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The End of Postini is Really Happening

Postini_logoAfter nearly three years of planning, data migration, and enhancements to the spam/virus protection within Google Apps, June 15, 2015 marks the day when Postini email security and compliance solutions truly ceases to exist. As of the 15th, mail flow through Postini systems will halt.

Customers that have not updated their MX records will stop receiving email; messages will bounce back to the sender

For customer migrating from Google Message Discovery (aka Postini archiving), the MX records need to change, even if the data migration or validation processes are still active.


Have questions, contact our service team for help.


 

 

Return of the Message Center and More


As Google continues to migrate Google Message Security and Message Discovery customers from the old Postini infrastructure, our clients have been concerned about functional and performance equivalency.   While filters and settings have been comparable for a while, and Google had previously added the quarantine notification, Google today announced the new Message Center.

Specifically for users that forward some or all of their email to on-premise servers or other email services, the Message Center lets users and administrators:

  • View and search 30 days of clean/spam mail
  • Mark single or multiple messages as spam or not spam
  • Deliver messages that are not spam to the on-premise mailbox
  • Add and remove contacts for whitelisting purposes
  • Bookmark URLs for searches and individual messages

This expanded functionality coincides with a series of upgrades to the SMTP relay service in Google Apps.   These updates help administrators in several ways:

  • Multiple authentication configurations: Admins can now configure multiple sets of authentication rules. For instance, you can specify that messages sent from one IP address are always allowed, messages from another IP address are only allowed if encrypted with TLS, and messages from another IP address range require SMTP AUTH.
  • SMTP AUTH: This newly supported authentication method uses Google “application-specific passwords” to allow admins to configure clients to authenticate to the relay service. This feature is available for registered Google Apps users only.
  • IP range description field: To manage IP addresses more efficiently, admins can enter descriptions in text fields for each IP address or range that you use to set authentication rules.
  • Selective enable/disable of IP ranges: Admins can selectively enable/disable IP ranges approved for relay as needed
  • Increased rate-limits for certain customers: In special circumstances, admins may increase the rate limits of 2,000 emails/user/day and 2,000 recipients/user/day by calling customer support. Requests need justification and are reviewed on a case-by-case basis.

With these enhancements, Google continues to increase the robustness of the Google Apps Platform, and reduces the need for most GMS and GMD customers to move to other spam, virus, and archiving solutions.

 

 

 

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.

FUD! Who do YOU trust?

Fear!  Uncertainty!  Doubt! Every since Google announced that its Postini services — Google Message Security and Message Archive & Discovery were moving from an aging Postini infrastructure to the more secure, more robust Google Apps infrastructures, Postini customers have been hounded by competitors raising alarms about Postini going away and the need for a replacement.

We have already established that Postini is not going away in this blog post. Additionally we’ve pointed out that for the same pricing plan, Postini customers will gain integrated access to Google Docs, Sites, Talk, and other services (everything but Gmail, actually).

So if a vendor’s first contact with you is that Postini is going away, you know they are lying — or at least bending the truth to mislead you.

It is surprising how many people will listen to vendor claims, fail to validate them, and make decisions that impact their businesses.

Vendors use FUD because it works.  It works because business owners and IT managers are busy and they want to believe there is a better mousetrap.  But if a vendor is lying to you, why would you want to do business with them?  If they mislead you to get your business, will they follow through on their promises of quality?  savings?  support?

With a modest amount of due diligence, businesses can save themselves newer, bigger headaches.

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.

 

Good News for EDUs

We have some good news for educational institutions using Google Apps.  Google has increased the inbox size from 7.5GB to 25GB per user, giving your users the same level of service as businesses.

In addition, Cumulus Global can now offer Google’s famous educational discounts for all Postini services, including Google Message Security and Message Archive & Discovery services.  These discounts are valid if you use Google Postini services with your in-house email servers or Google Apps for Education.

Contact us for more information and pricing.

Zero Point Zero Production

Google Apps protects an award-winning brand while providing flawless communications around the globe.

Background

Zero Point Zero Production (ZPZ) is an Emmy winning television production company based in New York City.  Producing shows such as Anthony Bordain: No Reservations on the Travel Channel, ZPZ has staff and freelancers working 7×24 around the globe.

The Challenges

With a string of successful productions, ZPZ was growing and their current email solution was failing to keep up.  Beyond a difficult administration tool and weak user interface, their hosted email service lacked calendaring and shared documents.  It also failed to integrate with other applications.

ZPZ also needed a solution that would help them protect their intellectual property and their brand.  They wanted all communications, even from freelancers, to be sent from and to the corporate domain and to have all emails archived.  Employees and freelancers were regularly using personal email accounts to ‘get around’ their current system.

With the speed of their business, they would also need to be able to deploy new user accounts in less than 12 hours and easily manage active/inactive status.

The Decision

ZPZ did their research and found that:

  • They could deploy a cloud computing email solution for much less than an in-house system
  • Cloud-based email supports global users more easily and at a lower cost
  • Active user accounts can scale up and down as freelancers start and finish projects
  • More than 75% of their employees and freelancers already used Gmail personally and were familiar with its use
  • Google Apps Premier Edition integrated with Postini to provide full email archiving services, even for inactive and deleted accounts

ZPZ turned to Horizon Info Services for help with the setup and migration.

The Results

Following a jointly developed project plan based on Horizon’s best-practices, Horizon created and migrated all existing user accounts, behind the scenes, over a single weekend.  ZPZ email users began work on a Monday morning with the new service, with no complaints about the migration or Gmail service.  Horizon assisted the 25% of users wishing to keep their application-based email client and ensured all mobile devices were fully connected.

Staff and freelancers quickly began using broader functionality, including Google Docs, instant messaging, and calendar scheduling/sharing.  With easy setup, new freelancers have accounts and instructions waiting for them nearly immediately after the contract is signed.  Use of personal email accounts dropped to zero.

Since deployment, the number of users has nearly doubled.  Google Apps has scaled linearly, without any financial bumps for hardware and software.  Up-time has been perfect and ZPZ has integrated Google Apps with other cloud-based solutions.

With Horizon’s deployment expertise and support services, Google Apps has given ZPZ more than a global email service, Google Apps lets ZPZ communicate and collaborate in ways that let them focus on delivering award winning productions instead of IT.