Postini is Moving, But Not Going Away

Earlier this month, Google announced a major change for users of Postini email security services, including the Google Message Security and Message Archive & Discovery Services.  If you listen to the FUD (fear, uncertainty, and doubt) spewing from competitors, you would think that Google is about to abandon some its best customers.

Here are the facts:

  • Google is moving Postini services from the legacy Postini data centers onto Google’s more advanced infrastructure.
  • Before the migrations begin, Google is adding functionality to Google Apps’ spam and virus services that are not yet present:
    • Policy-Based TLS Encryption is in the current Scheduled Release Track
    • Daily Quarantine Summary messages and expanded blatant spam protection are planned
  • Postini users will have the same features and services after the migration that they have today.
  • The Postini Administration Console will be replaced by cPanel settings and modules that will simplify the interface and make management of the services more intuitive.
  • Migrations will begin in the first quarter of 2013, starting with Google Message Security customers.  Message Archive & Discovery services will migrate to Google Apps Vault.  These migration will happen later.
  • Google will publish a migration path for Google Message Encryption users in the near future.
  • Pricing for services will remain the same.
  • After the migration, Postini customers will have access to additional features, including Google Apps services other than Gmail.  Message Archive & Discovery customers will be able to archive instant messages sent/received via Google Talk and, in the future, documents stored in Google Docs.

Our Analysis:

When Google migrated Google Apps customers running the embedded Postini services to the new spam/virus protection in Google Apps, customers did notice a difference.  Most notable were differences in the scope of blatant spam filtering and the elimination of the daily quarantine summary.

For users of “stand-alone” Postini services, Google is filling in the functionality gaps and has committed to fully equivalent services.  Beyond that, Google is providing Postini users with added features and benefits of Google’s infrastructure.  Whether or not a company is interested in access to Google Docs and other services, the Google Apps infrastructure will provide greater performance and reliability.

Our Recommendation:

We recommend companies stay with Postini and go through the migration process.  With comparable features and functions, access to additional services, and simplified management tools, companies should benefit from the changes.  The scope and quality of services are worth waiting for and trying, before deciding if there is any need to look elsewhere.


Lower Legal Bills: Real Value From Google Apps

One of the most tiresome and expensive aspects of contract negotiations is the “redlining” process that takes place as both parties wordsmith the legalese to accurately reflect the agreement and the intent of the parties.

As both parties, using “track changes” make modifications, the document becomes a rainbow of colored words with strike-through, underline, and change bars.  Multiple copies of each version — with and without changes visible (to keep the documents readable)  — zip back and forth as email attachments.  With each iteration, it takes more time and effort to understand, assess, and process the proposed wording.  As important, the history of what was written two versions or more in the past is often lost.

Both parties waste time — and money — keeping track of versions while trying to agree on wording, meaning, and intent.

Stop the Madness !!

Enter Google Apps for Business and the Comments feature in Google Docs.

One party creates or converts the initial draft agreement into a Document in Google Docs and grants the other party “Comment” permissions.  Both parties can now highlight text, suggest new wording, and make notes about intent.  As the parties add comments, the other party is notified so that the discussion keeps moving forward.

Each party can respond directly to the other’s comments in the document or by responding to the notification emails.  The owner of the document and make edits, solicit feedback, and get acceptance.  As the parties agree to intent and wording, they “resolve” each comment thread.  While the thread is no longer visible, it is a permanent part of the document.

When the parties are in full agreement, and all comment threads are inactive, the results are stunning.  The parties end up with:

  • A clean document ready for printing and signatures (physical or electronic)
  • A full record of all of the comment threads — discussions leading to agreement — on the wording, meaning, and intent of the document’s content
  • A full revision history of changes made to the document over the course of the negotiations

And, most importantly, these results did not require the time and money usually wasted managing multiple versions and files, figuring out file names and last modified dates, or playing with “track changes” and “compare documents”.

The results you want and need, more efficiently.  Real Value from Google Apps.


Guest Post: What is my Gmail account really worth?

Originally posted on the by Jay Garmon, here is a way to assess the value of your Google Apps account … or at least just the email.

What, exactly, is your Gmail account worth to you?

That’s a complicated question but, at first blush, we’d guess about …roughly…$3,588.85.

That’s the value of the time invested in the average Gmail account, given how many emailsFile:Moneyenvelopeemail.png the average Gmail user has written (5,768), how long it takes to write the average email (one minute, 43 seconds), and the most recent U.S. Depart of Labor statistics on average annual salary ($45,230). In other words, if the average Gmail user were paid to recreate all the Gmail messages he or she’s ever written, it would cost $3,588.85.

How much is your Gmail account worth to you (and how do you stack up to the average Gmail user)? We built a Gmail Value Calculator to help you find out.

Just log in with your Gmail account, input your salary data, and the Gmail Value Calculator will determine:

  • How much your Gmail account is worth to you, in dollars
  • How many messages you send and receive per day
  • How much Gmail storage you use per day
  • Your average Gmail message size
  • Your Gmail Personality Index, which compares your Gmail usage to the average and determines whether you’re more extroverted or verbose than the typical Gmail user

Head over to, click the Autofill with Google button (it’s much easier than manually filling out your data), specify your salary, and in seconds you’ll learn what your Gmail account is worth to you.

It’s important to note that this number — how much of your time have you’ve spent writing emails multiplied by how much your time is worth — determines the minimum value of your Gmail account. In truth, your Gmail account is probably worth a lot more.

The $3,588.85 average figure doesn’t include the value of all the email you’ve received, the value of the time spent reading email, the value of any attachments included in your emails, or the simple fact that some emails are simply irreplaceable — especially if you lose them at the worst possible moment. (We’ve got a whole whitepaper devoted to parsing out the math on this issue.)

The average Gmail account is worth at least $3,588.85, but very likely a great deal more. Still, even that minimum figure is pretty impressive — as our Gmail Value Infographic explains. The text-friendly highlights are:

  • Your Gmail is worth $3,588.85, and increases by about $1,196 per year
  • You “spend” as much in Gmail every year as you do on your car
  • Your Gmail is worth five times as much as your laptop
  • Your Gmail represents over four weeks of wages
  • You store one old-school floppy disk (1.44 MB) of Gmail data every day

The complete Gmail Value Infographic is below. Click the image to view it all full size.


Inbox Size versus Email Relevance

Now that many email services are matching Google Apps’ 25GB inbox, the IT folks areA Clean Inbox wondering if users really need that much space and if mailbox limits are still a good practice.  For most companies, the answer lies in how users use email.

Most emails lose value over time.  Like most conversations, the value of the discussion itself fades once the conclusion or result is reached.  Granted, emails dealing with legal, contract, or financial issues have historical value and should be kept around.  But think about the back-and-forth emails for scheduling a lunch meeting and picking a location.  The conversation is fine; the end result is what really matters.

Use and content are more important than size. For users that do not have mobile access to documents, saving emails with attachments may be the only way to access important information in a timely manner.  For these users, large mailboxes seem useful.

For users addressing customer service issues, emails from past cases create unnecessary clutter in the inbox and folders that can lead to disorganization and inefficiencies.  For these users, limiting inbox sizes forces organization.  Combined with an archive, customer related information is not lost while users have a cleaner environment.

And while some users believe that they need to keep everything and that they will need access to any past email at any point in the future, reality dictates that the need to go back to old emails is very limited.  For these users, the discussion is philosophical more than pragmatic.

The challenge for the IT team, is that nearly every organization has all types of users.

You can provide a common solution. Instead of focusing on “how much” space to provide users, focus on “information value”.  Users should have immediate access to information contained in emails that they need to perform efficiently and effectively.

Taking this point of view, email services can meet all user needs when:

  • Users have local, remote, and mobile access to collaboration tools and shared file services, eliminating the need for sending documents as attachments.
  • The system automatically archives email messages, potentially indefinitely, for future viewing by the end user.
  • Users can automatically groom they size of their inbox and email folders based on age, rather than volume, letting users keep and focus on information with the greatest value.

Creating an email service with these attributes eliminates concerns about remote/mobile access, sending/receiving messages with large attachments, and user efficiency.

The good news: The integrated tools within Google Apps — Gmail, Docs, Drive, and remote services — along with Google Apps Vault (or Message Archive & Discovery) deliver this ecosystem without complex configuration and expensive infrastructure.

3 Non-IT Benefits of Google Apps

When most companies consider moving to cloud computing solutions, in general, and Google Apps, in particular, the decision making process is often IT-centric.  Decision makers focus on the features, cost, and impact of the change.

While not surprising, the decision should really be business-centric.

What value will moving to Google-Apps bring to the business, beyond the direct impact on IT?

In a recent Executive Briefing, we presented answers based on a formal study of more than 100 companies that switched to Google Apps for Business.  Here are three of the highlights:

1) Individual worker productivity gains of 5% to 25%

2) Sales increases of 1% to 4%

3) Travel expenses drop by 5% to 18%

While features, reliability, and cost are all reasons to look at changing technologies, the business benefits should guide the decision process.

MAC Users: Hold Off on Mountain Lion

It seems that Apple may be taking lessons from Microsoft and releasing Operating Systems before they are ready.  A few quick searches show that Mountain Lion, the most recent version of OS X, has many weird issues.

More importantly, both Lion and Mountain Lion are having trouble with connecting to IMAP email services, including Google Apps.  Again, looking around the web, upgrading to Mountain Lion may break your Gmail/Google Apps connection.

If you have upgraded and are having trouble, feel free to contact us under your support contract.  We also welcome inquiries from companies interested in Google Apps support services.