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Dreamforce 2008 Google has stepped up efforts to have business customers dump Microsoft's PC and server-bound productivity and business software for Google Apps.

The search giant is trying to overcome lingering reservations big customers might have on the security of the facilities and the personnel behind the scenes of its hosted productivity applications and email.

Dave Gigouard, the president of Google's enterprise business, used Salesforce.com's Dreamforce to announce the trainspottery fact Google Apps have been certified as SAS 70 Type II compliant.

For the uninitiated, certification means physical security, data and security and integrity, internal procedures and defined workplace codes have met independent standards laid down by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA).

Gigourard claimed Google Apps - announced in 2007 - now has 10 million active business users, with fast uptake in small and mid-market companies. Large businesses have been slower to adopt. Such companies are either culturally or legally constrained in the portions of their IT or data they can outsource.

Gigourard said certification is a "great way" to win over more big customers.

He claimed Google Apps are posing a challenge to Microsoft, with 3,000 new business customers each day. He was careful to draw the distinction with consumer users of its services. "Our friends up in Redmond like to dismiss the impact Google Apps is having. I hope he [sic] believes it. The numbers speak for themselves - the numbers are unbelievable," Gigourard said.

He went on to highlight a recent expansion in Google Apps' service level agreement (SLA). Users on the Premier Edition of Google Apps now get a 99.9 per cent per-month uptime guarantee for Gmail, Calendar, Docs, Sites, and Google Talk. That translates as a commitment to no more than 45 minutes of downtime a month. The SLA follows recent outages in Gmail. ®

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