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Fast Fact Friday: Trusting Cloud Security

Fast FactAccording to a recent survey of 950 IT executives and staff members by BetterCloud found that:

IT Execs are 29% less likely than their staff to say their team lacks full control over their SaaS applications

IT Staff are 56% more than their bosses likely to feel they lack full visibility into SaaS applications

IT Staff are 139% more likely than IT Execs to believe the former employees still have access to company data


Are you moving to the cloud? Is your roadmap in line with your business goals? Contact us for a no-obligation Cloud Advisor session.


 

Fast Fact Friday: SMB IT in the Cloud

fastfacts2According to a survey of 1,500 SMB IT leaders by BetterCloud in the spring of 2015 …

49% of SMBs expect to run 100% of their IT in the cloud by 2020.


Are you moving to the cloud? Is your roadmap in line with your business goals? Contact us for a no-obligation Cloud Advisor session.


 

Third Party Apps: The Overlooked Data Risk

Privacy Button
It is easy to overlook. You see a cool app and install it on your phone. You see the prompt asking you for permissions. It is not clear what the app wants to access or why, but you want the app. You click “Grant” or “Allow” and away you go. Some third party now has access to your contacts, you schedule, and maybe even your files. 
Whether mobile apps, browser extensions, or freemium apps, your user community is installing apps and tools and granting access to your data. And while most apps are harmless and well-behaved, one rogue app can be a disaster.

Not all Apps are Trustworthy

Not every app, and not every app provider, is trustworthy.  And since most apps need access to some of your data in order to function, permissions should not be granted without some forethought. Preventing individual users from installing apps and granting permissions, however, is nearly impossible. Most small and midsize organizations have neither the money or resources to micromanage browsers and mobile devices — especially in our BYOD world.

There is a better way

Fortunately, for those of us running Google Apps and other cloud services, we have affordable solutions for monitoring and managing third party app access to your data.

Our Recommendation

If you are running Google Apps, we generally recommend BetterCloud Enterprise as our preferred solution for several reasons:

  • The Domain Health and Insight Center provides you with activity reports, alerts, and advanced reporting
  • Bettercloud includes a robust suite of Google Apps admin tools that are not available in the Google Apps Admin Console, including bulk actions, dynamic groups, and a user deprovisioning wizard
  • BetterCloud monitors and lets you manage third party app access to any data within Google Apps, and provides a trust rating to help you determine which applications pose a risk
  • BetterCloud monitors activity in Drive against business rules to ensure compliance with data privacy policies and regulations. BetterCloud will proactively modify permissions and send alerts to prevent accidental or intentional violations.

Our Offer

While there is a minimum fee for BetterCloud Enterprise, you can try BetterCloud for free for up to 30 days.  If you like what you see, we will waive the setup fees.  If not, you can keep running the Domain Health and Insight Center for free.

 

Not Using Google Drive? You Are Not Alone

google-drive-icon
CIO Magazine recently published a report claiming that 80% of Google for Work customers with more than 1,000 users are not utilizing Google Drive. The statistic is based on whether or not users worked with Drive at least once per month. This is disappointing given that studies show the powerful benefits realized when the collaborative features of Drive are fully utilized.

While the report does not discuss why Drive adoption is low, we have our suspicions.

Peer-to-peer file services do not scale — not without some help

In Drive (and oneDrive and other cloud file services), users create their own folders and share them with individual and teams. Each user “owns” their space and their files and to find a file, it helps to know who shared it with you. And, without central management, naming conventions, and other controls, it is difficult to control and manage access to sensitive information.  While these file services are not as challenging as Windows for Workgroups (circa 1992), they come pretty darn close.  Users familiar with a central file structure are easily frustrated with peer-to-peer sharing and file services.

“Security” is confused with “Sharing”

Yes, Google recently announced that Ernst & Young has verified the ISO 27018 cloud privacy standard for Google Drive. But when users think of security, they are concerned about sharing — or permissions — of their files. In any cloud file service, it can be difficult to fully understand who will have access to the file you are creating or uploading.  And, the nuances of Google Drive can take time to learn.

For example, when sharing a link for a Google Doc with a person that does not currently have permissions, you are prompted to allow anybody with the link to view (or comment, or edit) the document. If your intended recipient forwards the message, access is available to others outside your original intention.

In Drive, and other similar services, the relationship between exposure (who can see, view, edit the file with or without credentials) and explicit access permissions has a learning curve that is often overlooked.  People will avoid using Drive if they are worried about exposure and permissions.

The rules are a bit different

Google Drive is more flexible, and in many respects more powerful, than traditional Windows and Linux file shares. This power, however, can be distracting to end users. Having multiple documents with identical names in a folder, for example, throws many for a loop. It’s not intuitive given their experience and it can create confusion as to which document is correct or current.

Using Drive and other cloud file services is different, but you can take steps to ease the transition and improve adoption.

Train Your Users: 

Beyond the basic “clicks and drags” of Google Drive, help your users learn and understand how to use Drive effectively. Cover permission settings so they understand how to share safely and with confidence. Discuss document naming and version management, including how to upload new versions of documents without creating duplicates. Help them learn now to navigate drive, use the search bar effectively, and launch applications from within the web interface.

Create a Managed File Service:

With an affordable add-on, you can overlay a more traditional file server structure onto Google Drive. Tools like AODocs File Server, you can add the aspects of a traditional file server to Drive:

  • Central ownership and control of space, top level folders, and folder hierarchies
  • Distributed access and permissions from a central authority
  • Conversion of personal to central ownership of files uploaded to, or created, within centrally managed libraries
  • Inherited permissions
  • Audit trails

Yes, there is a cost, but the value for many companies is much greater.

Manage Your Permissions:

Permissions are not just about user settings.  Permissions should — and can — be driven by your privacy needs and the content of your documents. Tools like BetterCloud and CloudLock give you the ability to monitor and manage user access and permissions based on business rules and content as it is created or uploaded. Analysis for HIPAA, PHI, PCI, and other compliance requirements is built-in, with the ability to create customized rules for your specific needs.

 

With the right tools, and a knowledgeable workforce, you and your team will better adopt and utilize Drive.  And with adoption, comes results.


Please Contact Us if you would like information about any of the services mentioned in this post.


 

A Better Cloud Admin Solution

BetterCloud Logo
With over 200 new features add yearly, the capability of Google Apps is growing in features and capabilities. Across our customer base, we see adoption and use of these features by individuals and teams growing as well.

You want and need to understand how Google Apps is being used, and working, for your business. With more collaboration and data in the cloud, you want to ensure that documents are properly shared, with appropriate privacy and protections. At the same time, we want to keep administration simple and efficient.

We have a solution:

BetterCloud recently release a new tiered service designed to solve each of these issues, and you can try it for free.

BetterCloud Basic is a Domain Health Center for your Google Apps domain, letting you monitor activity, define alerts, and analyze usage.

BetterCloud Pro is a robust suite of administration and management tools for Google Apps that simply admin tasks with an expanded set of controls that save you time and effort.

BetterCloud Enterprise adds auditing, discovery, compliance, and data loss prevention features, giving you the ability to monitor, manage, and mitigate data permissions and exposures in real time.

 

You can try BetterCloud for free, and without obligation.  Here’s our offer:

We will …

  • Install BetterCloud Basic for free in your Google Apps domain
  • Activate a no-obligation, 30 day trial of the BetterCloud Enterprise and Pro Features
  • Over the course of the free trial, we will highlight and demonstrate key features, including running a basic data security audit report for your review

At the end of the the trial, you decide if the cost/benefit of BetterCloud Pro or Enterprise is appropriate for your domain, and we will keep you subscribed. If not, you can keep using BetterCloud Basic for free.

To keep it simple, you can request the trial with two clicks.  Click here* to open a request email, then click Send.  Our team will promptly respond and activate your free trial.


*If you purchased Google Apps directly from Google, or another partner, we can still provide the trial. We also offer license discounts and other incentives for moving your account over to us. Contact us if you are interested in the savings and/or our services.


 

Cumulus Global Offers Solutions and Seminars at FETC 2014

FETC-2014Visitors to FETC 2014 in Orlando later this month have a unique opportunity to learn how Google Apps for Education can serve as platform for robust administrative and classroom computing.

Cumulus Global (Booth #256) is hosting a series of in-booth seminars covering a range of topics from system administration, data protection, and security, to 1:1 program design and professional development for faculty.  Cumulus Global is webcasting the sessions as well, for those unable to attend FETC in person.

With more than a dozen sessions, Cumulus Global intends to offer attendees new perspectives on how schools can effectively Deploy solutions, Gear Up with the best devices and infrastructure, and Transform the learning process.

Session presenters include experts from Backupify, Bettercloud, CloudLock, Edsby, and Eduscape Learning.

Click Here for more information, or to register for one or more of the webcasts. Feel free to Contact Us with any questions.

As a featured exhibitor, Cumulus Global is able to offer the following discount codes for FETC 2014 attendees:

Google Apps Admins Win with Cumulus Global / BetterCloud Partnership

BetterCloud LogoOne of the challenges of cloud computing solutions is effectively managing the services. While most cloud services let you manage the service, they do not always provide tools that help manage how the service is used.  As a BetterCloud Preferred Partner, Cumulus Global offers organizations using Google Apps for Business, Education, and Government an admin-friendly cloud management tool.  FlashPanel’s simplifies many management tasks, enhances administrators’ ability to secure and control the Google Apps domain, automates common management tasks, and enables delegation of responsibilities.

“FlashPanel simplifies the management of advanced Google Apps features, such as Groups, making them more accessible to users”, noted Allen Falcon, CEO of Cumulus Global. “Available features such as inbox monitoring and sharing management help organizations properly secure their Google Apps domains.”

Cumulus Global offers FlashPanel as a value-add service for Google Apps customers and as an integrated component of its CumuluSuite offerings.

“Cumulus Global is a great resource for small and midsized businesses looking to go Google or enhance their use of the platform,” said David Politis, CEO and Founder of BetterCloud. “We’re thrilled to have Cumulus on board as a preferred partner and are excited to work with them to not only to increase the distribution of FlashPanel, but to also expand the adoption of Google Apps.”

As a Preferred Partner, Cumulus Global offers organizations two versions of FlashPanel.  The Partner Edition, available for free from Cumulus Global, offers all of the features of the self-service free edition in the Google Apps Marketplace, plus a range of administration, security, automation, and reporting features.  For a small, per-user, annual fee, the Enterprise Edition includes a wide range of administration and automation features, designed to enable bulk changes, multi-domain management, scheduled activities, and user-provisioning workflows.  The Enterprise edition also delivers sharing management/compliance and inbox monitoring features.

About BetterCloud

BetterCloud (www.bettercloud.com) is the leading provider of cloud management and security tools for Google Apps. FlashPanel, its flagship product, installed by over 20,000 companies and 12 million users worldwide, is a directory management and Google Drive security application that empowers Google Apps administrators by providing added controls, visibility, automation and more. BetterCloud also powers Ask the Gooru, which provides free Google Apps training videos and aims to further the adoption of Google Apps.

About Cumulus Global

Cumulus Global (www.cumulusglobal.com) provides cloud solutions for small and midsize enterprises.  As a Cloud Solutions Provider and a Google Apps Premier SMB Reseller, Cumuls Global helps small and midsize businesses, non-profits, governments, and educational institutions move from in-house systems to cloud computing solutions.  We align technology with our clients’ goals, objectives, and bottom lines. In addition to Google Apps, Cumulus Global offers a range of cloud-based security, storage, and server solutions.

Cumulus Global in the News in August

NewsBeacon.150Cumulus Global is active in the cloud solution provider channel and markets.  Allen Falcon, our CEO, has been quoted several times recently in the trade and industry press.

Forrester: Global IT Pushed to $2.06 Trillion in 2013
Unified Communication Strategies, July 29, 2013
Our View: Spending focus is on business value, not technology.

Microsoft Mobile Office Heads To Android OS, But Still Not Tablets
CRN, July 31, 2013
Our View: Microsoft needs to move faster to keep up with its customers

Microsoft Drops Surface Pro Tablet Price
CRN, August 5, 2013
Our View: Microsoft blew it; new pricing is too little, too late

BetterCloud Launches Management Console for Cloud Services Brokerages
PR Web, August 21, 2013
Our View: We can better serve our customers

Map It Out: The Best States To Start A Solution Provider Business
CRN, August 21, 2013
Our View: Massachusetts is chasing service providers away.

PC Sales Set For Comeback In 2014, Piper Jaffray Says
CRN, August 21, 2013
Our View: Cloud-centric clients no likely to help Intel much.