Posts

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.

 

Professional Services Help Schools Manage Google Drive for Education

google drive
With Google’s (GOOG) announcement of Google Drive for Education, schools using Google Apps for Education will have unlimited Drive storage and the Vault archive/ediscovery service for free.  To help schools deploy, configure, and use Vault successfully, Cumulus Global (www.cumuluglobaleducation.com) today announced an expansion of its Vault EDU Services. Cumulus Global’s Vault EDU Services are a set of professional services designed and priced for schools and districts.

Vault EDU Services include:

  • Service Activation
    • Best practice settings and configuration
    • Matching configuration and retention periods to policies and regulations
    • Ensuring data is not improperly removed
  • Admin Training
    • A 1:1 session focused on configuration, search, and discovery
  • Vault Support
    • Assistance with investigative matters
    • Execution of discovery with affidavits for chain of custody

“Having deployed Vault for hundreds of schools and districts, we understand the importance of proper setup and configuration”, stated Falcon.  “And since eDiscovery is a feature that tends to be used occasionally and as-needed, we can help ensure searches and matters are handled effectively.” Vault EDU Services are part of Cumulus Global’s expanding range of services for K-12 education.

Schools can learn more at http://www.cumulusglobaleducation.com/deploy.

 


About Cumulus Global and our Solutions for Education Cumulus Global is Cloud Solutions Provider and a Google Apps Premier Reseller, helping small and mid-size businesses, non-profits, governments, and educational institutions move from in-house systems to cloud computing solutions. Our solutions for education, http://www.cumulusglobaleducation.com, help schools Deploy cloud solutions, Gear Up their technology, and Transform the learning process.

 

Vault for Drive is (Finally) Here!

Google Apps Vault
Within the announcements for Google Apps Unlimited and Google Drive for Work (more on these shortly!), are important changes to Google Apps Vault.

First and foremost, Google Apps Vault now includes Vault for Drive.  With Vault for Drive, you can immediately:

  • Search for specific users’ Drive files.
  • Preview search results in Vault to make sure you find just what you need.
  • Create copies of search results and export them for future use.

Settings retention policies, creating holds, and conducting domain-wide searches for Drive content will be available in the near future.

These new capabilities come at no additional cost for existing and new Google Apps Vault customers.

On July 8th, we are holding an open, free live webcast to provide an overview of Vault for Drive and the Admin Console features.  Please attend, or contact us if you have any questions.

 

Google Apps Vault for Education: Get the Coverage Your Expect

Google Apps VaultFor schools, adding Google Apps Vault is affordable and easy.

Pricing is based on the number of faculty, staff, and administrator accounts; student accounts are covered for free.

But while Google Apps Vault for Education is purchased to cover all users on your Google Apps Domain, the admin settings do not provide this by default.

After your Google Apps Vault account is active, you need to go into the Admin console and set to auto enroll users.  If not, only individually specified users will have the service.

Have questions or need a helping hand?  Feel free to contact us.

 

 

Google+ Hangouts and Google Apps: OFF for a Reason

As Google prepares to replace Google Talk with Google+ Hangouts, customers expect to benefit from the improved audio/video quality and features that Hangouts offer over Talk.

There are very good reasons why Google+ Hangouts are OFF by default in Google Apps for Business (Gov and Edu, too).  Before you turn on Google+ Hangouts, understand the current ramifications.

  • Preview Mode:  Google+ Hangouts are not yet officially released and, as such, get “best effort” support as opposed the technical support under the Terms of Service.
  • Incompatibility:  Google+ Hangouts are not compatible with Google Apps Vault.  Any organization that plan on using Vault, or that may need to use Vault, should not opt-in to Google+ Hangouts.
  • Data Location:  Google Apps customers under data location restrictions cannot opt-in to Vault.
  • No Enterprise Controls:  These controls are not yet available for Google+ Hangouts at this time.  As such, there are no warnings for users when chatting outside the domain and there is no way to block users’ chat status outside of the domain.

Google advises enterprise environments to continue using Google Talk for instant messaging, voice, and video conferencing.

Cumulus Global shares this recommendation, as the implications of adding Google+ Hangouts is not fully understood.  Organizations interested in a test domain may contact us for assistance.

 

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.

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.

 

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.