Google has fired the latest salvo in the cloud storage wars by announcing Drive for Work at the Google I/O 2014 conference currently taking place in San Francisco.
Google Drive for Work, as its name implies, is a business-flavored version of the company's Drive cloud storage and syncing service for PCs and mobile devices. Scott Johnston, Director of Product Management for Google Drive, described the offering as "a new premium offering for businesses that includes unlimited storage, advanced audit reporting and new security controls for $10/user/month," in a Google Official Enterprise Blog post.
The move comes just days after Microsoft, among the search and mobile giant's chief rivals, announced that the limit on its free OneDrive consumer plan was being bumped from 7 GB to 15 GB in July. As an added perk, Office 365 users would see their OneDrive accounts balloon to 1 TB from 20 GB.
The reasons for removing storage caps are obvious, according Johnston. Echoing a common complaint among enterprise storage customers, he stated that "companies create more data than the last, adding megabytes, gigabytes and terabytes" each year.
Google is "taking bytes out of the conversation," said Johnston. "For $10/user/month, businesses get unlimited storage for all their employees and can store files up to 5 TB in size," he added before noting that no desktop or laptop currently on the market can accommodate files that size.
Bottomless cloud storage aside, Google Drive for Work also provides enterprise-grade management capabilities and security features.
New auditing tools provide visibility into the file storage, movement and sharing activities of employees. The included Google Apps Vault solution provides search and eDiscovery capabilities, enabling businesses to integrate their compliance policies.
Google Drive for Work is making it tough to snoop on sensitive information. "As of today, all files uploaded to Google Drive will be encrypted, not only from your device to Google and in transit between Google data centers, but also at rest on Google servers," stated Johnston.
Certifications abound. A long checklist includes "SSAE 16 / ISAE 3402 Type II, SOC 2-audit, ISO 27001 certification, adherence to the Safe Harbor Privacy Principles, and can support industry-specific requirements like HIPAA," he informed.
Since Word, Excel and PowerPoint files are among the "most common file types" stored on Drive, Google has built-in Quickoffice's editing capabilities into Docs, Sheets and Slides, said Johnston. Users can now "open and edit those documents in their native format using Office Compatibility Mode directly on Android and Chrome browser today, and coming soon to iOS."
Google Drive for Work is available now.
Pedro Hernandez is a contributing editor at InfoStor. Follow him on Twitter @ecoINSITE.
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