Considering a switch from Microsoft Office to Google Apps for Work?
Here’s a brief overview of some of the differences between Gmail and Outlook. These collaboration solutions have their differences, both in organization and overall user experience.
Plenty of people have experienced the consumer version of Skype in their personal lives. Video chatting is fun, effective, and more intimate than emails or phone calls.
Many businesses use these factors to their advantage as well, but they may not have access to the full potential of these applications. A switch to Google Hangouts unlocks new features while retaining a comfortable familiarity.
Established by the Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA) International, The Outstanding Building of the Year (TOBY) Awards, is truly a distinguished award. It was developed in 1985 to honor and recognize the quality in office building operations and award excellence in office building management.
Google Apps for Work provides a comprehensive suite of business solutions for any company. Business continuity necessitates the use of old applications and data, but in any transition, there are always employees who prefer to stick with what they know.
And in some cases, it’s out of necessity.
For example, some people who use Excel heavily (I’m talking like 60% of their daily tasks are in Excel-- a real spreadsheet pro) might need to continue using it to continue working the way they need to.
Fortunately, when your company migrates to Google Apps for Work, the suite supports preferences for legacy applications.
Many businesses are making the move from Microsoft Exchange to Google for Work, saying that the reason they switched was largely financial or logistical. Though potentially intimidating to consider a major company-wide migration, many are finding the transition easier than expected.
Why Make the Move?
There are several advantages to using Google for Work over Microsoft Exchange—beginning with price. Hosted Exchange averages $141 per user per year, while Gmail costs about $50 per user per year.
Larger companies in particular see a clear financial advantage to Google over time.
Businesses are ensured consistent upgrades and innovations from the creative team at Google. With the all-encompassing Google for Work platform integrating all of your vital apps, workspaces, and communications in one place, lower cost is just an added bonus.
In your company’s transition to Google for Work, you may wonder whether it makes sense to go through a Google partner, or go direct to Google.
What’s the difference, and what are the benefits?
Google for Work provides amazing products for an all-encompassing business solution. Their product suite has many solutions from email, collaboration, word processor, video chat, storage, intranet builder… and more.
But you already know that.
Think of going direct to Google as going to an auto parts store. You know your car. You know how to do the instillation yourself, and you have the time.
Going with a Google Partner is like going to a mechanic. You get services to make sure everything runs properly and you won’t stall out on the highway. Google partners provide clear and knowledgeable guidance with support from start to finish while implementing these tools for you.
When I talk to customers, we get past the security conversation pretty quickly.
When I explain to them how Google does things, they have lots of independent verification, your rate, you can test Google, they buy the security very quickly.
The problem now is people worry more about what's happening to their data.
It quickly goes from a security conversation to, "No, no, I believe Google's security is better than ours," to a conversation more like, "I want to know what happens to my company's data with in Google's hands."
And there's a lot of misinformation about that.
So how does Google think about data protection? They think about it two ways. So I always like to start the talk with security, because without security, you're not going to have data protection.
The number one piece of misinformation is that people confuse Google's consumer services (the ones that Google offers for free) with the services they offer to companies, businesses, schools, and nonprofits.
They're completely different offerings. Just to be clear, for that free Gmail account that you sign up for, yes, they're using that data for advertising. Yes, there's profiling. Yes, there's scanning.
But for all the products that they offer to businesses, schools, nonprofits, that's not the case. In that case, in the original case, you guys own the data. Google is simply considered the data processor.
Google can only use the data in the way in which you've instructed them. Let me go into a bit more detail here... This has three big components, like three legs in a stool, really.
What transparency means is that they're going to tell you what they're doing with your data. And it's about being transparent before you're a customer, without having to sign some sort of magical, special agreement.
So I mean sharing things like where their data centers are located, Google's security reports, their SOC 3 reports, their ISO reports. All of their contracts are public. Their data processing, who their subprocessors are, all these components, their commitments on data deletion, what data can be used for, this is all publicly available.
You can look it up now. It's on the web.
And what it comes down to is what can Google use the data for?
We can use the data for absolutely nothing but what you instruct us to do. -Google
So just to be clear, Google cannot use your data for advertising. They cannot mine your data for any purpose whatsoever, even to improve their own product. They're not allowed to do so. And this is part of their business contract with companies.
The intellectual property of the data is yours. You get the idea: Google literally has zero rights on your data. They own the rights to their service.
So as long as you don't try to reverse-engineer Gmail, you're going to be OK.
They're also extremely portable.
You could literally take your entire organization's data and shift it into Google over the weekend. And you could change your mind next week, and move everything out Google. You can do that too.
There's no penalty. It comes out in usable file formats. It works so well, Google's competitors have built tools around it to quickly expedite the movement of data in and out of their platform.
All of Google's contracts are written in a way that's European-centric language. It's not because they're a European company. It's just that the standards there are very, very specific when it comes to data.
This one is publicly available and they update this all the time. Because they're constantly getting feedback from data protection authorities in the US, in Europe, in Asia and our position is that they will only strengthen their commitments, not weaken them. So one of the more recent ones is they put an SLA on data deletion. Google made ongoing commitments to maintain compliance with their security audits and data privacy audits, which I'll talk to you about here in a moment.
These sorts of things, this is all available, which is very useful for a business.
So if you're a parent, and you want to know what's happening to your children's data, you can just go and read it. There's no advertising. There's no scanning. It's not some secret contract that each company has their own thing agreed upon.
But they build on it. Google tells you what they're going to do, they're transparent. They legally commit.
But how do you really know what they're doing? Google's perspective is that you should trust them, but verify yourself.
The problem in the past is that all of Google's audits had been very, very focused on security. They start with security. Security's strong. So they have all the ones you'd expect-- ISO 27001, SOC 2, SOC 3, SSAE in 16, ISAE 3402.
Again, these are all independent security audits. But again, we get past that security conversation pretty quickly. It goes into data usage. People don't argue about security. They know what good security is.
They argue about data usage, and how data should be protected.
Should it be transferred internationally? How does all that work?
So what did Google do? They went and worked with their buddies over at ISO, their Swiss friends, Google's standard-setting organization. And they worked with them to develop a new standard.
The new standard is called ISO 27018. And what this does, it's about data privacy, the processing of personally identifiable information by public clouds, which is Google.
It's exactly what Google's looking for.
The next thing Google did is to work with their auditor to be able to audit them against this new standard. So remember their infrastructure, everything I talked about being completely customized?
Google can't run an audit sending a college kid in with a clipboard saying, "Oh, there's my blade server, and what's my patch level?"
It doesn't work that way.
At Google, everything is customized. They have to embed their auditors with their engineering teams. It takes a long time. It took over a year for the auditors to be trained on Google's platform, and then be able to conduct an audit afterwards.
But the good news here is that they've adopted the standard, and they've had this since September.
Google announced it almost a year to the date after the standard had been released. Just so you understand how important this is, let me talk a little bit about how these standards work, if you're not familiar with them.
ISO 27001 is a family of standards.
The first level is around security. There's 114 security controls, which goes back to our story. You have to have security before you can have privacy. After you've gone through, and we talk about all these different controls that are in place for Google's platform, ISO 27018 is built on top of it.
You have to have security before you can have data protection and these are looking at different things. This is saying is Gmail secure? Is it locked down? Are all those controls in place?
And the next one is looking at, what's that data being used for? Is it guaranteed that it's not being used by other systems? What's out there? How is this being protected?
And this is what's important.
So now, for the first time, you have independent, third-party, audited verification on what's happening to your data.
So this is something that you can take to your board. This is something you can tell your users about. But what makes it interesting, when we start talking about things like data privacy, is that it just doesn't apply to services like security.
So for security on Gmail, Drive, all those products are covered. But data is different. You can get to that from all kinds of different ways.
So for Google's privacy standard, yes, it had to cover the applications. But it had to cover every way that you could get to the data, so all the APIs, all the SDKs, or the software development kits, and tools that you might want to run on top of them.
So all these have been included as well.
Another benefit of working with a company like Google who operates around the world is that they operate around the world. And that means that different countries and regions have different standards relating to data privacy.
And for Google, they always have to take the strictest one.
Sometimes it's Europe, sometimes it's Korea, sometimes it's the US. And these sorts of things, knowing that they have to meet all of these strict standards, you can have peace of mind that this is something that's important to them, and that they're going to be on the leading edge of what's happening with data protection around security and data privacy.
Google has a very, very large team, both in DC, in Brussels, in Singapore, working with governments, who focus on working with data protection authorities because this is an evolving thing.
In Europe, there's a lot of change happening right now. Google is compliant with everything that's happening there now. They work very, very closely with them. But this is something that is constantly developing and because Google has such a vested interest in all these markets, it's in their interest to be compliant and to be a leader.
And this is something that they're really trying to bring home to the US. So when you talk about moving to the cloud, now, you can think about the abilities, but it does this increase the risk for what you're doing on a day-to-day basis at your business?
We think that you should look at it as a risk assessment. We talk about having extraordinarily strong, world-class, leading-edge security. That's great, but it's only part of the problem.
You have to understand how that data is being used, what systems are there?
Having all this information available, it's fun to share with you guys extraordinarily detailed security audit reports to back all these claims up.
You can run your own penetration testing. Having strict, bulletproof contracts about what your data can and cannot be used for, having very, very strong enforcement mechanisms for them there.
Don't look at Google's platform as being the same as you have on your personal accounts, or being equivalent. It's 10 times better.
We live in a mobile-first world. What have we learned from the security mishaps in the past few years?
The traditional thinking of having walls around everything, putting everything on your secure network, well that doesn't work anymore.
The reason people did that is because they don't have infinite budgets, and they said, "Okay, we need to focus on security. The logical place to focus security measures on is the network."
Google's philosophy is a bit different.
You might have heard the good news.
Google released the Chromebit. Last month Asus, their original equipment manufacturer (OEM), released what is basically a computer on a stick.
Think: a Chromebox, but a little bigger than a flash drive that you can carry in your pocket and plug into any display, effectively turning it into a computer.
When using a tool like Google Docs, no matter how long you’ve used it, there’s always something you’ve not discovered yet, or always new features being released and improved.
Of course with such an innovative company like Google, there are so many fun easter eggs in everything they develop. There are some popular ones like the konami cheat code in both Docs and Hangouts.