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G Suite

Google Cloud and G Suite

G SuiteNew Names, Same Great Solutions

At this point, every Google For Work customer has likely received an email from Google with the big announcement:

Google for Work is now Google Cloud

Google Apps is now G Suite

Why the change?

Google’s has greatly expanded the range of cloud-based business services over the past few years, and the ways in which businesses are using Google’s cloud portfolio continues to change and evolve. Google Cloud better reflects how all of Google’s business cloud services are part of a single, integrated ecosystem. Changing Google Apps to G Suite, better represents the range of services that lets you communicate, store, collaborate, and manage your business. G Suite has grown beyond “Gmail and tools for business”.

What does it mean?

Your Google Cloud services, including G Suite, do not change. You will continue to use the same email, file, and collaboration services you know and love. You still have the features, security, accessibility, and ease-of-use you expect.

We will spend the next several days updating our website and marketing materials and remembering to use the new names.

What does the future hold?

Looking forward, we encourage you to explore more ways to take advantage of G Suite‘s capabilities and to watch for new applications, features, and functions. Google’s commitment to expanding the platform and ecosystem is greater than ever. If you want to explore new use cases or to further your digital transformation, please contact us for a free Cloud Advisor consulting session.


 

 

Beyond Restore: Use Cases for Google Apps Backup

Backup Man

As we have noted several times in prior posts and webcasts, Google’s internal backup systems are designed to protect you should Google have hardware or software issues. You, however, are responsible for protecting your data in Google Apps from user deletions, user overwrites, malware, hackers, and other risks.

We have identified several use cases for backup/recovery in Google Apps that you cannot do from the Admin console.

A good Google Apps backup solution does more than restore

Preserve Data From Past Employees

  • If you want to preserve data from past employees, and need more than emails, your only option is to continue paying for the suspended Google Apps accounts.
  • With the ability to restore data to others, you can keep the backup as an archive and delete the Google Apps accounts.
  • An added benefit: the cost is less than 1/2 of a Google Apps for Work license and less than 1/4 of a Google Apps Unlimited license.

Transfer Data to New Owners

  • While you can transfer document ownership though the Admin Console and ownership of Sites data through APIs, these transfers are “all or nothing” and are destructive (they remove the data from the original account).
  • With the ability to restore data selectively and to others, you can transfer specific files, folders, sites data, emails, etc. to different people as needed.
  • An added benefit: You can transfer data between employees as they change positions and responsibilities.

Archive Documents (and other data)

  • While Google Apps Vault has eDiscovery searches for Gmail and Drive, Vault only archives Gmail.
  • A third party backup solution can preserve and archive documents, as well as email, calendars, contacts, and sites data in support of your document retention policies or regulations.
  • While a user can still delete a document and empty it from Trash before the backup, most users are unaware of the steps to take. With multiple backups per day, you are protected from losses other than those of a determined malicious actor.

Escape Hatch

  • As a “best-practice”, backups should not be stored in the systems being backed up without altering the format or content.
  • The right backup solution keeps your data in a separate location/service and restores data in its original format.
  • An added benefit: With an export feature, your backups become an easier way to extract data from Google Apps.

 

We offer multiple backup solutions for Google Apps, click here to learn more about our preferred solution.


 

Spring Cleaning Past Employee Accounts

Cover.eBook.Guide to Google Apps License Management
It may be the second day of Spring here in New England, but the kids are home from school and the plows were out early. Nothing like a post-winter snow to trigger the spring cleaning bug in us all. For those that work in the cloud, the start of Spring is a great time to review our licenses and our needs and to make sure we are cleaned up and ready for new growth. If you are using Google Apps For Work (GAFW) or Google Apps Unlimited (GAU), now is a great time to clean out accounts for past employees.

Easier Said Than Done

Google Apps has a simple licensing model.  Pay $50 or $120 per user per year, respectively, and users have access to everything Google Apps has to offer.  The challenge comes in when employees leave. If you want to preserve their data, your options within Google Apps are limited, and can become costly. Specifically, you can expect to pay:

  • $50 per user per year to keep a past employee’s GAFW account
  • $100 per user per year if you also have Vault
  • $120 per user per year to keep a suspended GAU account

You Do Have Options

As noted in our recent eBook, A Guide to Google Apps License Management, we discuss several strategies, including: using an “archive” account, sync & store, and cloud backup.  Both the “archive” and “sync & store” approaches are inexpensive, they are not very cost effective. If you are keeping past employees’ data, you want the information to be easy to find an usable.  These solutions can make finding and retrieving information difficult and can alter the format and formatting of documents.

Our recommended solution uses cloud backup. Backup past users to a 3rd party service that lets you restore the data to any active user if and when you need it.  It is easy to keep calendar entries, contacts, files, and emails. File formats and formatting are preserved. Finding information is easy with robust search tools.

And, the cost is affordable. Backupify for Google Apps lets your create and keep an employee archive for $24 (or less!) per account per year. This is half the cost of protecting active users, and 50% to 80% less than keeping the Google Apps accounts active.  And, you avoid the risk of damaging or losing data while shuffling information to other users or into “archive” accounts.

Contact Us

To learn more about our proven solution, along with current special offers, please contact us.

Google Apps for Work

Atmosphere Digital: Retail Evolving

Cloud Competition Has Growing Impact for SMBs

redmoney

Over the past few years, major cloud providers have been aggressively competing. At times, it’s been an all out price war with Microsoft, Amazon, Google and others lowering prices to beat the others. But it’s also been a race for new features and capabilities, as innovation and unique services can attract and retain customers.

The challenge for small and mid-size businesses, however, is that much of the competition as been focused on the Infrastructure and Platform as a Service (IaaS and PaaS) segments of cloud computing. And while lower prices on cloud processing and storage are great, most SMBs are using Software as a Service (SaaS) solutions.

Change is happening and you can benefit.

As an incentive for companies with Enterprise Agreement (EA) pricing to move off Microsoft, Google started things off by offering Google Apps for free until customers’ EA agreements end. The program, available to companies with 150 or more licensed users, removes the “double pay” period for companies that want to “go Google”.

More recently, Microsoft lowered the minimum licensed user count from 150 to 50 for its FastTrack program, which provides Microsoft partners with resources and customers with rebates to cover the cost of migration.  Companies with 50 or more licensed users can save up to 75% (or more) on their deployment and migration.

Enter Cumulus Global and More Savings

Focused on serving small and mid-size businesses, these programs are good, but not good enough. So, we are adding to the deals.

New to Google Apps for Work

  • Google Apps for Free through the end of your Microsoft EA term (150 license minimum)
  • 14 months for the price of 12 (5 license minimum, 12 month renewal terms)

New to Microsoft Office 365

  • FastTrack discounts and rebates (50 license minimum)
  • Migration savings of 35% to 70% (5 to 50 licenses)

From Direct to Partner

  • Existing Microsoft O365 and Google Apps for Work customers can save up to 10% on licensing and up to 20% on support and other services through our Switch & Save program.

The Next Step is Yours

To learn more about which discount is best for you, fill out the form, below, and speak with a Cloud Advisor.

In IT, Every Season is Hurricane Season

Hurricane
June 1st is the official start of Hurricane Season for North America. Every year, we hear predictions for the number of storms and the number of major storms expected to hit landfall here in the U.S. And yet, every year we seem to over-prepare for storms that never become a major problem and under-prepare for storms that become truly dangerous.

Such is the life for IT Hurricanes

Unlike physical hurricanes that can cause power and system outages, IT “Hurricanes” are climate changes that impact your business, and its IT needs and priorities.

As with physical hurricanes, IT Hurricanes often start out as smaller disturbances that are seen and identified well in advance. Some lose their energy and dissipate, some get carried off by changing currents, and some turn into storms.

Even with the advanced notification, dare I say warning, we often struggle to assess the size, scope, and impact of IT Hurricanes until just before they are about to hit. All too often, IT Hurricanes gain unexpected power and momentum as they approach landfall. Decisions on how best to prepare are often made too late for effective planning and execution, leaving IT staff scrambling to mitigate the impact and repair the damage.

For many businesses, our infrastructure and systems are not well-prepared to withstand IT Hurricanes. They are too rigid to adapt to changing winds and tides, too difficult to move to a safer place, and/or unable to withstand the tidal surge of change forced upon us.

Look to the Cloud for a Better Way

Rather than just focusing on improving our warning time and how well we can predict the direction, size, and strength of IT Hurricanes, we should create IT infrastructure and systems that can adapt to changing conditions more easily, with less time required.

Moving to cloud solutions can …

  • Simplify your IT infrastructure — your network and systems — making it easier and less expensive to adapt to changing currents
  • Reduce the amount of capital captured in physical assets with sunken costs that resist change
  • Let you raise or lower you capacity and utilization as needed to ebb and flow with the tide of your business
  • Add, or modernize, applications and systems without having to airlift in a solution
  • Improve mobility, so your team members are never displaced by geography or device
  • Provide a platform, that lets you create an IT ecosystem for your business focused on the future and not the past

While cloud computing cannot prevent IT Hurricanes, cloud solutions can help mitigate the impact and make it easier for you and your business to adapt and respond. After all, staying ahead of the storm is better than having to pick up the pieces.


Using the Google Apps for Work ecosystem, our CumuluSuite packages provide cloud computing platforms that are easily customized to keep you out of the storm.  Contact us to learn more.


 

Other Reasons to use Drive for Work

apps_for_work_256-colorWhen most of our clients compare Google Apps for Work with Drive for Work, they focus on the two most visible differences:

  • Drive for Work gives you unlimited Drive storage, instead of the 30GB per user for Gmail and Drive in Google Apps for Work.
  • Drive for Work includes Google Apps Vault for email (and, in the future, document) archiving and e-discovery services.

While these differences are enough for many companies to step up to Drive for Work, some of the less visible differences may prove more valuable in the long term.

Expanded Reporting

Google Apps for Work offers a limited number of audit and admin reports that cover basic statistics about user accounts and activities.  Drive for Work, already has an extended suite of admin and audit reports, giving you greater visibility into how various services are being used, including configurable audit reports for Drive.

Expanded APIs

Most companies will never program to the Google Apps Application Program Interfaces (APIs). Third party administration, security, and productivity applications, however, rely on these APIs to access and manage data in Google Apps. With Google’s commitment to expand the API suite for Drive for Work, third party applications, including BetterCloud, CloudLock, Backupify and others, will offer additional features and services with Drive for Work than they can with Apps for Work. As a customer, you get a more robust computing environment.

Granted, these additional capabilities alone may not, today, warrant the additional cost of Drive for Work. Yet, these features are indicative of a trend for broader features and investment in Drive for Work. If you need or want archiving and/or additional storage and are considering a la carte upgrades, consider the strategic impact of expanded reporting and APIs. They may just tip the scales in favor of Drive for Work.

 

Chrome Extensions, from Google, for the Google Apps User

ChromeWebStore_thumb
We are often asked which Chrome extensions we like and recommend for use with Google Apps. While extensions often relate to third party applications and services, here are several extensions from Google we install for most implementations:

  • Application Launcher for Drive
  • Chrome Remote Desktop
  • Docs PDF/PowerPoint Viewer
  • Google Calendar Checker (for some)
  • Google Docs
  • Google Docs Viewer
  • Google Keep (if the user uses Keep)
  • Google+ Notifications
  • Hangouts
  • Office Editing for Docs, Sheets & Slides
  • Save to Google Drive
  • Send from Gmail

These can be added by users or configured and pushed out using the Chrome Management service within the Google Apps Admin Console.


If you want assistance managing chrome extensions and other applications through the admin console, please contact our Service Team.


 

 

 

5 Ways Google Apps Will Help Your Business

 

Not just an email service, Google Apps is a business platform that enables efficiency and productivity by giving your team better communication and collaboration tools.

In less than 12 minutes, Cumulus Global’s CEO Allen Falcon identifies 5 ways that Google Apps will help your business.

1) Improved Communications

2) Collaboration — More and Better

3) Secure Access — from anywhere at anytime

4) Business Continuity

5) Lower Operating Costs — instead of CapEx + OpEx 

The video is a recording of Allen’s Standing Room Only seminar at the Central Mass Business Expo in September 2014.  Click Here to view the recording and contact us for more information and a free assessment of your business’ cloud potential.