Google Apps finally gets LDAP support

For such a software-savvy organization that claims to take enterprise needs to heart, Google seems a bit slow on the uptake. Case in point: Google's just now added LDAP support to Apps, and the biggest question that immediately comes to mind: What took so long?

Until now, enterprises wishing to use Google Apps needed to manually maintain a directory within Apps, in addition to their enterprise-resident LDAP-compliant directory, say Microsoft Active Directory or Lotus Notes. And that was a situation that was not only cumbersome and inefficient, but not the best security practice either.

Google's finally changed all that. It unveiled Google Apps Directory Sync, a utility that takes the user information from an enterprise-resident LDAP directory and synchronizes it with Google Apps. A key point is that the utility runs inside the enterprise firewall and offers just one-way synchronization (LDAP to Apps), leaving the enterprise-resident info untouched and secure. As Cloud Ave.'s Krishnan Subrahmanian explains:

Since this synchronization utility runs inside the enterprise firewall, there is no access to the LDAP server data from outside of the enterprise network. If the Google Apps account has group features enabled, then it is possible to map users, groups, etc. using the same rules used inside the enterprises. The utility also includes extensive tests and simulation to ensure reliability.

All of which promises to make enterprise users' and especially their IT administrators' lives a bit easier. Now if they could just provide some good content management tools as well. As IDG News Service's Juan Perez reports, many experts say that's another area where Apps lags in the enterprise, compared to tools like Microsoft's SharePoint. But maybe we shouldn't ask for too much all at once.

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