IT directors must take a position on the use of Google's new corporate applications services or risk their unauthorised use by staff, analysts have warned.
The search engine company announced last week that it would be offering free web mail for small businesses and a paid-for service for larger enterprises, called Google Apps for Your Domain.
Hewitt Andrews, senior vice-president at analyst firm Gartner, said, "You have got to make some decisions. You might say, 'You cannot use this, there is a reason we have spent all this money on an integrated communication platform.'"
Alternatively, firms might want to pilot the service if users demand it to find out what the appeal is.
Andrews and David Bradshaw, principal analyst at Ovum, said the key issue with the use of Google's service concerned governance. "You would need to know how mail could be archived on Google systems or on one of your own," said Bradshaw.
Service levels would also be an issue for applications hosted remotely, he said. "IT managers will be very cautious and vigilant about Google support."
Rajen Sheth, product manager at Google, said the company had a good track record on running software services. "When is Google ever down? One of our core competencies is availability and running datacentres," he said.
In the future, Google plans to develop the software-as-a-service model to include word processing and spreadsheets, Sheth added.