surrounding Microsoft’s Office Live intrigues me. A complete set of
applications, designed to manage a business, complete with e-mail,
collaboration tools, contact management, sales management, lists of inventory,
and a Web site editor. It all seems like a wonderful utopia. Of course, using
this suite to actually run a business means storing your sensitive customer,
vendor, and sales information on someone else’s server. A server you can only
access through the notorious insecurity of a Web browser over the just as
notoriously insecure Internet using infamously insecure Active X controls.
inquisitive editors we are, the TechRepublic content development team has
signed up for a beta account in Office Live. I’m going to poke around the
landscape and see what I can see and do what I can do to assess the viability
of this online management system experiment. I have to admit I approach the
whole concept with a bit of cynicism.
The idea of
storing sensitive information about my business on a server that I do not have
physical control over makes me very nervous. What kind of physical security do
they have for the Office Live servers? And even if they are physically secure,
how certain can we be that they are secure from hacking? How quickly will
Microsoft turn over our sensitive information to the government if they ask for
it? How will I know? What if Mt. Rainer erupts and wipes out Washington State,
is there an offsite backup?
actually going to do this? Do you trust Microsoft with this information? Do you
trust anyone with this information outside your company? Should you? It is one
thing for some squirrelly editors to put information on Office Live; it is completely
different when that information represents your entire business enterprise.