Special Bulletin: Message Security, aka Postini, Goes Native in Google Apps

A major change is underway within Google Apps for Business / Education / Government editions. Google is fully integrating the spam and virus protection of Google Message Security (GMS, aka Postini) into Google Apps and the cPanel.

While the transition starts in February, there are some caveats to the consolidation. As such, some organizations will want to maintain their stand-alone GMS service.

Currently, the newly integrated service provides for white list, black list, content filters, message filters, and spam sensitivity settings. The integrated service, however, does not have some of the features on which many of our customer rely. If you want/need any of the following, it is necessary to continue running stand-alone GMS for now.

  • Daily Quarantine Messages
  • Addition of Message Archive & Discovery and Message Encryption
  • Policy-Based TLS Encryption
  • Delivery Manager
  • Log Search
  • Reporting

The latter three are more of an issue for the IT folks, and TLS Encryption is transparent to the user.

The biggest user impact is the replacement of the daily quarantine message with the “Spam” label in Gmail.  Some users like the digest structure and the ability to deliver from within the message.  In using the Spam label, users can mark messages as “Not Spam” or can manage them from within the folder.

Also, until we are able to connect the Message Archive & Discovery and Message Encryption services directly to Google Apps, the stand-alone GMS environment will be needed.

If you have questions or concerns, do not hesitate to contact us.

Cumulus Global Offers Program Savings to American Express Cardholders

Boston, MA – February 1, 2012 – Cumulus Global announced a new program of discounts for businesses that use an American Express card to pay for cloud computing services, including Google Apps for Business.  Businesses that pay with their American Express card will save up to 10% on setup and annual fees, including premium support services.  While the web page for the program ( targets businesses in the small office/home office, or SoHo, market, the program is open to businesses of all sizes.

“While Cumulus Global is not part of or in any way affiliated with the American Express OPEN® Savings Program, we are offering comparable discounts to businesses that pay by American Express”, stated Allen Falcon, CEO of Cumulus Global.  “Many small and mid-size businesses prefer to earn Membership Rewards® points or use other card features, such as Pay Over Time, on large purchases.”

Businesses with up to 50 employees can select from Cumulus Global’s range of CumuluSuite for SoHo solutions.  CumuluSuite for SoHo packages bundle Google Apps for Business with premium support services and a selection of value-add features, such as address book sharing, backup/recovery, and options for email compliance archiving and encryption.  CumuluSuite for SoHo gives smaller businesses comprehensive and affordable solutions for email, file services, communications, and collaboration.  Companies with more than 50 employees can contact Cumulus Global for other CumuluSuite options, custom solutions, and program savings ranging from 5% to 10%.

“With CumuluSuite for SoHo, we offer comprehensive solutions in a simple and affordable way”, noted Falcon.  “Larger companies often need more customized solutions.  We deliver those solutions and will extend discounts to larger companies that pay for some or all of their services with their American Express cards.”

The discount program for businesses paying by American Express is scheduled to end on March 31, 2012.  Falcon noted that, if successful, the program could be extended.  Program details are available at

About Cumulus Global
Cumulus Global, formerly Horizon Info Services, is a Google Apps Authorized Reseller helping small and mid-size businesses, non-profits, governments, and educational institutions thrive by delivering cloud computing solutions.  Serving clients from 1 to more than 1000 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.

American Express is not a party or partner in this Cumulus Global Discount offer, nor has it been reviewed, endorsed or approved by American Express. No endorsement shall be implied, directly or indirectly, by the use of the American Express business card as the payment source for the Cumulus Global Discount offer.

Google Apps and Google’s New Privacy Policy

The cloud world is buzzing as Google announced that effective March 1, 2012, it would consolidate more than 60 privacy policies for different services into a single, simplified policy covering all Google services.  Not surprisingly, we are already fielding calls from our Google Apps for Business / Education / Government customers with questions about the impact of the change.

Rest easy.  Here are the answers.

Not Much is Changing

The consolidated privacy policy is not changing how Google collects or uses information with individual services or across services.  The policy is providing a simpler, easier to understand document that is consistent across all services.  Google has also removed components of its existing privacy policies that are redundant with content in the Terms of Service policy for each service, which are also being updated and consolidated into a single, consistent policy.

Note that the Privacy Policy address how Google collects and uses information about individual users, but that the Terms of Service dictate how Google treats content you place or store using Google services.  To understand how your information is protected, you must review both documents.

Public and Free Services versus Business / Education / Government Services

The new Terms of Service and Privacy Policy provide a baseline for all services.  The Terms of Service clearly states that

“Also, in some of our Services, there are terms or settings that narrow the scope of our use of the content submitted in those Services.”

Google Apps for Business, for Education, and for Government all have these additional terms and settings.

Confidentiality in Google Apps for Business / Education / Government

The Terms of Service for Google Apps for Business, for Education, and for Government each define Confidential Information as follows:

Confidential Information means information disclosed by a party to the other party under this Agreement that is marked as confidential or would normally be considered confidential under the circumstances. Customer Data is Customer’s Confidential Information.

Very simply, the agreement defines all user/customer content in these services as confidential.

The Terms of Service prevent Google from accessing or disclosing customer information without permission and guarantee a standard of care related the security, availability, and privacy of customer information.


There are exceptions when Google may disclose or publicly display Google Apps for Business / Education / Government customers.

  1. A User Marks Content as Public:  If a user marks content as “public” or as “publish on the web”, the user is giving permission to Google and instructing Google to index the content in Google search engine and to make the content available to everyone publicly.   Google Apps administrators can limit user permissions to prevent them from marking content as public.
  2. Required Disclosure:  Per the Terms of Service, Google may “… disclose the other party’s Confidential Information when required by law but only after it, if legally permissible: (a) uses commercially reasonable efforts to notify the other party; and (b) gives the other party the chance to challenge the disclosure.”


While Google’s consolidation of privacy policies makes for great, sensational headlines, the reality is that their is no material change in how Google addresses information privacy.  For Google Apps for Business, for Education, and for Government customers, there is no change what so ever.

Tuesday Take-Away: File Service Strategies with Google Docs

As more of our current and future customers move to the cloud, they have greater interest in moving beyond email, calendars, and chat.  More organizations see cloud file services as a way to improve access to information while simplifying IT infrastructure and lowering costs.  These organizations are right on the mark!

For those running Google Apps for Business, Education, or Government, the Google Docs service is a great foundation from which to build an integrated file service.  Here are some considerations and strategies.

Central Ownership

Every user has the ability to use Google Docs to store and share information, and to create a hierarchy of collections (just like folders) to organize and manage files.  When building a file service using Google Docs, you may want to consider central ownership of data that would normally be housed on shared space on a file server.

Central Ownership …

  • Puts all of the “file server” data under “Collections Shared with Me” in all users’ Google Docs screen, providing a consistent interface and experience.
  • Gives administrators control over permissions.
  • Avoids underlying document ownership issues.
  • Provides a central account for managing the amount of storage needed.
  • Further simplifies backup/recovery.

To setup central ownership of your file service, you will need to purchase or dedicate one account as the “file service” account.

Desktop Integration

While Google Docs is pretty good as a productivity suite, many of your users may want or need to continue using legacy desktop solutions.  The good news: you can store any file type in Google Docs; the bad news: opening up a browser to upload files is an intrusive extra step.

Fortunately, you can choose from several inexpensive third party solutions that provide desktop access to Google Docs.  When working with clients to pick the solution, we look to see if they need drive letter access (DLA) service and/or access via Network Places from Windows desktops and/or desktop drive access from Macs.  The solution we recommend will result from these needs and from the amount of local drive space available to cache online data.

Local Cache / Offline Access

By building a solution with a local cache, you can provide users with robust offline access to documents.  Additionally, a local cache lets desktop applications save locally, as they are designed to do, with the files synchronizing to Google Docs in the background.

Learn More

If you want to learn more about building a file server around Google Docs, please contact us directly, visit our web site, or join us for one of our upcoming events.

CumuluSuite for Libraries Launches with More Features and Savings

In a move designed to help public libraries address increasing dependence on technology in the face of shrinking budgets, Cumulus Global today launched CumuluSuite for Libraries, an E-Rate eligible, integrated email and collaboration solution designed to lower costs and improve communications and collaboration. Based on Google Apps for Government or Business, CumuluSuite for Libraries includes enhanced administration tools, premium support services, and options for data backup and email archive/discovery services. 

“We understand that libraries are struggling with limited budgets at the same time they are looking to benefit from new technologies”, stated Allen Falcon, CEO of Cumulus Global. “We offer libraries options that simplify their IT infrastructure, enhance capabilities, and lower both direct and indirect costs.”

With  the CumuluSuite for Libraries Basic package Libraries get the email, calendar, document collaboration, intranet, and video services of Google Apps bundled with unlimited support for their IT team.  For libraries required to retain emails under public records laws or policies other packages provide for compliant archiving and e-discovery services, as well as backup services for content in Google Apps and social media sites. Tier 2 end user support is optional with all bundles.

“The options help libraries pick a solution that meets their needs and budget”, added Falcon. “Libraries can select the services they need and deploy them without investing in capital equipment and software.  Libraries can also decide if they need the Business or Government editions of Google Apps.”

The window for libraries to apply for fiscal year 2012 E-Rate funding through the Universal Service Administration Company Schools and Libraries program ( opened on January 9th and closes in March. Through the program, libraries may be eligible for discounts and reimbursements of 40% or more. Information about CumuluSuite for Libraries and package options is available at

About Cumulus Global
Cumulus Global, formerly Horizon Info Services, helps small and mid-size businesses, non-profits, governments, and educational institutions thrive by delivering cloud computing solutions. Serving clients from 1 to more than 1000 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.

Cumulus Global is a member of the American Library Association.

Tuesday Take-Away: Smart Distribution Lists

One of the challenges many of our customers face is managing contacts and distribution lists.  Organizations want to share contact information to avoid duplicate and incorrect information, but need to control who manages the data.  Similarly, many organizations want to build distribution lists for communicating with contacts, but want each contact to only have one record.

For Google Apps, we work with several tools (i.e. Floreysoft) that help you build and share contact information and groups.

For Distribution Lists, Google Apps for Business (Government, and Education) includes Groups.  Originally built to provide secure discussion forums with optional moderation, Groups has evolved into a robust communication and collaboration tool.  Some of the key features in Groups that create smart distribution lists include:

  • Access Security: Control who can manage, view, and belong to the group in order to receive messages.  Access can be given to individuals outside your organization, a great advantage for project teams.
  • Use Security: Control who can use the group, ie send messages to the group, and whether or not the list can be used by email address only ( or via a web interface.   Access can range from specific individuals to fully public.
  • Delivery Options: Messages can be forward to members as they arrive or in daily or volume-based digest formats.  Users can elect to change this setting to meet their individual job and communication preferences.
  • Nesting: Groups can be members of other groups.  This lets companies create a distribution list hierarchy.  Place a person in the correct group, and they will receive all message for distribution lists “up the chain”.  Schools can easily create email lists for parents and students by class, and then roll them up into grade, school, and district level lists.

With these features, organizations have the ability to place contacts in distribution lists and maintain a single source for managing contact records.

Cumulus Global Launches Chromebook Services

Boston, MA – December 12, 2011 – Cumulus Global announced a new suite of Chromebook services for schools, non-profits, businesses, and governments.  As a Authorized Chromebook Reseller, Cumulus Global is better able to help organizations integrate the low cost, maintenance free laptops into cloud and legacy computing environments.  In additional to selling the Chromebooks bundled with a powerful management console, Cumulus Global delivers the planning, implementation, migration, training, and support services that ensure a successful deployment.

“We see growing demand from schools, non-profits, and businesses that have stepped into cloud computing and see greater potential”, noted Allen Falcon, CEO of Cumulus Global.  “Both the WiFi and 3G-enabled Chromebooks provide one of the most cost-effective ways to put real computing power in the hands of students and teachers, employees, volunteers, and other cloud-connected users.”

Cumulus Global is partnering with other solution providers to help customers use Chromebooks for more than Google Apps and access to web-based applications.  Terminal services, Virtual Desktop, and tools like AccessNow and the Citrix Receiver for Chromebooks provide users with easy access to traditional desktop and client-server applications.

“With Chromebooks in play, we expect to see new growth in the use of Virtual Desktop Integration (VDI) services”, added Falcon. “The value proposition that many analysts have found missing with VDI services exists with Chromebooks.  The low entry price, built in 3G option, and policy push address the hardware cost, connectivity cost, and management costs head-on.”

Built for cloud connectivity, Chromebooks clear user data and policies after each user session.  Policies reload with each 10-second boot and user login, dramatically reducing the typical overhead in managing system images.

Cumulus Global has a limited number of demonstration systems currently available for loan and trial to school districts subscribed to Google Apps for Education.

For More Information, contact sales@Cumulus

Tuesday Take Away: Google Apps Caveats and Solutions

One of the critiques we often hear when speaking with businesses and non-profits hesitant about a move to Google Apps is that Google Apps does not provide a complete computing environment.  And it appears that there are a couple of key factors behind this perception.

  • Many organizations may be able, but are not comfortable, moving from MS Office to Google Docs.
  • Google Apps provides a range of core and additional services, but does not provide a complete computing environment.
  • Google Apps needs to integrate with internal networks and systems.

The best part of these perceptions?  They are all TRUE!

Google Apps for business is a suite of applications and services.  It is not a complete IT infrastructure.  Knowing this, you can plan to overcome these “caveats” with solutions that work.

You Need Backup / Recovery

As we have written in several blog posts (Protect Your Data in the Cloud, DLP in Google Apps), Google protects you data in Google Apps from loss due to network, system, or software failures.  Google cannot, however, protect your data from you (and your users).

Just like your in-house systems, protect your data in Google Apps with a sound backup/recovery solution.  Costs for these services run $3 per user per month or less and are well worth the protection they provide.

Sharing Contacts & Address Books

While sharing contacts and managing a the Global Address Book in Exchange is no picnic, Google did drop the ball on this common business need.  Most businesses have groups of contacts that they want to share and manage across multiple individuals.  The cloud provides and easy structure to do this, but Google did not build an interface for the capability.

Fortunately, we work with a number of third party solutions with a variety of features and capabilities.  Better than a “one size fits all” solution, we can match the tool to each of our customers’ needs.  The costs for these options range from free to a few dollars per month per user.

Users Need to Learn

The last time your users had to re-learn their email and desktop software probably coincided with your most recent “fork lift upgrade” of your email and file servers.  Even then, how many of your users learned about new capabilities rather than focusing on relearning how to do the features they already used?

Unless you choose to run MS Outlook and miss out on many of the great features of Google Apps, your users will need to learn.  Even those with personal Gmail accounts benefit from fully understanding the capabilities of Google Apps for Business (Education / Government).

Google updates Google Apps constantly — every few weeks — with incremental features and capabilities.  Providing on-going learning to your users helps users evaluate and select the new features and capabilities that will benefit their work.

On-going webinars and office hours require coordination and costs can add up.  Integrated, self-paced training with modules that update as Google Apps changes costs less than $1 per user per month.

You Want or Need a File Service

Switching from your current email service to Google Apps and its business version of Gmail is a great first step.   The migration is relatively fast and painless, and users will be more productive.

Moving your shared files from in-house servers to the cloud, however, opens up many more opportunities for collaboration, efficiency, and cost savings.   Without the need to connect remote and mobile users to centralized file servers saves companies hundreds or thousands of dollars on VPN services and licenses.  The ability to share documents, manage changes, and control permissions, gives co-workers and project teams the ability to work together without “losing track” of changes and versions.

The challenge, is how to integrate your existing desktop applications with your cloud storage.  Fortunately, there are a range of tools that integrate applications and provide “drive letter access” (DLA) to the cloud.  The tools vary from one-time purchases to annual subscription services and can be easily matched to your needs.

Now for the Good News

We understand that when moving to the cloud, you want to make sure that the overall computing environment — your ecosystem — provides the same level of service, security, and reliability as your existing in-house solutions (if not better!).

Through the end of 2011, Cumulus Global is offering free trials and will waive our implementation fees for the value-add services that resolve these concerns.

  • Backupify for Google Apps Backup and Restore
  • Floreysoft Share Groups and Dito Directory for contact and address book sharing
  • Gladinet Desktops Professional Edition and other tools for DLA to Google Docs


Tuesday Take-Away: Expanded Support for Google Apps

On Monday, Nov 14th, Google announced a significant expansion of its support services for Google Apps.

Google now provides 24 x 7 phone support to small, medium, and large Google Apps for Business customers for all issues affecting the core services.  Customers may also receive support from Google Apps experts via Google’s web-based support portal, online help forms, and online help center.

These services further augment and support the customized support, training, and related services offered by Cumulus Global and other Google Apps Authorized Resellers.

The expanded support services is one more in a continuing list of service and product enhancements designed to address business owners’ and IT directors’ concerns about moving to Google Apps and cloud computing.  Other recent changes include  SLA and up-time improvements, as well as enhancements such as unthreaded email and read receipts in Gmail, and a scheduled release process.

Tuesday Take-Away: A Google Apps Overview

You are busy.  Spending an hour in a webinar to learn about cloud computing and why businesses are moving to Google Apps may work for you.

This 3 and 1/2 minute video, however, is a great introduction and overview.