Google’s two-factor authentication system is now available in 150 countries and 40 languages, the company recently said.

The service -- which was previously available only in English -- allows individual users to opt for a second login step, which sends an authorization code to an iPhone, Android or BlackBerry device. Enrolment is done by the individual users by registering a cell phone number, in a process that Google says takes about 15 minutes. After registration, users can have a confirmation code sent to their mobile device each time they log into Google Apps, or when they access it from a new device, or once every 30 days. Users also get back-up codes in case they can't get service on their phones.

The security feature might change the perception about the insecurity of cloud application delivery, said Tim Drury, CEO of New York-based cloud consulting firm White Stratus Inc.

"The idea of someone like Google coming to a company and saying, 'give us all your data and we'll look after it' -- it's probably a similar feeling to when a bank came to them in the 16th century and said, 'we're a bank, give us all your money and we'll look after it'," Drury said. "But, over time, that's become very commonplace. We trust that banks are built to look after money. The reality of companies like Google is that they're built to look after data."

According to Google, there are currently 3 million businesses, with a total of 30 million active users, using Google Apps.

However, the management options for corporate customers are limited.

"The domain administrator can enable users in their domain to voluntarily enroll in two-step verification by flipping a switch in their admin control panel," said Google spokesman Jay Nancarrow.  "We don't currently provide a mandatory setting option."

 

 

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