Cloud Computing: Google’s Knowledge Sharing Solution

I recently attended the KMWorld web event “Developing a Knowledge Sharing Culture in the 21st Century.” The speaker, Ashley Gorringe from Google Enterprise, provided some insights into Google’s vision of cloud computing and how it can create a culture that allows all aspects of an organization to move insync. Here are some highlights from the discussion:

Characteristics of work tools that are designed for today’s knowledge worker:

  • Utilize the power of networks. Must be social.
  • Not tied to a desktop computer.
  • Can access information and projects very quickly.
  • Must work on mobile devices.
  • Access information anytime and from anywhere.

Opportunities of cloud computing:

  • Radically lowers the cost. Much cheaper than on-premise solutions.
  • Much faster application development. Pace of innovation is much faster.
  • Scales across businesses of all sizes. Larger organizations benefit because its cheaper than supporting a large IT group. Small to medium size businesses can leverage alot of technology for a similar price as a large business.
  • Frees up an organization’s IT group’s time to work on more strategic projects.

What is cloud computing?

  • Using a large scale service to hold an organization’s information.
  • Accessing information anytime and from anywhere.
  • Data and applications reside in the network.
  • 1) Based on massive data centres that are very secure, 2) purpose built hardware, and 3) software platform of Internet scale

Google’s enterprise vision:

Google Cloud

a) Google apps (e.g., video, chat, docs, etc.)

b) Platform – The platform allows you to connect and build your own apps. Since many businesses have existing systems that will still need to be implemented, a range of APIs are developed that allow you to take the existing systems and connect them to the API platform.

c) Access – You can access information from different platforms (e.g., Chrome OS, mobile devices, etc.)

Objections/challenges to cloud computing:

  • Security issues.
  • IT group will want to protect their turf.


  1. The risks associated with Cloud computing, if there is a need for good information security, are significant.

    First, data may be stored in a different jurisdiction subject to laws which are inconsistent with those that the business operates under. If you don’t know where the data is stored, a business can’t even guess the degree of risk of having its information in the storage jurisdiction (and what happens if there is more than one). Without a risk assessment it will be difficult for the business to demonstrate due diligence.

    Second, security relies on the diligence of the service provider (or that service provider’s subcontractors). If a business doesn’t know what security measures are being taken, it will be difficult to assess information risks and difficult to demonstrate due diligence (to regulators, clients and shareholders).

    Also, in service industries, it will be important to consider the expectations of clients. What do they expect in terms of information hygiene? Clients may be less than pleased to learn that their information is being stored under a third party’s custody in a different jurisdiction.

  2. I’ve done a few demos of the prominent SaaS legal case management services – RocketMatter and Clio. I confess I have a security concern, but then are any computer systems that access the internet 100% secure. I suspect not (I’m not an IT specialist). I use cloud computing for personal files and love it … just a bit leary to throw confidential and sensitive client info on the cloud.