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Google improves sign-in security for Apps

Business users will now get two-step process

Google has boosted security for users of its hosted Google Apps tools by adding a new two-step verification process.

The new sign-in feature was unveiled at the recent Google Atmosphere conference in Paris.

"Cloud computing is about making your information easily accessible from anywhere, on any device," Eran Feigenbaum, director of security for Google Apps, said in a blog post.

"Until today, organisations looking to secure their information beyond a password have faced costs and complexities that prevented many of them from using stronger security technologies. Today, we are changing that with the introduction of a more secure sign-in capability for Google Apps accounts that significantly increases the security of the cloud: Two-step verification."

The feature, which must be enabled by an administrator, requires that users have two means of identification - something they know (a password), and something they have (a mobile phone).

Feigenbaum explained that after a user plugs in her password, a verification code will then be sent to her phone.

"This makes it much more likely that you're the only one accessing your data," he said.

"Even if someone has stolen your password, they'll need more than that to access your account. You can also indicate when you're using a computer you trust and don't want to be asked for a verification code from that machine in the future."

While this new capability is just for Google Apps business users today, Feigenbaum said it will be rolled out to all individual Google users "in the coming months".

Google apps include Gmail, Google Docs and Calendar.

See also: 9 essential tips for every Gmail user


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