Google Apps get PIN protection

Google is adding an extra layer of user security to its cloud-based applications in order to encourage business users to switch to the likes of Gmail and Google Docs.

The ever-expanding Internet search behemoth's director of security, Eran Feigenbaum, reckons the cost of going beyond simple username and password protection is too high for most companies which has prompted the introduction of PIN security.

Writing on the outfit's official enterprise blog, Feigenbaum said: "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."

Disabled by default, account administrators are able to set up and manage the new layer of protection which sends a verification code to pretty much any mobile device capable of receiving text messages, voice calls. New applications have also been created for Android, Blackberry and Apple iOS4 devices.

"This makes it much more likely that you’re the only one accessing your data: even if someone has stolen your password, they'll need more than that to access your account," says Feigenbaum. "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."

Google says that the verification technology is built on open standards which can easily be adapted to other devices in the future.

The service will be gradually rolled out to users with Google Apps Premier, Education and Governement users first in the queue.