Collaborative Inbox – A Solution You Want

You have a team:  maybe they provide customer support, maybe they process applications, maybe they sell.

You want your team to share an inbox — an email identity — BUT you want and need more than a distribution list.

You want your team to …

  • Track their work process
  • Know which messages have been answered or processed
  • Know that duplicate message do not trigger duplicate work
  • Have defined roles and responsibilities
  • Be able to filter and delegate work appropriately

What you want is finally here:  Google Groups Collaborative Inbox.

The 2 minute video provides a great overview.  Contact us for more info or for help getting started.


Cumulus Global CEO: “Nexus 7 Fits with Google Apps Ecosystem”

In an interview with CRN, Cumulus Global CEO Allen Falcon agrees that the Nexus 7 tablet fits with the Google Apps Ecosystem and may lead to increased sales of Google Apps and Chromebooks for Business.

Backing up Google Apps: A Smart Idea or a Needed Service?

As companies move their systems and data from on-premise servers into cloud computing solutions, companies maintain control of their data.  Control over the systems that house the data, however, belongs to the cloud provider.  The same is true for businesses moving to Google Apps.

When businesses move to Google Apps, they are trusting Google’s fault-tolerant, grid-based architecture to run with any disruptions due to hardware or software failures.  But a reliable system cannot prevent all forms of data loss.

  • 75% of incidents involving sensitive data lossare caused by human error, according to the IT Policy Compliance Group, as reported in PC World.
  • 32% of data loss is due to user error, according to Gartner surveys, cited by the SANS Institute.
  • 70% of companies go out of business after a major data loss, according to DTI as cited by the SANS Institute.

While Google protects you from data loss due to system failure, Google cannot protect you from data loss due to user error (or malicious act).

Nor can Google protect you from data loss or corruption caused by third party applications. These applications pose new and different risks as these application range from integrated applications installed through the Google Apps cPanel to tablet and smart phone apps users may install themselves on personal devices.  In the emerging world of Bring Your Own Device (BYOD), monitoring and managing third party applications is a challenge.

Given the risks, backing up your data in Google Apps seems smart, but is it necessary and worth the expense?

If information is lost or damaged, the cost can be staggering.  Lost contract amendments may prevent a business from getting paid in full; Missing emails can create customer service nightmares;  Corrupt data can cause employees and customers to lose confidence in your business.

And beyond tangible losses, the cost of recovery adds up quickly.  Losing a day’s worth of work costs more than the lost day.  Recovery takes time and resources and disrupt your normal business activities.  A loss of one day of work that takes one day to recovery, actually costs your business 3 to 5 days of lost productivity.

In comparison, protecting your data in Google Apps from user error and third party applications costs between $3 and $8 per user per month.  Given the value of your data, the cost and impact of lost data, and the cost of recovery, backing up your data in Google Apps is an affordable insurance policy.

Affordable protection for your data is a service you should want and probably need.

Cumulus Global Launches Google Sites Design Services With Kirksville Web Design

Cumulus Global ( announced today a new partnership with Kirksville Web Design ( and the immediate launch of new Google Sites design and development services.

These services will provide businesses, schools, non-profits, and governments with access to affordable site design and development services for intranet sites, project management sites, secure customer portals, and public web sites.  In addition to offering site design, Cumulus Global and Kirksville Web Design will create Google Site and Page Templates that allow organizations to build and grow their sites themselves.

“We are excited to be helping organizations take advantage of the full range of collaboration tools within Google Apps,”  noted Allen Falcon, CEO of Cumulus Global. “The team at Kirksville Web Design brings creative, design, and development expertise to the process of building effective Google Sites.”

Google Apps provides organizations with much more than a hosted email solution. Features such as Talk, Sites, Forms, Docs, Video, and Drive, give individuals and organizations better tools for communicating and collaborating.  Whether improving work flow among co-workers or delivering better customer service, Google Apps makes it easier to securely share information while improving accessibility.

About Cumulus Global
Cumulus Global ( is Cloud Solutions Provider and a Google Apps Premier SMB Reseller helping small and mid-size businesses, non-profits, governments, and educational institutions move from in-house systems to cloud computing solutions.  Serving clients from 1 to more than 1,000 employees across numerous industries, we align technology with our clients’ goals, objectives, and bottom lines. We leverage our expertise, vendor relationships, and a diversified range of best-of-breed cloud services to create custom solutions with tangible value. In addition to Google Apps, Cumulus Global offers a range of cloud-based security, storage, and server solutions.

About Kirksville Web Design
Kirksville Web Design ( is on the cusp of innovation and web design by incorporating Google Sites and subsidiary applications to meet customers’ communication and marketing needs.  We create clean, modern sites with high visibility at affordable fees.  We teach, train, and consult to bring companies success in their online marketing and website management.  In just three years, Kirksville Web Design has completed more than 300 Google Sites design and development projects.


Do Your IT Choices Help or Hurt Your Ability to Hire the Best Talent?

When you think of your IT decisions, you probably think of features, functions, cost, operations, and, hopefully, how well your IT decisions support your business goals and objectives.

Have you, however, ever considered if your IT decisions impact your ability to hire the best talent? Just like your reputation as an employer, office space, and benefits package make an impression on prospective employees, so does your IT.

Case in Point: Blackberry.  As recently as two years ago, most companies picked a carrier, a few models of phones, and provided them to employees.  Blackberry was on top.  With the rapid expansion of smartphone capabilities, a growing number of employees chose to opt-out of the company option and use their personal device.  Businesses obliged and “Bring Your Own Device” is becoming the norm (as are Android and IOS devices).  After all, why limit your employees to a lesser solution that makes them less productive?

Why would a potential employee want to work at a company where the technology is a step backward?

With the adoption rate of cloud computing solutions, such as Google Apps, at universities, high schools, and even grade and middle schools exploding, your future employees are already used to working in an IT environment that enables communication and collaboration in ways traditional in-house systems cannot.

The people you want to hire already …

  • Use on-line and real-time collaboration.
  • Expect secure access to information from any device they choose, wherever they are working, without the headaches and challenges of VPNs and remote desktop solutions.
  • Take advantage of integrated communication services.
  • Expect constant improvements in the IT services they use.

So when the people you want to hire walk into your business, what do they see?  Do they see the dynamic, responsive, IT infrastructure that they know and love?  Or, do they see reliance on centralized information silos, collaboration via email attachments, limited access to information and their peers, and an environment that only sees improvements every three to five years?

As you plan your next round of IT upgrades and changes, avoid inertia and look beyond the next version of the status quo.  Look at IT solutions that can fundamentally change and improve the ability of your knowledge workers to communicate and collaborate — to use their knowledge.  Look at IT solutions that scale as your business evolves.  Look at IT solutions that give your business the power of continuous innovation.

Look at Cloud Computing.  Look at Google Apps.

Tuesday Take-Away: 6 Ways to Protect IP within Google Apps

While some remain suspect of security and privacy with cloud computing, Google Apps actually offers ways to help protect and preserve a company’s Intellectual Property (“IP”) that are not readily available in traditional, in-house systems.  Why worry about IP? Because as business becomes more electronic, your contracts, agreements, change orders, and work product are more likely to be written, reviewed, updated, and negotiated on-line. Protecting your documents, data, and information means protecting your business.

Let’s Get Technical

Google Apps’ underlying data management is Write Once; Ready Many (aka “WORM”). In other words, once information is saved in Google’s system it cannot be altered.  Unlike MS Exchange or a Windows File Server on which a Domain Administrator can alter any existing content anywhere, once data is saved in Google Apps, it cannot be modified.

Granted, you can reply to an email and modify the embedded copy of the original message. But, the original message is still saved as it was received.  Similarly, you can open a Google Doc and modify the content, but the revision history is there and you can go back to a prior versions.

The big risk to WORM is the power to delete … but we have a solution for that too.

Here are Six Ways To Protect Your IP with Google Apps:


1) Comments in Google Docs

Even if you switch to MS Word for your final formatting, draft your documents in Google Docs using the “Insert Comment” feature.  By keeping editing writes to yourself and giving comments only permission to your associates, you have full control of the document’s contents.  You associates — be they co-workers, a client, or opposing council — have the ability to highlight portions of the document and comment.  Whether they ask questions or suggest alternate wording, you can reply in-kind via comment as you edit the document.

Once final agreement is reached, you can “resolve” the comment.  While it disappears from view, it is part of the permanent history of the document.

Imagine two lawyers discussing and agreeing to the intent of a contract clause.  If an issue were to come up at some point in the future, any discussion of the ‘original intent’ of the clause would be cut short by the comment thread saved at the time.

2) Message Discovery (now); Google Vault (soon)

As noted above, the big risk to IP in Google Docs is deletion.  Google Message Discovery (GMD) available to all Google Apps users,  provide a secure, compliant archive of all inbound, outbound, and internal email messages with retention of up to 10 years.  The service provides search and e-discovery tools as well.

Imagine a client refusing to pay for work that was not “officially authorized”.  With GMD in place, you can produce the email thread discussing the work and providing the authorization.

Google Vault, available to new Google Apps customers now and all Google Apps users in the near future, extends the archiving ability of Google Apps in several ways.   Google Vault recognizes that you IP is not just in email and that your retention needs will vary.  Google Vault lets you:

  • Archive email, instant messages, and documents
  • Provide unlimited retention of archived information
  • Take advantage of the WORM underpinnings of Google Apps to maintain and protect your IP.

3) Google Drive and Docs

In our increasingly electronic world, more work gets done on the go.  By implementing Google Drive, your users have the ability to work locally while synchronizing and saving files automatically in Google Docs.  Beyond providing a convenient way to work — online or offline — Google Drive provides a level of protection for your IP from local hardware issues.  Combined with a backup/recovery strategy (see below), you have even better data protection.

Also, by adding additional space, you can also strategically create a secure file sharing structure where ownership of folders and files mimics traditional file server models.

4) Protected Folders

One way to protect IP is to ensure that final documents are tamper-proof and protected from deletion.  You can prevent critical documents from being editing or deleted by setting up protected folders.  These folders provide defined view permission, but will prevent users from tampering or removing critical information from within Google Docs.

CloudLock is one such service that lets you create protected folders.  In doing so, you can also determine who can add files to these folders, who can view folder content, and which administrative account manages the folders.

5) Backup / Restore

While Google Apps prevents data loss from hardware/software issues and provides version histories, Google Apps cannot prevent user mistakes or acts of malice.  Files not protected from deletion (see above) are vulnerable.  Additionally, you still need to protect against problems that can occur on any file server, such as uploading and sharing virus-infected files.

Given that in users have critical data in each of the Google Apps services, tools like Backupify offer a broad range of protection.  Backupify protects user content in email, calendar, contacts, docs, and sites.

6) Permissions Monitoring

Google Apps makes collaboration easy.  And, while you can restrict users ability to share to some extent, understanding the visibility of IP within and outside your business, and monitoring your documents for changes in exposure is an emerging best practice.

A key element of the CloudLock service are the ability to monitor changes in document permissions, the ability to change document ownership, and the emerging ability to set alerts based on keywords and business rules.

Wrap Up

When moving your data from in-house systems to Google Apps or other cloud services, you want and need to make sure that your data is at least, if not more, secure and private. Just as with in-house systems, you have tools and services available to manage and protect your intellectual property when using cloud solutions.  Google Apps provides a great foundation with an infrastructure designed to protect data with every save.  Integrated, third party tools like CloudLock and Backupify, along with new features in Google Apps itself, provide a manageable, secure, ecosystem.

Gerry Gross Joins Cumulus Global for North American Cloud Sales

Boston, MA – June 12, 2012 – Cumulus Global announced today the addition of Gerry Gross to its North American Cloud Sales team. Gerry will help small and mid-size businesses, schools, and local governments move from in-house or hosted technologies to cloud-based solutions.

“We are excited to have Gerry on the team,” noted Allen Falcon, CEO of Cumulus Global. “Gerry’s background delivering wireless services to small businesses gives him a unique understanding of remote and mobile computing — a key factor for many businesses considering cloud computing.”

Prior to joining Cumulus Global, Gerry owned and operated several Verizon Wilress stores in Central Massachusetts and served as a sales and business development executive for a regional B2B Verizon Wireless representative. Moving beyond consumer sales and service, Gerry focused on serving the needs of small and mid-size businesses with an emphasis on solutions and customer service.

Tuesday Take-Away: Chromebook Updates = More Value

Over the past four months, we have helped more than 50 schools and school districts introduce Chromebooks or expand their use of Chromebooks.  While some schools are creating carts that can move between classrooms, others are using Chromebooks as tools for specific learning modules and curricula and as their preferred device for 1:1 student computing programs.

Recent Chromebook Updates — hardware, software, and program — further enhance the value of Chromebooks for schools, libraries, and businesses.

New Chromebook Model

The new Samsung Chromebook Series-5 550 performs 3 times faster than the original Series-5 system, and includes may other improvements:

  • Double the RAM (4GB)
  • Intel Celeron Processor, an upgrade from the Atom processor in prior units
  • HD Webcam
  • Intel 3000 Graphics accelerator
  • Expanded external display options with a DisplayPort++ supporting VGA, DVI, and HDMI monitors
  • ChromeOS Management Service

New Chromebox

The new Chromebox is a notepad-sized computer designed to replace desktop systems where cloud-based apps are the norm and/or where VDI services are available for legacy applications. They also work well for kiosks and as public access computers in libraries.

The Chromebox features:

  • 4GB RAM
  • Intel Celeron Processor
  • Intel 3000 Graphics accelerator
  • External display options with a DisplayPort++ supporting VGA, DVI, and HDMI monitors
  • 6 USB 2.0 ports
  • ChromeOS Management Service

ChromeOS Updates

Google is currently releasing a new version of ChromeOS.  The new version includes features that look and feel more familiar to most users.  These include:

  • Multiple browser windows
  • The ability to move and re-size windows
  • A “desktop” space for listing and launching applications and web site

Initial feedback from our customers is very positive.

ChromeOS Management Service

One of the benefits of Chromebooks for Business and Chromebooks for Education is the integrated ChromeOS Management Service.  In changing the licensing structure of the service, the ChromeOS Management Service is now a “lifetime” license.  Google guarantees the ChromeOS Management Service will be supported for each Chromebook/Chromebox model for at least 3 years from the date the model is no longer available for sale.

Additionally, we can now offer the ChromeOS Management Service for Chromebooks that were purchased from retail outlets.

For more information about Chromebooks for Education and Chromebooks for Business, or to discuss if Chromebooks fit your “use cases”, please contact us for a free consultation.


Friday Thought: Google Drive – Yield Before Your Leap

Google (finally) announced and began releasing Google Drive.  For those not in the know, Google Drive is cloud storage available as a stand-alone service or as a component of Google Apps.  The stand-alone version included 5GB of storage for free with affordable plans for more space — a direct competitive threat to services like Dropbox and Box.  Both versions include sync clients for PCs, MACs, and iPhone/iPad that give you standard desktop/folder access to your data in the cloud.

Google Drive for Business

Google Drive for Business is a new component to Google Apps for Business that will roll out to customers over the next several weeks.  While the business version shares the device sync tool with the consumer version, it offers much more to the business customer:

  • Control over which users can use the service and which users can download and use the sync clients.
  • Control over which, if any, users can purchase additional storage independently
  • The ability to centrally purchase storage and allocate storage to users as needed


  • You can now more easily use and integrate Google Docs as your file service; users can more easily collaborate and share information.
  • Users can work locally using their current desktop applications and files will be saved and shared in their Google Docs folders.
  • Users can have secure access to files from computers, tablets, and smart phones without the overhead of a VPN service.
  • Storage for uploaded or sync’d files in “native” formats has increased to 5 GB per user.


  • Unlike an on-premise file server, Google Drive does not lock open files.  While you have version tracking, if two individuals are locally editing the same file, the most recent copy to sync will be the current version.
  • Users may quickly fill up their 5GB of space; additional storage is affordable.
  • Because sharing is easy, businesses should have policies and processes in place to oversee and manage permissions.

Deployment Strategy

In our experience, your Google Drive deployment strategy will focus on how you decide to manage your storage.  While nice, 5 GB per user will not be sufficient for most businesses, particularly since the space is user-specific.  Adding space is affordable, and will be necessary.

When you add space to Google Docs and Drives, you are actually subscribing to the additional space on a per user basis.  Licenses range in size from 20 GB to 16 TB at a monthly cost of $0.10 per GB or less (with no bandwidth and get/put charges).  While this strategy works, it will require monitoring space usage on a per user basis.

Another approach is to add a user account to serve as your file service.  In doing so, you purchase additional storage only for this “user” and configure the space along the lines of a traditional file server.  You have the freedom to create and share your top level folders and folder trees, and users will be able to see the file service as “Shared with Me”.  Users can then move folders to “My Drive” if they want the information available locally on their PC or Mac.

A central storage strategy also enables additional storage management options.  Tools like CloudLock Vault — a tool to monitor permissions and create tamper-proof and protected folders — run best when the space is owned by a generic file service administration account.


Almost always, there is more than one option.  As an alternative to Google Drive, tools like SyncDocs provide the ability to sync Google Docs (with or without extra storage) to a local file structure.  In some ways, SyncDocs offers a better user experience.  SyncDocs has more options with respect to folder location, the ability to select which Google Doc folders to sync locally, and the ability to specify conversion preferences.

When looking at Google Drive and its alternatives, we recommend walking through a few use cases to see which piece of software best meets your needs.


Google Drive, combined with Google Docs and additional space, provides Google Apps users with more opportunity to simplify file services.  Moving file services to the cloud is a logical next step for many businesses, as it can further reduce and simplify your IT footprint well beyond replacing a file server.  The need for VPN and expensive remote access servers can be greatly reduced or eliminated.

If you want to learn more or join us for a demo, please let us know.