Google Apps and Gmail Get Security Upgrades
Google Apps has launched two new security upgrades at no extra cost to administrators and Google resellers: (1) policy control to determine which domains a user can communicate with and (2) DomainKeys Identified Mail (DKIM) to validate outgoing mail with digital signatures. The former feature is especially aimed at keeping grade school students safe, while the latter is designed to protect against spam and malware.
The communications policy control has been a popularly-requested feature amongst administrators of K-12 school Google Apps administrators, according to the Google Enterprise blog entry. The idea is that the policy can be fine-tuned for different groups of users – school faculty and staff can be allowed e-mail anyone, but students can only communicate with each other and their teachers, for example.
Said Laurie Tranmer, Email Services Manager at Prince George’s County Public Schools, as quoted in in that same blog entry:
We are confident that this will help protect our children from inappropriate communications and excited about new class activities and collaboration that email will bring.
As for the DKIM authentication, the concept is simple. Users can see if e-mails were actually sent from the domain they say they were by checking said signature in the Gmail message pane. An e-mail from, say eBay, will show up as signed by eBay if not from a phisher.
And now by simply enabling DKIM signing in the “Advanced Tools” control panel, Google Apps administrators can validate their own domain with the click of a button. It’s free and it’s already been deployed, according to a different Google Enterprise Blog entry
The takeaway here is that Google is addressing partner concerns and beefing up their solution in the kind of incremental way only the cloud can deliver.