Most people are aware of consumer Gmail. If you don’t personally use Gmail, you likely receive email from friends and family with gmail.com addresses.
What many people don’t realize is that Gmail is also available to organizations. Gmail is just one of the components of G Suite, formerly Google Apps for Work. Other components include Calendar, Drive, Docs, Sheets, Slides and Sites.
When G Suite is used by a company, a “firstname.lastname@example.org” type address is associated with 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 the advertising.
Business users can access their business Gmail account using the familiar Gmail browser interface. Long time Outlook users can connect their Outlook desktop client to their business Gmail account.
Users can collaborate on spreadsheets, presentations and documents. Any of these can be edited by two or more users at the same time. Spreadsheets, for example, no longer have to be passed around for edits.
Drive provides shared cloud file storage with the ability for users to selectively share files with other users or even with the public. And of course, there are Google Play and iOS apps available for all of the above.
G Suite can be tried out free for 14 days.
G Suite Security
Salesforce spent many years convincing corporations that their valuable prospect and customer data is actually more secure on Salesforce’s servers than it is behind the firewall of most businesses. A large number of corporations are now convinced of this fact, including companies in the digital security business.
In terms of security, the same argument can be applied to G Suite. Using G Suite as an organization’s “email server” is, in many cases, more secure than using an email server that resides on a corporate network. There are several reasons for this.
Google business accounts have an option for enabling 2-step verification, also known as two factor authentication. This means that 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.
When a company’s entire employee email database resides in a file on a corporate server, it’s vulnerable to hackers who are able penetrate the company’s perimeter security. On the other hand, Google customer email data is widely scattered across Google’s massive global infrastructure.
On the topic of perimeter security, Google has legions of skilled engineers dedicated to fending off attacks. Corporations are not in a position to dedicate a large number of resources to the same tasks and are instead dependent on the reliability of security hardware and software solutions, supplemented by internal monitoring efforts.
The hacker attack experienced by Sony Pictures Entertainment in 2014 is an indicator of the risk involved with storing emails in local files on a local network.
What Types of Businesses Are Using G Suite?
According to Google, over five million business are currently using G Suite.
Based on our discussions with people at many different types of organizations, a high percentage of technology startups use G Suite for Work. This is partly because there’s an affinity with Google among technology companies and partly because many startup leaders grew up with consumer Gmail and also may have used G Suite for Education.
Most important, these leaders must have decided that G Suite is the best available solution for their companies.
On the other hand, we have generally heard from people at enterprises that their email standard is Microsoft Exchange Server. Microsoft remains a highly trusted brand for enterprise-level email. With Office 365, Microsoft is now offering multiple tiers of the cloud equivalent of the traditionally on-premises Exchange Server.
Google is making inroads with brick and mortar enterprises — Shaw Industries is an example. Also, according to the G Suite website, 64% of the Fortune 500 have “gone Google”.
It’s going to take time for even more enterprises to make the move to G Suite. As the generation that grew up with Gmail and that was exposed to G Suite for Education flows into enterprise IT management roles, G Suite will likely get get more serious consideration as an enterprise email platform.