One concern I hear daily is how open cloud applications are. While they are designed to be open and accessible there is a worry that intellectual property is easily stolen or shared.
IT managers typically lock down their network, filter user emails and provide access using remote services to stop a majority of IP leakage. IT managers are looking to do the same in the cloud.
Google is on the path of developing the same controls. Google Docs Audit logs was announced and deployed to Google apps control panels a few weeks ago. The new feature allows administrators to audit changes, access and view history of documents shared with other Google Apps users internally and externally. This is a first step in providing oversight at an administrator level of who is accessing company files. For more detail you can find the official Google post here.
Although this is Google’s first step in providing governance around Google Docs, many third party apps in the Google Apps Marketplace fill the gap. CloudLock Collaboration Security was developed to ensure administrators of Google Apps domains have oversight on how Google Docs were being shared, stop leakage of IP, and to ensure compliance with government regulations.
CloudLock protects sensitive data like personal information and credit card details stored in Google Docs, Sites, Google+ and Google Drive. The developer claims to provide enterprise-class DLP, auditing and compliance, data management and end-user driven security.
It does this through a few features and products:
CloudLock Collaboration Security for Google Apps
The primary product in the suite offers reporting on the number, size, sharing and usage of documents for each account in the domain. Administrators can view all users’ documents and add and remove people it is shared with.
CloudLock Compliance Scan
The compliance scan finds and protects personal information and credit card details. Personal information includes data that can be used to uniquely identify, contact or locate a single individual: Credit card numbers, Social Security numbers, phone numbers, addresses and other sensitive data. PCI data includes credit card details that must be stored according to strict (and enforceable) governmental regulations that ensure customer data is protected.
Cloud lock has freemium and paid versions. More information here.
FlashPanel is a cloud management tool for Google Apps administrators that helps control and secure Google Apps domains. It gives granular privileges to non-IT employees and automates common management tasks. Flashpanel claims it has over 5 million users.
FlashPanel is more a domain management tool rather than specifically designed for security. However, it does have a number of tools that can provide a good level of detail on how your users are using Google Docs.
It can create a general sharing policy for employees, view documents owned by all users on Google Apps, notify the administrator if policies have been violated and monitor how users are using documents on Google Drive.
Coupled with the new Google Docs audit tool FlashPanel provides a greater insight on how your users are sharing and using Google Docs. Flash Panel is free for all users during their beta period which is until April. You can find more details here.
As more and more companies start to use cloud productivity tools for their work, we will see an uptake in companies protecting their intellectual property and client information by using a number of security tools. The tools above are perfectly placed to give businesses a way to protect their intellectual property stored in cloud suites such as Google Apps.