The file-sharing functions of Google’s desktop search software present an “unacceptable security risk”, IT analyst firm Gartner has warned.
The controversial “search across computers” feature in Google’s Desktop 3 Beta software, which allows PCs running the application to share information and documents, works by storing an index copy of the information on Google servers for up to 30 days.
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Gartner dubbed the move “inauspicious”, and warned: “Google promises that this information will be encrypted and accessible only to a small set of Google employees, who will not peruse it. Nevertheless, Gartner believes that its mere transport outside the enterprise will represent an unacceptable security risk to many enterprises.”
Staff may not always be sure which documents should not be shared, a Gartner research report adds.
It urges businesses to “immediately” disable the Search Across Computers feature through the management controls of the Google Desktop for Enterprise edition.
Businesses that are not using the enterprise edition but allow staff to use Google’s desktop search should switch to the enterprise edition and restrict its use, it adds.