Google Workspace (formerly known as G Suite) is a suite of cloud computing, productivity, and software collaboration tools, developed and marketed by Google.
Most people are aware of consumer Gmail. If you don’t personally use Gmail, you likely receive emails from friends and family with gmail.com addresses.
When Google Workspace is used by a company, a email@example.com type address is associated with a business Gmail account. Even though a business domain is used — rather than the gmail.com domain — the email interface has the same look and feel as a consumer Gmail account (minus sponsored emails).
Long-time MS Outlook users can connect their Outlook desktop client to their business Gmail account.
Employees can collaborate on various file types, including spreadsheets, presentations, and documents. Any of these can be edited and commented on by two or more users simultaneously.
Google Drive provides shared cloud file storage with the ability for users to selectively share files with other users.
Here is a summary of Google Workspace apps and what each is for.
- Gmail – email, Tasks, Contacts, and Keep
- Calendar – a sharable calendar
- Docs – a sophisticated document editor
- Sheets – a powerful spreadsheet app
- Slides – for sales, pitches, and educational presentations
- Drive – secure online storage for files
- Drawings – an easy way to create diagrams
- Meet – browser-based video conferencing
- Chat – instant messaging with anyone else who has a Google account
- Spaces – team collaboration on different topics
- Forms – collect website visitor information or create surveys & polls
- Jamboard – real-time collaboration whiteboard software (& optional hardware)
- Sites – a quick and easy web page and website builder
- My Maps – custom maps that can be selectively shared
- Voice – an IP phone system (extra cost)
Many of the Workspace apps are interoperable. For example, Google Sheets charts can be embedded in Google Docs or Slides. A Google Meet link can be added to a Calendar invitation with one click.
Google Play and iOS apps are available for many of the Workspace applications.
Google continually adds new features to various apps that enhance mobile and desktop functionality — and increase business benefits.
Since Google Workspace is a business application, it has an extensive administrative interface for managing users, devices, permissions, security settings, and more.
For example, an administrator can set certain users to not be able to move or delete files in a shared Google Drive folder. An admin can create a standard Chrome bookmark folder and specific application bookmarks for all users.
Google Workspace Security
Using Google Workspace as an organization’s “email server” is, in many cases, more secure than using an email server that resides on a corporate network.
Google business accounts have an option for requiring 2-step verification (2SV) by all users. With 2SV, a business email account cannot be accessed from an unfamiliar machine or device until a six-digit code that is texted to the account owner’s mobile phone is entered at the time of login. A hardware security key is the strongest form of 2SV.
When a company’s employee email database resides in a file on a corporate server, it’s vulnerable to hackers who are able to penetrate the company’s perimeter security. On the other hand, Google customer email data is scattered in small pieces across Google’s global data centers.
On the topic of perimeter security, Google has legions of skilled engineers who are dedicated to fending off intrusions. Corporations are not in a position to dedicate a large number of resources to the same tasks. They are instead dependent on the reliability of security hardware and software solutions, supplemented by internal monitoring efforts.
Businesses That Adopt Google Workspace
According to Google, over six million businesses globally are currently using Google Workspace.
Many startups adopt Google Workspace. Often, the company founders grew up with consumer Gmail. They may have used Google Workspace for Education while in college.
When a small business moves off of ISP (internet service provider) email, Google Workspace is often selected. An increasing number of enterprises been adopted Google Workspace.