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G Suite

G Suite: Advancing Beyond Google Apps

G SuiteFor the third time in three years, Google has rebranded its business solutions. As we scramble to update our websites and marketing materials, we can reflect on the change and what it means for our customers and those considering Google Cloud and G Suite solutions.

More than a Reflection of Rapid Change

On the surface, the rebranding of Google for Work as Google Cloud and the renaming of Google Apps for Work to G Suite reflect the rapidly changing cloud computing market. Looking deeper, however, the change reflects some fundamental shifts. G Suite is not just a “for work” platform. Over the past two years, Google has consolidated education, nonprofit, and government environments onto a single platform with their business customers. A single G Suite infrastructure now meets the rigorous security and operational requirements of each market.

The change also reflects a shift from infrastructure and apps to a focus on improving how we work and innovate to build stronger businesses and organizations. The emphasis is no longer on the technical features and functions, but how your organization can work better for better results. This focus will extend beyond the core G Suite applications to include third party applications that integrate with the G Suite and Google Cloud platforms.

New Name; Same Services? Not Really!

Within the marketing flurry is the message that Google Cloud and G Suite are new names for the same great services. This may be the case for now, but looking forward, you can already see two significant trends.

AI Integration: In the G Suite Announcement, Google mentioned intelligent applications and provided a link to a second post titled: G Suite: Intelligent Tools for Teams. Take note: Google intends to embed Artificial Intelligence into the G Suite apps and tools in order to provide a more intuitive, productive, customized experience.

A New Baseline: Google Apps for Work is now G Suite BasicGoogle Apps Unlimited is now G Suite Business. This change is as subtle as it is powerful. Where GAU was positioned as an upgrade to the GAFW service, G Suite Business is clearly positioned as the default option, with G Suite Basic positioned as a lower-cost, less functional alternative.

We can predict that we will see more features and capabilities appear in G Suite Business than we do in G Suite Basic (this differentiation is already visible with additional reporting and APIs). This differentiation will lead to a more robust ecosystem with G Suite Business.  Third party applications that integrate with G Suite, with access to a richer interface, will offer more capabilities when running with G Suite Business.  In short, G Suite Business will offer the greater value to most small and midsize organizations.

Looking Forward

Expect to see more announcements about intelligent features being added to G Suite applications. Expect more opportunities to integrate business processes and applications with G Suite — from CRM and customer service to custom line of business applications and systems. Expect G Suite Business to provide greater value as it will further enable application, system, and data integration. Expect new possibilities and opportunities.


Might G Suite Business be right for you? Contact us for a free, no-obligation Cloud Advisor Session.


 

Google Apps for Work

Atmosphere Digital: Retail Evolving

News from Cumulus Global

Cumulus Global Answers the Call to Customize Google for Work

As part of a new service announcement and launch, Cumulus Global is answering the call to customize Google for Work. Google for Work is a great platform for business communication and collaboration. But many businesses want or need more. For some, add-ons and third party tools and applications meet their needs. With the launch of its Google for Work Customization services, Cumulus Global is using the power of Google Script, App Engine, and Google Cloud Platform to develop and deliver custom-built solutions.

“The range of possibilities is nearly limitless,” notes Allen Falcon, CEO of Cumulus Global. “Large enterprises have tapped the customization features in Google for Work for years. We are bringing these capabilities to small and mid-size organizations who previously assumed custom projects would be priced out of reach.”

Google for Work Customization Services is for projects ranging from data manipulation scripts within Google Sheets and simple workflow management tools, to complex database and data analysis applications. Projects are generally fixed-price with cost and quality guarantees.

Businesses can learn more on Cumulus Global’s web site or by calling Cumulus Global and speaking to a Cloud Advisor.

Google Drive

Tuesday Take-Away: Google Apps Security Updates

google-drive-icon
Most organizations we work with are looking to the cloud for better collaboration, mobile integration, and remote user support. Google’s release of Drive for Work (aka Google Apps Unlimited) in 2014 promised to align Google Apps with user needs and priorities.

Over the past several months, Google has deployed several security and feature enhancements that make Drive a more robust file service. Some are only available with Drive for Work, others apply to all Google for Work domains.

Set Sharing Settings by Department
(Drive for Work / Google Apps Unlimited Only)

Sometimes different file settings make sense. You might, for example, have a research department that needs to keep information confidential and a sales team that needs to share presentations with their clients. To help manage these different sharing needs, now when you make selections in Drive settings from the Admin console, you can turn off sharing outside the domain for one organizational unit, while still allowing others to work and share files with anyone they need to.

Create Custom Drive Alerts / Track More Events with Drive Audit
(Drive for Work / Google Apps Unlimited Only)

To keep track of when specific actions are taken in Drive, you can set up custom Drive alerts. So if you want to know when a file containing the word “confidential” in the title is shared outside the company, now you’ll know. And there are more events coming to Drive audit, including download, print and preview.

Set up custom admin alerts to find out when things change
(All Google for Work Domains)

There are lots of moving parts to running a company, and now it’s easier for IT to find out about the things they care about with custom alerts — like when a new app is installed or a shared calendar is deleted — and get those right in their inbox.

Let people reset their own passwords
(All Google for Work Domains)

Recovering passwords isn’t the most pleasant thing we do in our lives. But now IT can let employees securelyreset their own passwords, so they don’t lose valuable time being locked out of their account. If this doesn’t make sense for your organization, admins can simply turn this ability off.

Disable downloading, printing and copying of any file with IRM
(All Google for Work Domains)

With Information Rights Management (“IRM”) you can disable downloading, printing and copying from the advanced sharing menu – perfect for when the file you’re sharing is only meant for a few select people. This new option is available for any file stored in Google Drive, including documents, spreadsheets and presentations created in Google Docs.

Share quickly with anyone outside your organization
(All Google for Work Domains)

When it comes to sharing, like giving final inventory lists to your caterer or last minute logos to your design agency, you want to make sure people can see it right away — whether they use Drive or not. Now, you canshare with any email address and they’ll be able to view the files you share —without having to sign-in to a Google account. Admins can disable this feature for certain departments that want to require sign-in before , while enabling it for others.

Tuesday Take-Away: Vault Extends to Drive

google-vault-icon
To give businesses even more visibility and control over employee files, Google Drive will include enhanced eDiscovery capabilities for Google Apps Vault. Retention policies and legal hold capabilities, similar to those currently available for email and chat, have been extended to cover files in Google Drive. These capabilities help you meet your legal obligations and ensure that employee files are archived and available as long as needed, even if employees delete those files from their Drive.

These new capabilities are in a limited rollout now, with full availability planned for the coming months.

Early Registration: Atmosphere 15

Atmosphere 15:
Predictions for the future of work and how to work better today

#atmosphere15Step back from your to-do list.

Think about your career, your lifestyle, and the technology you use to get things done.

How has this morphed over the last 5 years? 

And how will it continue to change over the next 5?

Find out in our 1-hour future of work event. Hear workplace predictions from Google executives, trends-to-expect from proven business leaders, and see tangible ways to work better today from forward-thinking companies around the globe.

Walk confidently into your next 5 years of business by attending Atmosphere Digital.

When:   October 20, 2015; 1:00 – 2:00 PM ET

Where:  In Your Browser; click here to register

Register-now-button

Our First eBook: 7 Policies for Every Company Using Drive

Cover.7 Policies for Every Company Using Drive
We are please to announce the launch of our new eBook series with the publication of 7 Policies for Every Company Using Drive. Based on one of our most popular 3T@3 Webcasts, this eBook discusses information privacy and security issues and policies that should be in place to protect your customers, your information, and your business.

Our new eBook series is part of our growing suite of resources intended to help educate and inform on topics related to Cloud Computing for Small and Mid-Size Businesses.

Click here to access the eBook.

 

 

Chrome for Meetings Grows Up

CFM Large Rooms
Chrome for Meetings has given organizations an affordable, effective way to integrate HD video conferencing services.  This week, Chrome for Meetings grows up with the addition of a hardware bundle designed for larger conference rooms.

Designed for rooms with up to 24 people, the new bundle includes:

  • Pan-Tilt-Zoom Camera
    Enjoy professional video quality with the USB-enabled 1080 HD PTZ camera
  • Dual Microphone/Speaker
    Capture conversations in longer rooms with an additional mic and speaker
  • Dual Connections
    Connect two monitors to the PTZ camera and dual microphone/speakers, for the richest video conferencing experience

Pricing starts at $1,999, inclusive of the first year management and support fee of $250.


Contact us for more information, to arrange a demo/trial, or obtain a quote.


 

 

Still on Windows Server 2003? Don’t Migrate, Modernize!

Sunset
If something works, why fix it?

We understand why you may still be running Windows Server 2003. For businesses with relatively simple IT needs, the benefits of moving off Windows Server 2003 has never quite justified the cost. After all, migrating means more than new hardware and a new version of Windows Server. Migrating triggers a major round of updates to other systems, such as backups, virus protection, databases, and business software.

Let’s face reality: Migrating is expensive and probably adds little or no value to your business.

Modernization Adds Value

When people remodel kitchens and baths, they do more than replacing aging appliances and cabinets with new versions of the same old stuff. People improve their space utilization, make traffic flows more efficient, add features that make life easier and more convenient, and improve aesthetics.

The same is true for IT. When you modernize your infrastructure, you have the opportunity to update how your IT supports the way you and your team work on a day to day basis.

Companies that modernize their IT, they …

  • Improve the ways in which employees communicate with each other and with customers
  • Enhance and enable collaboration and the sharing if information
  • Make work more efficient with better access to information and applications
  • Empower people to work remotely and from mobile devices
  • Reinforce efficient and improved processes

Modernization 101: Server to Service

One of the most effective ways to modernize is to replace aging servers with cloud-based services.

Replacing Exchange servers with Google Apps or other cloud email services is a long-proven to reduce costs, outages, and frustration. This modernization can enhance data privacy while enabling new communication capabilities, ranging from secure instant messaging and voice calling to video conferencing and integrated mobile services.

When you move from a physical file server to a managed cloud file service, your modernization still leaves you with shared file space, control over access and permissions, data backup and recovery, and malware protection. More than lowering the cost of file storage, file service modernization  ….

  • Enables more efficient and effective sharing of files and information
  • Improves version control for files and documents
  • Delivers easy and secure access from mobile devices and remote users (without the cost and headaches of VPNs)
  • Lets users work together, in real time or not, as part of a team
  • Provides a slew of additional capabilities proven to enhance productivity

Getting Started

Just like your kitchen, your first steps in your IT Modernization are to think about what …

  • currently works,
  • could work better, and
  • new features and ideas you need or want to incorporate.

For your IT modernization, you need to look around and window-shop … get ideas and a sense of the market. As you learn about your options, think in terms of services, not things, and how you want your employees to work with one another, with your customers, and with others. From there, you can start thinking about features, design, and how you can best use new, cloud-based solutions.


 

If you are worried about the end of Windows Server 2003 in July, or if you are dreading a migration from aging systems to new versions of the same old solution, contact us to discuss your needs and priorities. Give us a chance to design a solution to modernize your technology, and your business.