Cumulus Global in the News: Helping Google Apps Resellers Grow Their Businesses

Cumulus Global is sponsoring, and helping organize, this year’s gSocial Conference for Google Apps Resellers, ISVs, and consultants.  As covered by, PR Newswire, and others, gSocial 2012 is the independent conference for the Google Apps channel.

Scheduled for November 12th and 13th, 2012 at the Domain Hotel in Sunnyvale, the conference features over a dozen keynote, plenary, and workshop sessions.

More information is available at

Tech in the Classroom: Cool or School?

Attending the Massachusetts Computer Using Educators (MassCUE) conference this week is a great experience.  While we are excited to help some of the most innovative teachers and administrators learn more about using Google Apps and Chromebooks in the classroom, we are just as pleased to learn from them.

Schools are struggling to develop comprehensive plans for classroom computing.  Carts, one-to-one programs, and “bring your own device” (BYOD) programs are all in the mix. Beyond the technology selection, schools must address budget limitations and ensure fair access to solutions across the economic boundaries of students and families.

The “Cool” Factor

Add to the challenge: community pressure to use a “cool” technology.  School boards, administrators, and parents in many districts want to see new, cool technologies even if those technologies do not best meet the needs of the students or the educational program.

The most common example we have heard has been pressure to use iPads.  We agree, iPads are very cool.  With a wide array of apps, iPads bring the web, books, and video to life in a dynamic way.  They are lightweight, portable, and easy to use.

Easy to use, that is, until you need create content.  For all it’s strengths, iPads are not an efficient device for writing and editing.  Without a keyboard and with limited software options, iPads are not designed for serious data entry.  Typing a five paragraph essay or a term paper is not really feasible.  Educators and administrators discuss the difficulty in managing sync servers to get data off the devices, and that students given iPads still have a need for another device — laptop or desktop — to get their work done.

The perception, however, that iPad’s are a step forward and laptops are a step back creates pressure on schools to pick a technology that falls short of students’ needs.

Some New Options

Fortunately, schools are finding other options that may just meet the “cool” criteria. New tablets with attachable keyboards blend the touch screen, “post-PC”, experience with capabilities of a more traditional device.

Chromebooks, which lack the “touch” experience, are specifically designed to meet the challenges of web-based learning, one of the fastest growing trends in classroom computing.  They give students and teachers access to real-time and managed collaboration, video and multimedia capabilities, thousands of educational web sites and apps, and legacy applications via virtual desktop services.  Chromebooks, Chrome OS, and the Chrome OS Management Service also provide an ease of administration that can reduce administrative costs by 60% or more.  Pretty cool.

Picking a Path

The responsibility of selecting a student computing platform and program is not one to be envied.  Those making the hard decisions are making multi-year plans and committing large sums of money.  They deserve our support and the freedom to pick the best solution for the students and the school system.

Where is Your Cloud Bandwidth Bottleneck?

When speaking with companies and schools about moving to cloud solutions like Google Apps and Google Cloud Storage, we are often asked about bandwidth demands.  Many organizations worry that their current Internet connections are not sufficient for cloud computing.  While most organizations already have more than enough Internet bandwidth, they may still have performance bottlenecks from their internal network.

Many small and mid-size enterprises make infrastructure decisions, electing to save money with consumer grade and so-called “SMB” products.  In many instances, these products are not designed to handle business traffic.

WiFi Access Points: Low-end WiFi Access Points, or WAPs, are not designed for a large number, or large traffic, connections.  While these devices claim they can support dozens of devices, the reality is that their antennae systems, channel management, and software are not up  to the task.  These devices can bog down with collisions, reducing the effective bandwidth to near zero with as few as 5 or 10 active users.

Switches and Hubs: The same load considerations exist for low-end switches and hubs, particularly those with slower back-planes and less memory.  Traffic bursts can overload these devices, creating “collisions” that slow down your network.

Routers: Many entry level and SMB routers do not have the processor or back-plane speed needed to meet the traffic demands for today’s network.  The router between your network and the Internet needs to be fast, with the ability to buffer traffic, and provide network services.  While changing to cloud solutions may not dramatically alter the amount of traffic, it changes the pattern.  An underpowered router can slow traffic like a broken toll booth gate.

For most small and mid-size businesses, network performance planning for cloud solutions should start at the ends and work towards the middle.  Look at your Direct Internet Access capacity and your WiFi and move inwards to the router, hubs, and switches.  A well planned network will improve performance, reliability, and productivity.



Guest Post: Two Customer Reactions to a Data Breach

Originally posted by Bob Siegel, CEO of The Privacy Ref, this article looks at how a company’s response to a data breach can do as much damage as the breach itself.

TD Bank has notified their customers of a data breach through the  loss of a backup tape. Initial reports have said that the tapes contain  the account information and Social Security numbers of more than 267,000 customers on the US East Coast. The tape was not encrypted so, while the bank is unaware of any misuse of the information, anyone who does obtain the tape could easily read the information it contains.

I was with some TD Bank customers the day the data breach was acknowledged. There were two comments made that I hear anytime a breach occurs so I wanted to share them to help you protect your brand image in the event of a data loss.

It took too long to notify customers of the data breach

The first comment the people I spoke with made was that six months was too long for the bank to notify customers that a data breach occurred. TD Bank has said that they were investigating the incident during this period. The customers I spoke with took the view that the bank either had the tape or they didn’t, so why did it take so long to be notified. The customers felt that the delay put their accounts at further risk as well as increasing their exposure to identity theft.

Notice of a data breach to your customers needs to be timely. The definition of timely rests on the perception of the customer. Any time beyond the customers’ perception of timely may be seen as the investigation not having been a priority or, as seen by the comments above, that you are putting the customers at additional risk.

The more complex a breach is perceived to be the more time customers will tolerate for notification. For example, an intrusion into your systems is perceived to take longer to investigate than something that has been misplaced.

More should have been done to protect against the data breach

Hindsight is 20/20 and we begin thinking “if only we had….”. Hopefully we wil learn from each others’ experiences and improve our own programs.

In this case more should have been done to protect the data. TD Bank has customers in Massachusetts.  MA 201 CMR 17.00 provides standards of protection for personal information for residents of this commonwealth. Under this statute, the encryption of personal data that resides on portable devices is required. Personal information under the Massachusetts law includes financial account information or social security number in conjunction with first name or initial and last name. Massachusetts includes tapes as portable storage devices.

In my conversations with the bank’s customers they began to question the overall security procedures used in the bank’s data processing. This may be a large leap in thinking, but one that someone unfamiliar with IT practices may make.

Privacy professionals today recognize that for any organization it is not if a data breach will occur, but when will it occur. How the public perceives your communications about, response to, and the circumstances of the breach will have an impact on your brand image. Preparing a response plan before a data breach occurs is something every organization should do to minimize any impacts, including  brand damage, that may occur.


TrueSwitch and Other Email Migration Options

If you are moving from a hosted email service (other than to Google Apps, Google is releasing a new migration tool.  Partnering with TrueSwitch, Google is giving users the ability to migrate email from more than 50 different hosted email providers, automatically notify contacts of the new address, and forward email from the current provider to Google Apps.   As a third party tool, Google is only providing “best effort” support.

While has proven effective for users of the free Gmail service, businesses may elect to follow other migration paths for the following reasons: (1) TrueSwitch requires end user action or access to every end user account through the interface; (2) while the tool runs in the background, you need to be logged into the user account to check status; and (3) the tool is designed around personal email accounts.

Businesses may prefer to use other methods and services designed to migrate domains, rather than personal accounts.


Cumulus Global to Feature Web-Based Learning at MassCUE 2012 Conference

Westborough, MA – October 8, 2012 – Cumulus Global ( announced it will feature web-based learning solutions at the company’s first-ever participation in the MassCUE Technology Conference.  Cumulus Global will conduct live demonstrations of how Chromebooks and Google Apps for Education combine to provide students with better access to educational resources, expand collaborative learning, and improve student-teacher interaction. Cumulus Global will be at Booth 219 on October 24th and 25th.

“Google Apps is much more than email, it creates a learning platform that empowers students and teachers to work together, providing students access to productivity tools without expensive hardware or software,” stated Allen Falcon, CEO of Cumulus Global.  “Chromebooks give students a fully web-connected computer at a fraction of the cost of laptops and netbooks and without the expensive administrative overhead.”

While many schools begin with carts, providing Chromebooks to students in specific classes and subjects, districts are starting to deploy Chromebooks as part of a one-to-one program.  As a web-centric device, students can access educational applications and resources without the limitation of an “app store”.

“While other devices get more press, Chromebooks deliver more value in the classroom”, notes Falcon.  “Students can write and edit papers, create presentations, and work with video.  Schools can manage Chromebooks without the complexity and cost that comes with iPads and traditional laptops.”

With a full keyboard, mousepad, 12.1” screen, and HD audio and video, Chromebooks enable students to complete papers, presentations, and projects with the ability to share, collaborate, and get feedback directly from teachers.  Chromebooks are more secure than laptops, with automatic operating system updates, built-in malware protection, and no local user profiles or local data. The ChromeOS Management Service gives administrators full control over the devices without monthly updates and expensive imaging/ghosting systems.

Google Apps Vault for Education has Arrived

vault-icon-150x150We are pleased to announce the Google Vault is available for K-12 schools and districts, and higher education institutions.  And, the price is right.

Google Apps Vault

Google Apps Vault provides in-place archiving for Gmail and Talk.  Archiving for Google Docs content is expected in the not too distant future.  Google Apps Vault is fully integrated with Google Apps, using the cPanel for management.  Like Postini/Google Message Archive & Discovery, there is no space limit for Vault accounts.  Unlike Postini, retention is indefinite — no more limitation at 10 years retention.

EDU Pricing

For K-12 Schools, Google Apps Vault lists at $10 per user per year.  Coverage must be purchased for all faculty/staff accounts; student accounts are provided at no cost.   This represents a savings of $1 per user per year (for most schools) that would otherwise use Google Message Discovery 10 Year Retention for faculty and staff emails; and a significant cost savings for student accounts.

Things to Know

As with any change, there are some considerations.  Google Apps Vault preserves data so long as the underlying Google Apps account exists.  If you need to maintain records after an employee leaves, then the Google Apps account should be suspended and not deleted. This does mean that you will continue to pay for the account when maintaining and archive.

What if you are running Postini, aka Google Message Archive & Discovery?

If you are running Message Archive & Discovery, Google will migrate your service to the new Google Apps Vault platform.  Currently, these transitions are beginning with commercial (Business) customers.  When it is time to transition, Google will handle all of the data migration and we, Cumulus Global, will be working with you to make sure you can take advantage of the new features and capabilities.