Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Combining Google "mere mortal" accounts with Google Apps accounts


Looky, I'm posting under my own LABrat account on Blogger!

This has been possible as a result of new efforts from Google. It hasn't been set up globally, but you will soon be able to use more of Google's apps through your own Google Apps hosted domain. If you've never been exposed to how Google Apps work, they had offered a stripped down set of their services aimed at enterprises, or what they thought enterprises would want. For instance, Google Reader, Blogger.com and Google Voice wouldn't allow you to log in, even though you knew that your accounts were "Google accounts", their systems differentiated between a normal, public Google account and a Google Apps account. Google is now finally getting around to offering other services for their Google Apps customers.

From an Information Security perspective, there's some things to consider. You are now tying more and more services to one login/userid. This means you're putting all your authentication and authorization for all those services into one basket. Do you trust Google? Do you trust that the security of your userid/password is good? Reminder, they were recently the target of an attack by the Chinese government where source code was stolen for their authentication system, or so the news media outlets report. That being said, and maybe I'll regret saying this, but I'm not too concerned, given these types of events tend to create change within a company. Why does it take something really bad to make people pay attention? I'm not sure, but its human nature and happens, over and over again (*needs citations :-) but I'm sure you also recognize this).

The whole Google/Google Apps account authentication merger is still in beta, but transitioning data/accounts seems to work okay, although each service has its own way of doing things. Like Blogger, for instance, I just had to set up my account and then give it admin rights. Google Voice requires you to do a transfer from one account to another, which according to their instruction page, isn't actually supported for Google Apps accounts. So, they'll need to clean up some things.

Anyway, I'm glad to see that this is happening. Makes my Google life a lot easier.

Chris
LABrat.com