FUD, but not entirely

Joe Wilcox does a good job of finding the FUD in Microsoft’s 10 reasons not to use Google Apps. I’d have to agree with him that Microsoft’s reasons are pretty dumb.

One thing that does jump out at me though, is number 7:

Enterprise companies have to constantly think about government regulations and standards?while Google can store a lot of data for enterprises on Google servers, there is no easy-to-use, automated way for enterprises to regularly delete data, issue a legal hold for specific docs or bring copies into the corp

Joe, rightfully, points out that Microsoft has plenty of it’s own hosted services, including email that would suffer from the same problem. So, it’s a bit disingenuous of them to make it a reason not to use Google. The truth is, it is a pretty valid reason to think twice about using any hosted services.

The more I learn about legal holds, and e-discovery, the more I realize just how much trouble can be caused by your organization’s data being spread all over the place. When it comes time to produce these documents, having them hosted on-line as part of a collaboration project just adds one more place, and one more cost, to the discovery process.

In fact, just the other day when I was in a meeting where a desktop sharing product was being demonstrated, the chief concern of the attorney present was whether or not the site stored any information on the documents as they were being changed. (It doesn’t) This is a major concern for any legal situation. You want to have control over what information, and metadata, is in any documents you are sending out, or that may have to be produced as part of discovery in the future. The more places you have documents being stored, the harder that is to do.

Personally, I know that any e-discovery process is going to be more complicated when any of the information custodians is using web-based services as part of their job. Like PDA’s or home computers, it just adds one more place that needs to be searched for relevant information. Any organization that wants to utilize on-line apps has to at least consider that and have a plan to deal with it.

Technorati tags: GoogleApps, FUD, Microsoft

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