During its Atmosphere conference on cloud computing that's being held in Paris this week, Google announced plans to make its Google Apps offering more secure by adding two-step authentication.
Security is believed to be the No. 1 concern facing businesses that are contemplating moving their data, applications, or both to the cloud. Cloud providers are attempting to quell these concerns by adding security technology to their offerings, hoping to convince customers that data stored in the cloud is just as secure as if it was stored in house.
Ramping up its war on Microsoft's business applications, Google has opened an online store that lets third-party developers sell on-demand software that's integrated with Google's Web services offerings.
Plans for the store, dubbed Google Apps Marketplace, were leaked to the Wall Street Journal back in February, but Google has been officially mum on the concept. On Tuesday evening, the company pulled back the curtain on a program that already includes 50 vendors.
Microsoft may have lost the battle with Google over a $7.2 million e-mail contract with Los Angeles, but its recent moves show that the cloud apps war has only just begun.
Last week, LA's city council approved a plan to replace its Novell e-mail system -- and its 30,000 accounts -- with Google Apps, which includes Gmail and other cloud-based applications. This week, Microsoft cut the price for Exchange Online from $10 per month per user to $5; the cost of Business Productivity Online Suite, which also includes SharePoint Online, Office Communications Online and Microsoft Office Live Meeting, fell from $15 per user per month to $10.