The US Department of Defense (DoD) is being advised to take a long hard look at Google Apps Premier edition.
As I wrote about using Google Apps for the company last October, the topic has been on my mind – which explains why this article jumped out at me.
I’ve done quite a bit of consulting with the DoD. Some of their policies, like any other organization, don’t seem to make much sense. Other policies however, are cutting edge (Federal Desktop Core Configuration, for example).
This past week China and Google have been having some fairly heated discussions, some of which have been released publicly, no doubt to up the ante to the other side. Google in short is thinking of pulling out of China, including their server farms. That brings us to the heart of the China/Google problem.
Paul Strassmann wrote a guest post for Larry Dignan column on ZDNet titled “Government Gmail use following Google’s China news“. The crux of Mr. Strassmann’s position is that all Google servers should be removed from China because it must be assumed that the Chinese government has access to the server farms. He was specifically discussing gmail servers, and Google released a statement stating that Google has no gmail servers in China.
While the back-and-forth is certainly entertaining, it begs the question; can the DoD, and for that matter any organization, really trust a cloud in which they do not have full control.
This poses problems not only for the DoD, some of whose smaller organizations actually use Google Apps Premier, but for their contractors, sub-contractors, and vendors. A number of companies use Google Apps Premier for their internal email solutions. If these companies have dealings with the DoD they may find themselves at odds with new policies, should the DoD find cause to ban Google Apps from inside its network and with any vendors it deals with.
Keep an eye on this, Windows administrators. When it comes to the DoD and security, especially during times of war, they prefer to err on the side of security.
What do you think? Cutting edge or paranoid?