Yet more and more frequently customers (SMB’s in particular) move to GAFYD.net (Google Apps For Your Domain) to acquire levels of security and reliability that are very difficult (virtually impossible from a cost perspective) for many organizations to achieve on their own.
The list below is from a blog posting by Adam Swidler (Senior Manager / Google Apps Team) on MONDAY, AUGUST 29, 2011. It identifies the top 10 data protection and reliability advantages most frequently heard from customers (in no particular order) followed by a brief annotation about each reason from myself.
1. Powerful administration tools give you control of your data - like instant and advanced search ability you get with Google Drive
2. Pure and proven cloud architecture – Google Drive exists within datacenters where the servers are specifically designed to focus only on Google Apps. The UNnecessary hardware ports, software code and device drivers that are typical potential vulnerabilities for hackers don’t even exist.
3. Patch management – Downloading, testing and deploying software patches is handled 100% by the vendor, this time consuming and tedious process is eliminated from having to be done by IT departments.
4. Strong authentication – access to your Google based data drive requires password authentication (even 2-step verification if you prefer). The majority of PC based data is available to anyone that sits at the keyboard for that PC.
5. Disaster recovery – it is foolish to think Google equipment never fails, it does. But its robust disaster recovery capabilities are so strong and recovery so fast you often don’t even know it has occurred. RTO (Recovery Time Objective – how long before users can access systems in the event of a failure) and RPO (Recovery Point Objective – how much of a gap there is in the data when it is restored) are designed with a goal of zero.
6. Third party verifications - Google Apps and the data centers that run them are one of the ONLY cloud computing organizations that have routine SSAE 16 Type II audits performed by a third party for certification compliance and have achieved the U.S. Federal Government’s FISMA certification.
7. Information security expertise – Google has the prestige and thus the privilege of hiring only the best technology engineers in the industry. Their security team (250+ people) hold advanced degrees and are thought leaders in information security whom regularly publish papers and contribute open source tools to the security community.
8. Secure connections for users – Google Apps automatically encrypts browser sessions without the need to impose VPN’s and other costly and cumbersome infrastructure upon the user. This significantly aids in the protection of data as it travels between users’ browsers and Google data centers, and does so without adding any expense to the user.
9. High availability - Google Apps has zero maintenance windows or planned downtime, something that is basically unheard of for any on-premise server system. While an 99.9% uptime SLA is offered, Gmail exceeded this guarantee in 2010 and achieved 99.984% uptime.
10. Reduced risk of data breach – data can’t be stolen when it isn’t exposed. By having secure access to the data via Internet from virtually any device at any location, the need to place data on external USB-drives, portable hard drives and Laptop-drives is greatly reduced. These items are all subject to being lost or stolen and represent high potential for a data breach – that exposure is greatly reduced.