackhurst admitted that this issue of data sovereignty is a concern for some Australian organisations, especially those in government and highly regulated industries like healthcare and financial services.

However, Google is trying to convince these organisations that its approach is actually more secure than keeping everything in a local data centre.

"We believe that the story we tell — in terms of how people's data is stored, how we think about security, the ways in which we actually store that data, how we think about latency and acceleration — is a much better story than saying, 'Hey your stuff is in Crows Nest at a particular data centre.'"

"If you knew the location [of the data centre], you could actually do something to disrupt what was happening there."

Google has had talks with government and regulators to ease concerns about the subject, he said.

"We work on a continual basis with government departments [and] regulators to help them to understand the approach that we take. Typically, we find that as we explain the things we do, there's less of an issue."

Ackhurst said that 190 million business users have used Google Drive in the last 30 days, and he expects that number to grow with the new release.

"Every year we see an increase in the amount of content that is created by organisations and it grows exponentially," he said.

"By providing this to organisations who want it, they no longer have to worry about the constraints they might have in terms of how they add storage in their own IT environments or in the ways with which they actually use our services."

 

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