Securing Search, Simply

Last month, I wrote about best practices for and some business impact of search technology. This month, I am delving into the Google Search Appliance’s ability to protect corporate information. To stop the loss of data, corporations spend thousands, nay, millions of dollars per year, either preventing the loss or cleaning up after it has been leaked. It would be safe to say that protecting confidential information is at the top of the executive priority list. Understanding how the Google Search Appliance works is part of what my job entails. Every time I hear something in relation to the Google Search Appliance or the Google Mini its usually their ability to keep secure information secure. From the Google Enterprise Search site, they provide a list of ways in which the Google Appliances can protect important and confidential information.

Here is a list of ways that Google Enterprise Search will protect sensitive information:

  1. The Google Appliances work already existing security policies within the organization.
  2. Kerberos Support: Provides native support for Kerberos, enabling a silent authentication process for end-users
  3. Metadata Biasing: Administrators can bias results based on metadata (in addition to biasing on source, URL or date)
  4. Advanced Reporting: View and export daily and hourly result sets, top queries, special feature usage and more. Report for every query, including reports on which queries receive no clicks by a user and how often the user is clicking on sponsored links in comparison to organic search results or OneBox modules.
  5. Secure Web Content: Enable secure searching of information protected by basic HTTP authentication, NTLM versions 1 and 2, as well as Windows Integrated Authentication
  6. Enterprise Single Sign-on: Integrate with forms-based single sign-on security systems, included Oblix and Netegrity, to enable seamless searching across secure content
  7. Secure Content API: Search across secure content using Google’s SAML Authorization SPI to integrate into existing access control systems
  8. X509 Client Certificates: Serve secure results to users using mutually authenticated x509 client certificates
  9. Lotus Domino Security: Integrate with Lotus Notes environments using fast, efficient crawling of Lotus Domino servers

Here are nine specific examples of how the Google Appliances can protect sensitive information from reaching the end-users. Coming from a non-IT background, I understand that some of these reasons seem a bit difficult to understand. That is why I added the number one protection item (The Google Appliances work with existing security policing all ready existing within the organization). This means that no matter what environment the Google Appliance is placed in, it will not release information to users who do not identify themselves as an individual who has access to see that information. All this right out of the box!

If more proof is needed you can take a look at Windows Networking’s “10 million documents in a single box” post. It is also understood that security is constantly on Google’s mind for their Enterprise Search as well . There are other high marks that are touted for the GSA such as:

“The Google Search Appliance’s unrivalled security functions were the perfect answer to our requirements and allowed for optimal information sharing”- Administrative and Financial Manager, Societe Generale.

For searching secure content, Google enterprise search seems to be the choice to make. It’s plug-and-play simplicity for security is unmatched in the field of enterprise search. I have seen first-hand the impact that Google Enterprise Search has on an organization and its power and speed are only rivaled by its security.

Next month, I will be analyzing workers and how the Google Search Appliance has benefited them. Happy searching!

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