Chapter Thirty One. Achieving Usable Security in Groove Virtual Office

George Moromisato, Paul Boyd, and Nimisha Asthagiri

WHEN WE DESIGNED GROOVE VIRTUAL OFFICE , we struggled to balance security and usability. Ray Ozzie, whose vision we were executing, set out the following core principles early in the design phase:

  • Users should not be required to be administrators. Users care about getting their work done. They are not interested in setting up accounts, configuring network topologies, or distributing security keys. Groove Virtual Office should “just work.”

  • The highest possible level of security should be built into the system from day one.

Ozzie’s experience creating Lotus Notes convinced him that users care about security and privacy and that a robust security infrastructure would be necessary in the globally connected Internet. Unfortunately, these two core principles conflict. High-security systems are often not usable; and often, in the quest to be usable, security is traded off. How we reconciled these two conflicting principles and how we developed a user-friendly security model for Groove Virtual Office are the subjects of this chapter.

About Groove Virtual Office

Groove Virtual Office (GVO) is a peer-to-peer-based solution that allows distributed groups to share information inside and outside an organization. Many enterprises today need to share information with clients or remote workers outside of the corporate network. Thus, GVO encrypts data over the wire automatically. ...

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