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Ubiquitous search giant Google announced the addition of mobile device
management options for Google Apps administrators, including a requirement for
devices to use data encryption, the ability to disable the phone’s camera and
requiring passwords to be changed after a specified time interval.

Currently available to all Google Apps Premier and Education customers, the
admin controls build on the company’s previously announced support for mobile
device security policies in Google Apps, designed to help administrators manage
Apple’s iPhone, Nokia and Windows Mobile devices from the Google Apps control
panel. The policies are designed to let employees access information from their
phones while helping administrators keep corporate data more secure.

Additional admin controls include the ability to auto-wipe a mobile device
after a specified number of failed password attempts, ensuring old passwords
are not reused and the ability to disable data synchronization when the device
is roaming to reduce wireless overage charges. The policies can be accessed
from the "Mobile" tab under "Service
Settings" in the Google Apps control panel.

“It’s our mission to provide users with seamless access to their data while
allowing enterprise administrators to centrally manage a diverse range of
mobile devices,” Google
software engineer Dale Woodford
wrote in a blog post. “We’re working to
enhance our device management options and to expand our list of supported
devices—including Android later this year.”

In June, the company produced a Google Apps security white paper to help
customers learn more about the security practices, policies and technology that
support Google Apps. As the number of third-party hosted service offerings has
expanded in recent years, the security of online services has become a topic of
increasing interest to enterprises. These cloud-based services are protected by
a multitude of security features, wrote Eran Feigenbaum, director of security
for Google Enterprise.

“We store customer data in fragments across multiple servers and across
multiple data centers to both enhance reliability and provide greater security
than can be achieved by storing all data on a single server,” Feigenbaum explained. “When only fragments
are kept in any one place, the chance that a possible physical or
computer-based compromise could result in the loss of meaningful information is
greatly reduced.”