re: Microsoft Office 365 Steps On Google Enterprise Ambitions
Do you understand the difference between AD and LDAP? In particular, a system that just does a simple LDAP query and sync? Hint they are not one and the same. Not even close.
Using Google Apps and their AD sync tool in an AD environment might work ok for a simple deployment with one or two administrators and a single Domain/Forest. But, start scaling that out to larger organizations with multiple Domains, separate divisions, linked partners, and the need to delegate AD functions, sync directories, user account and email account (de)provisioning, Single Sign On, IM, Video chat, conferencing, UC, presence, and the multitude of other functions that rely on the AD database (and changes to it) and you will begin to see the boggy mire that you wade into when trying to use Google Apps in that environment. As is usual with the Google ecosystem, you have to rely (and spend) heavily on third party tools to fill in the gaps that Google misses. It gets more expensive and more complex to administer the more you try to integrate the two. Take that up a notch to hybrid deployments and you begin to see why it makes no sense to rely on Google tools for that level of integration with AD.
You should "actually" read the HIPAA Privacy rule. It does, in fact, require the signing of written contractual agreements between a "covered entity" and any "Business Associate" that has access to PHI. There are civil money penalities as well as criminal penalties for non-compliance. And the fines can be quite large so it isn't really worth it anymore to skirt compliance. If you use Gmail to transmit PHI you are in violation of the Rule. If you use Google Drive to store PHI - and that data is accessed by anyone outside of your covered written agreement - then you are in violation of the Rule. Google won't have your back on any of those issues. Need I go on? Health Care companies (that are actually concerned about compliance) are hesitant to entrust Google with their communications and their data because Google will not execute a BA agreement in writing. So, you should be asking why Google won't put their skin in the game. Microsoft will.
Like I said, Google makes all of their money in the advertising business. Any data traveling thru their networks is used in some fashion toward that end. You might not see ads presented in Google Apps for business. But you darn well see targeted ones follow you around the web. I wonder where that "insight" comes from?
I love it when people try to defend their position that Google is in the Enterprise software business. They haven't made a dime in profit off their efforts. Their tools come and go like the seasons - so CIO's have become very wary of trying to build a roadmap for their organizations based on Google tools lest they get tossed out for incompetance.
5000 businesses a day are converting to Google Apps you say? Why that's 1.8 million a year. You sure about that number or did it just magically appear in front of you?
You have to wonder why a company of Google's size would wage war against Microsoft in the Enterprise space with an ever changing toolset that makes no money for the company. What is their real purpose in getting people to use their services? I think we know that answer.
This has been fun and I guess we'll see what happens down the road.