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Sunday, February 26, 2006

Computer Consulting News: Google "Search" Feature Poses Security Threat

Executives at Google announced Friday that its “Search Across Computers” element could be a serious security threat for computer consulting firms and other businesses. When using the feature, corporations would have to be responsible for securing their own data.

Google Senior Product Manager Matthew Glotzbach stated at a Philadelphia technology conference that the new “Search” feature found in the beta version of Google Desktop 3 for Enterprise might be a risk for privacy and could cause data leaks. The program is designed to automatically copy and store copies of data on many computers. The Google Desktop 3 package was released earlier in the week.

Glotzbach said that this security issue is one for corporate security officials, hired computer consultants and IT administrators to deal with, not the technology providers. He added that users’ technology needs are currently powering IT business and direction. Ultimately, it is the responsibility of companies to make critical decisions about their own security and create their own security plan. Even with a plan in place, users can still ignore it and work outside the strategy. Nothing will prevent this, but companies can still create an organized security system that is within their comfort zone.

Glotzbach believes that corporate management has to create walls of security and set strict policies that protect all internal data; the accessibility of technology to the masses has blurred the line between personal and corporate use, and companies should be prepared to handle the consequences.

Many critics of the “Search Across Computers” feature consider it to be an objectionable and even unacceptable hazard for the security of companies that use it. Experts are advising corporate administrators to disable the feature.

Google confirmed that the Desktop 3 package makes it easy for administrators to turn off the “Search” feature, and that this feature is not automatically on when the program is first used.

Blogged By: Joshua Feinberg