Consumer vs

By Matthew Hicks  |  Posted 2004-12-02 Print this article Print

. Enterprise"> IT departments should even consider barring consumer desktop-search tools on corporate machines if they are not willing to investigate their risks, said James Governor, principal analyst at RedMonk, based in Bath, Maine. Unmanaged use of desktop search tools could expose enterprises to regulatory violations around privacy laws and the federal Sarbanes-Oxley statute, he said. Governor likened desktop search to other emerging technologies that largely rose through the ranks of consumers and individual users before gaining the attention of enterprise IT. "Organizations do need a formal policy on desktop search, just as they do on wireless and instant messaging," Governor said in an e-mail interview.
"These are all potential breaches in an organization, and their viral adoption by end-users makes life even harder for overstretched IT departments."
Click here to read Security Center editor Larry Seltzers perspective on how Google Desktop Search doesnt harm security. The reality is that the desktop search tools coming from Web search providers are largely intended for consumers and not for enterprise environments, Hickernell said. Yet a spate of users downloading them could indicate a real need for enterprise-class desktop search within an organization, he said. Enterprise search vendors such as Autonomy Corp. plc and specialized vendors such as ISYS Search Software and Coveo Solutions Inc. make desktop search tools targeted for organizational use. Along with their rise in search, consumer desktop tools are growing generally. Hickernell said he expects the tools to become more intrusive, potentially raising further enterprise security concerns about user tracking. "The ultimate value in commercial search companies and ad firms going to the desktop is to get the ability to capture more context, and the more context they have, the better able they are to target advertisements and offers to consumers," Hickernell said. Check out eWEEK.coms for the latest news, reviews and analysis about productivity and business solutions.

Matthew Hicks As an online reporter for, Matt Hicks covers the fast-changing developments in Internet technologies. His coverage includes the growing field of Web conferencing software and services. With eight years as a business and technology journalist, Matt has gained insight into the market strategies of IT vendors as well as the needs of enterprise IT managers. He joined Ziff Davis in 1999 as a staff writer for the former Strategies section of eWEEK, where he wrote in-depth features about corporate strategies for e-business and enterprise software. In 2002, he moved to the News department at the magazine as a senior writer specializing in coverage of database software and enterprise networking. Later that year Matt started a yearlong fellowship in Washington, DC, after being awarded an American Political Science Association Congressional Fellowship for Journalist. As a fellow, he spent nine months working on policy issues, including technology policy, in for a Member of the U.S. House of Representatives. He rejoined Ziff Davis in August 2003 as a reporter dedicated to online coverage for Along with Web conferencing, he follows search engines, Web browsers, speech technology and the Internet domain-naming system.

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