I field many questions every day about Google Apps, the cloud and how it should be implemented in business. Some questions keep recurring on topics such as security, support and exporting data. The questions are not only asked by small businesses but by large-scale enterprises. I’ve put together a list of the eight most common questions about Google Apps. Each question has a short response which I will expand on in subsequent posts.
1. How does the Patriot Act affect me?
Most businesses shouldn’t be concerned about the Patriot Act because it’s irrelevant. The Australian government already has an agreement with the US to hand over data stored in Australia rather than go through the courts, as the Patriot Act requires.
For more read Why the Patriot Act is Irrelevant.
2. How secure is Google Apps?
Google was architectured from the ground up to not only be a cloud services, but also to be the most scalable and secure product on the market. Google has built very secure data centres worldwide, it can also invest in security in both human resource and implementation at massive scale. This is shown through the many certifications received including FISMA, ISO 27001 as well as security audits, for example SSAE 16.
For more read How Secure is Google Apps?
3. Can I test Google Apps by running it in the cloud and on my server at the same time?
The short answer is yes. During deployments there’s usually a period of coexistence which can last a couple of weeks or longer, depending on the number of users and phases of migration. Google splits bigger deployments into three phases; core IT, early adopters, and then a final Go Live release. This ensures the deployment goes to schedule and any risks are mitigated, increasing the chance of a successful implementation. In each phase there are various levels of coexistence, including sending and receiving email.
For advice on running two systems simultaneously read Tips for Switching from Microsoft Exchange to Google Apps
4. Can I still use Outlook (or other email client) with Google Apps?
Yes. Although Google Apps is a cloud service and has the Gmail interface in the browser, Google also has many other options, some of which allow you to connect from a desktop email program. These options will be shared in a later article.
For advice on using your email program with Google Apps read Can I Still Use Outlook, Apple Mail etc. with Google Apps?
5. Will my mobile devices still work with Google Apps?
Mobility is the heart and soul of Google Apps. Google Apps was built to be available anywhere, any place, on any device. As long as your device has a web browser you will be able to access your mail and services. There are some caveats on connecting Google Apps to inbuilt device applications. Each category of device best-practice connections will be shared.
For advice on using mobile devices on Google Apps read Will Google Apps Work with my iPhone, BlackBerry or Windows Phone?
6. What support or service-level agreement does Google offer business users?
Many will be familiar with Google’s consumer product offerings for example, Google Search, Blogger, Google Analytics, Google Maps. These services are offered mainly free to the consumer, and therefore have a minimal amount of direct support from Google. However, Google also sells business versions of its products such as Google Apps for Business and Google Maps. Google provides support for these subscription services to ensure an enterprise experience for business customers.
For more detail on the type of support Google gives businesses read What Support does Google Offer Business Users?
7. How do I export my data from Google?
Google is very open about their data policy around both its enterprise and consumer offerings. Google believes that all your data belongs to you and offers various ways of getting both consumer and enterprise data out of Google with migration tools and export services such as Google Takeout.
For a list of the ways to export data from Google Apps read Can I Export My Data from Google Apps?
8. Can I use Google Apps offline?
The short answer is yes. Up until last year the number one requested feature was the ability to write emails and documents offline in Gmail and Google Apps. With advancements made in both code and browser, a number of Google products now no longer require users to always be online. I will take you through each of these.
Image credit: Deviant Art