G Suite Training and Certification

G Suite Certification and Training

If you’re new to Google Docs, Sheets, Drive, or other apps that comeswith “G Suite” (previously: Google apps for work), you can access detailed training material offered by Google. They have created video repository, documentations, tips and tricks to help you get the most out of these apps. Google also offers certification for G Suite Administrators.

Training

There are multiple options for G Suite training – Chrome extension, video library and online documentation. Let’s  now go through them.

Chrome Extension

This is an interactive way of learning G Suite with a pace that suits you. Install the Chrome extension by accessing the Chrome Web Store. Once installed, it will add a Training menu to G Suite apps, including the Calendar, Docs, Drive, Forms, Gmail, Google+, Groups, Hangouts, Sheets, Sites, and Slides. This training menu is shown as a question mark with the Google’s four-color circle around it. Just click on the menu to learn shortcuts and explore the apps by going through easy-to-follow lessons.

This extension is available in English with basic support for Chinese, French, German, Japanese, Portuguese, and Spanish.

Video Library

G Suite Training

There is an extensive collection of videos on the Synergyse portal, a startup (acquired by Google) that is completely focused on G Suite training. Just sign in with your Google account and access the videos simply by clicking on the app icon – from Gmail, Calendar,  Google+ to Sheets and more.

Learning Central

Google has created a G Suite Learning Center where you can simply click on the app that you’d like learn. Each section of the app has documentation in the form of cheat sheets,  tips and FAQs. There is also option to learn G Suite as per the following segmentation:

  • industry vertical (finance, healthcare, manufacturing, etc.)
  • job role (human resource, web development, project management, etc.)
  • task type (onboarding, analyzing, team building, etc.)

From the G Suite

Here you can access videos created by Googlers and learn about tips & tricks. These videos covers all of the apps under G Suite. Apart from learning the apps, you’d also get to know the insider view of Google and general tips on productivity. For example, here is a video that talks about building community with Google+.

Certification

Google offer certification program for G Suite administrators via online examination. They recommend at least six months experience in managing a G Suite domain with a minimum of 50 users. The work should involve some of the common tasks that an admin does—user support, fixing common issues, adding and removing users, setting up and managing groups, managing calendars and resources, managing email routes, and managing G Suite services by organizational unit. Also you should go through the administrator course before the exam. The certification costs $100 and controlled by an app called Examinator.

Given below are the 8 topics covered in the administrator exam:

  • User creation, deletion, and administration
  • Organizational units
  • G Suite services and organizational access
  • Mail delivery, routing, and filtering
  • Calendar settings and resources
  • Mobile policies and device management
  • Security
  • Groups

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G Suite Review

Google apps have been known for their ease of use and low learning curve; now they have been rebranded as “G Suite”. Although the apps have good integration capability, the name G Suite points to better integration and collaborative approach for teams under a single umbrella. This platform consists of apps like Gmail, Docs, Drive, Calendar, Hangouts, Slides, Docs, Sheets and more. Along with the new name, Google has announced a bunch of new features that are built on top of cutting edge technologies like Natural Language Processing and Machine Learning.

Plug: TeamWave – Simple CRM, Project Management & HR Software for G Suite

G Suite Apps

G Suite has following broad categories of apps:

Communicate: Gmail, Inbox, Hangouts, Calendar, Groups, Google+

Collaborate: Docs, Sheets, Slides, Forms, Sites

Store: Drive

The basic plan of G Suite gives 30GB storage, which is double the space available with free plan. The business plan offers unlimited storage (in case of more than five employees) along with a better admin control panel and the Vault for archiving emails.

Here is what you get with G Suite:

  • Business email addresses (name@company.com)
  • Video and voice calls
  • Online calendars
  • Online text documents, spreadsheets and slides
  • Project sites (a way to build simple websites or intranet)
  • Security and admin controls
  • 24/7 phone and email support.
  • On the Unlimited plan, in addition to the above you get
  • Advanced admin controls for Drive
  • Audit and reporting insights for Drive content and sharing
  • Google Vault for eDiscovery covering emails, chats, docs and files
  • Advanced search
  • More options when it comes to file exports
  • Email archives
  • Set message-retention policies
  • Litigation holds on inboxes

G Suite Pricing

Choosing a G Suite plan is relatively straightforward, as there are only two plans available:
– G Suite: $5 per user per month ($50 per user per year if paid annually)
– G Suite Unlimited: $10 per user per month ($120 per user per year if paid annually)

Both the basic and business versions support HD video conferencing via Hangouts and round the clock customer support is available via email and phone. Note that if your organisation is an educational establishment, then you can avail the free version: G Suite for Education.

Setup Process

In takes couple of seconds to sign up with G suite and once the account is created the user will be redirected to the Admin Console. There will be eight important options: users, company profile, billing, reports, apps, device management, security and support.

There are two options to invite employees to the account – manually or importing a CSV file containing the details of the users. After that the next action would be providing access rights to different apps. For example, you can select certain users and provide access to Inbox while restricting access to Hangouts. You also have the option to disable certain unused apps for all the users.

From mobile device standpoint, the key element is Mobile Device Management section, which lets you mark passwords as mandatory and enable Google Sync on user devices (for up-to-date corporate data). You can also select the devices individually by setting up manual approval process.  If there are certain devices that have not been synced for a specific period, then you can remotely wipe out those devices.

The Admin Console comprises of extra tools that enable group creation, third-party app management and domain management. It also has settings for various free Google services such as Google Analytics, AdWords, Google+ and Google App Engine.

The Vault feature, which comes with the Business plan would be suitable for companies who would like to store email, chat and files to adhere to governance and regulatory compliance. The data retention policy can be set up to cover all the employees or according to particular dates, groups or search terms. The usual Google search field can be used to browse through the archive. Data can audited and exported for further analysis. This doesn’t mean that all the data will be stored – if the “save history” option is turned off, then chat related data won’t be stored.

If you’re apprehensive about the applicability of Vault in your organisation, then note that you can always use the Admin console to upgrade the account with Vault.

Collaboration and Compatibility

Since inception Google Apps have been built with a strong focus on collaboration, and effortless file sharing with team members or external party. There is a dedicated panel to keep track of revisions and another panel to add comments (notifies collaborators via email and in-app messages).

File sharing can be done with a click on the “Share” button, which has options to share with the public, anyone with the unique link, anyone within the company, or only with specific set of people. It is also very easy to publish documents on web – just click on “Publish to the web…” from the “File” dropdown to generate the iframe code.

Apart from widely used Microsoft Office document formats, G Suite apps also support various other formats including Open Document Format, Rich Text Format, PDF, plaintext and zipped HTML. Additionally Google Sheet lets you save spreadsheets in CSV and tab-separated value formats, and presentations can be downloaded in SVG and PNG formats.

Here the crucial factor is the ability to import files rather than export them, as uploading documents created in non-Google platform and making them editable is highly useful.

G Suite’s Google Hangouts service can be used for text, voice and video calls with anyone or restricted to converse with only those whole belong to own company. Hangouts can be used with maximum 50 people for video conferencing, presentation.  As it has tight integration with Docs, Calendar and Maps, it can be crucial for organizations.

Security

Google has deployed custom-built servers and network infrastructure instead of using commercially available hardware (helps them stick to the features that are relevant). They maintain a standardized environment and continously monitor it to detect any kind of changes. Whenever a modification makes the system diverge from the standard Google server image, it automatically goes back to its original state. The customer data in G Suite travels over the internet and among data centers via end-to-end encryption

Data Loss Prevention policy can be set up by the administrator to protect sensitive information. Google also offers a library of preconfigured content detectors for smooth setup. For example, after fully setting up DLP policy, Gmail can automatically track all outgoing email and take necessary action:  quarantine the email, ask sender to change the content, or block the email and inform the sender. These checks are applicable to content of the email as well as the attachments.

When it comes filtering spam, Google has one of the top notch spam filters. They use machine learning to detect and block almost all of the advanced spams. Note that less than 0.1% of email in the average Gmail inbox is spam, and incorrect filtering of mail to the spam folder is under 0.05%.

Administrator can activate 2-step verification to minimize unauthorized access by asking users to submit additional identity proof while signing in. G Suite single sign-on service (SSO) helps customers use one set of credentials to log in to multiple apps.

Takeaway

G Suite is primarily focused on covering most of the basic features and implementing them well. Small businesses (1 – 50 employees) will find this app platform highly useful. ‘Power users’ and big organisations are likely to find the Google Vault feature handy as this lets you archive all communications in your organisation according to rules you define.


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Top 10 Email Service Providers For Small Business

According to a report by Gartner (Q1, 2016), 80% of companies using cloud email with revenue above $10 billion have subscribed to Microsoft service and Google has close to 50% market share in relatively smaller company segment (revenue less than $50 million). Although it is early days for cloud email adoption, both Microsoft and Google have achieved significant traction among enterprises of different sizes, industries and geographies.

We have compiled a list of cloud based email providers for small business:

 

1. Google Mail for Business

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Gmail is part of “Google Apps for Work”, so you’ll get Google Calendar, Google Docs, Google Slides, Google Drive and more.  If you’re already familiar with the free version, it is easier to customize settings for your business requirement. The iOS and Android apps can be used to read and draft messages even if you’re offline, and they will be sent once the app gets back online. Gmail starter plan gives 30 GB storage for Drive and Gmail for $5 per user per month and the unlimited storage plan is available for $10 per user per month.

Note: TeamWave (CRM, Project Management & HR Software) is fully integrated with Google Apps for Work.

2. Microsoft Exchange Online

microsoft-exchange

Microsoft Exchange Online gives you access to email, calendar and contacts via web browser, Outlook app for both iOS and Android. You’ll be able to collaborate on documents using OneDrive and create work groups for your employees. There is option to buy it a independent service or as part of Microsoft 365. There are two plans – $4 user/month gives 50 GB mailbox storage with ability to send emails  up to 150 MB in size and $8 user/month has unlimited storage using In-Place Archives.

3. Amazon WorkMail

amazon-workmail

Amazon WorkMail came out of preview mode back in January, 2016. Email and calendar can be integrated with Microsoft Outlook client (native support on both Windows and Mac OS X) and accessed via web browser, native iOS and Android app. Amazon WorkMail also gives you enterprise grade security and option to choose data storage location by selecting the AWS region. It costs $4 per user per month which gives 50GB storage per user.

4. Aabaco (Yahoo)

yahoo-aabaco-email

Yahoo Small Business was rebranded as Aabaco Small Business in December, 2015. Their unique offerings are 1 TB of free space (1000 GB) for all the plans and a free domain if you maintain an active Business Mail subscription. Price starts from $3.19 for single mailbox per month when billed annually and gradually comes down with purchase of multiple mailboxes ($1.59 for 5 mailboxes).

Plug: TeamWave is an integrated suite of business applications for small & medium-sized companies. Apps include CRM, Project Management, HRIS, Invoicing & Contact Management.

5. Rackspace Email

rackspace-emailRackspace webmail comes with 100% Uptime Guarantee and free migration service while switching from existing mail provider. Gives you access to mail from Outlook and mobile apps via IMAP. There is three layers of scanning for spam and virus protection. Mailboxes come with 25 GB storage and message size can go up to 50 MB. Price starts from $2 per user per month and $3 per user per month plan gives you unlimited storage via archiving.

6. GMX

gmx-mail
GMX provides free email service and positions itself as all-in-one service. It offers webmail with unlimited storage and allows you to send emails with up to 50 MB attachments. You also get online calendar, email archive, antivirus and spam filter.

7. IceWarp Email

icewrap-email

Icewrap offers integrated solution for webmail, document management, calendar, webchat, meeting and webphone. They also offer native support for Outlook 2013, windows 8 & 10 Mail/People/Calendar support, antivirus, spam protection and a lot more. Price starts from $380 per month with 100 GB storage for unlimited users.

8. Kerio Cloud

kerio-connect

Kerio Cloud offering gives you email, calendar, contacts, notes, instant messaging and VoIP phone system. It supports IMAP and POP compliant email clients across Windows, Linux and Mac operating systems.  They use direct push synchronisation to keep your mailbox synced in any kind of smartphone OS (iOS, Android to Symbian). $4.99 per month pricing gets you 10 GB mailbox and $8.99 plan offers unlimited mailboxes. Email archiving will cost $3.00/mailbox.

9. Ipswitch IMail

ipswitch-email

Ipswitch IMail offers 2 GB storage per mailbox and stores data in Virtual Private Server. Anti-virus and anti-spam protection is powered by Cyren. For a 10 member team, the most basic plan for a year will cost $199Microsoft Exchange ActiveSync will cost $4.99 per user to sync mobile devices with email, calendar, contacts and tasks.

10. Atmail

atmail

Atmail pioneered one of the first businesses webmail applications and they have been innovating  in the email space since 1998. You can manage email, calendar and contacts on the mobile device and get support for desktop clients (example: Outlook and Apple Mail) as well. It costs $79 per month for 50 users with 500 GB storage quota.


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