Businesses have been warned by research company Gartner that the latest Google Desktop Beta has an “unacceptable security risk,” and Google agrees.
On Feb. 9, Google unveiled Google Desktop 3, a free, downloadable program that includes an option to let users search across multiple computers for files. To do that, the application automatically stores copies of files, for up to a month, on Google servers. From there, copies are transferred to the user’s other computers for archiving. The data is encrypted in transmission and while stored on Google servers.
The risk to enterprises, according to Gartner, lies in how this shared information is pooled by Google. The data is transferred to a remote server, where it is stored and can then be shared between users for up to 30 days.
Gartner said in a report on Thursday that the “mere transport (of data) outside the enterprise will represent an unacceptable security risk to many enterprises,” as intellectual property could be transported out of the business.
Google told ZDNet UK on Monday that it recognized the risk, and recommended that companies take action. “We recognize that this is a big issue for enterprise. Yes, it’s a risk, and we understand that businesses may be concerned,” said Andy Ku, European marketing manager for Google.
Gartner has recommended that businesses use Google Desktop for Enterprise, as this allows systems administrators to centrally turn off the Search Across Computers feature, which it said should be “immediately disabled.”
Google agreed that Google Desktop Enterprise would better mitigate security risks. “If you’re given a choice, choose Enterprise,” said Ku.