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Google Apps Gets ISO Security Certification

Google's cloud-based productivity suite picked up another key security certification on Monday: the ISO 27001 standard.

ISO 27001 is recognized internationally. Like other cloud security certifications -- SAS 70, SSAE 16/ISAE 3402 and FISMA, for starters -- ISO 27001 is important to enterprise customers who are wary of the cloud because they don't know if their data is safe.

Gaining ISO 27001 certification requires an independent third-party audit. Google's auditor, Ernst & Young CertifyPoint, certified Google Apps.

"ISO 27001 is one of the most widely recognized, internationally accepted independent security standards and we have earned it for the systems, technology, processes and data centers serving Google Apps for Business," wrote Eran Feigenbaum, director of security for Google's enterprise business line.

Microsoft's Office 365 is also ISO 27001 certified, taking that argument off the table as both companies battle for enterprise customers. ISO 27001 is particularly important to multinational companies that are bound either by regulations or customer requirements that ISO 27001 audits have been conducted by validated third-party auditors, explained Dave Anders, CEO and managing partner at Phoenix-based SecuraStar Information Security, a consultancy focused solely on helping large enterprises prepare for ISO 27001 audits.

IS0 27001 certification is a complex process but in short it means an organization has an information security management system that outlines a company's risk assessment and controls in place to address that risk. The standard covers IT assets, personnel as well as physical security of datacenters. "One of the most important aspects is risk and how it's controlled," Anders said, in an interview.

Google said its ISO 27001 certification covers its systems, applications, people, technology processes and datacenters using Google Apps for Business. "What they are now telling the world is they have reasonable validation," Anders said. "It doesn't mean they won't have a break-in or loss of confidentiality, integrity and availability, which is the three-risk components in ISO 27001, but they're saying they have reasonable assurance that they've put a value on risk and they are addressing that value on risk to mitigate it with controls and that somebody has checked it, that's their reasonable assurance."

Posted by Jeffrey Schwartz on May 29, 2012 at 11:59 AM


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