Most features of a conventional computer server can be delivered as distributed ("cloud") services from Google, operating over a broadband connection. The speed and reliability of today's broadband connections, and the robust nature of Google Apps for Business compared to those of a local Windows server, mean it's not necessarily prudent, nor a luxury, to maintain a server at your Dublin business site.
Business benefits of Google Apps services
Gmail, the most comprehensive web-based email on the mass market, becomes available to all business email addresses, including:
- Direct access to your email through a broadband connection: so your email account can be read with any email program, on any computer at home or the office, without a VPN or Exchange hosting software
- Microsoft Outlook is no longer a requirement, saving its high per-seat licensing cost in the office and at home
- Spam and virus immunity, without any desktop or server software
- Easy email account creation and deletion by a non-technical staff member
These Google Apps components provide a wider range of services than a local Exchange server, with far less cost and provisioning time:
- Google Voice (click for videos): for messaging features comparable with a well-provisioned Exchange server: instant messaging and web-based SMS, plus voice/video calling with voice mail transcription
- Google Drive (click for video): shared per-user storage, for remote file sharing and home office workers, currently 5GB free
- Google Docs (click for tutorial): shared documents, spreadsheets, presentations, drawings, and forms... with interactive versions of the common Microsoft Office files that can be edited with co-workers
- Google Calendar: shared between employees and to mobile devices (see smartphone support)
- Google Sites: a simple, collaborative content management system whose pages can be shared among key employees or customers
- Google Apps Marketplace: hosting many applications previously requiring installed software (such as accounting and CRM)
Though the applications above are fully supported by Google, COSD routinely helps business clients switch to Google Apps and replace their older technologies without disruption to their operations.
The migration process from Microsoft Outlook/Exchange email to Google Apps email
COSD will survey your Dublin business on-site to determine if employees use email, calendar & contacts on an Exchange server, from desktop data, or both. Then a migration schedule will be drafted (as per this Google Apps migration video) to incorporate these tasks:
- Upload each desktop Outlook account to Google
- Upload all server Exchange account data to Google
- Upload all non-Outlook account mailboxes using IMAP from client desktops
When finished: if the Exchange server is old enough to be retired, arrangements will be made to replace any shared file services with a more economical and easily supported network-attached storage device.
Note, 07 Dec 2012: the "free version" of Google Apps is no longer offered to new customers; see article Google Discontinues Free Version of Google Apps for Businesses.
- Contact COSD for a free email Q&A to demonstrate how your business will benefit from Google Apps, or to schedule an in-person consultation to develop your migration plan
- Read on to Office networking
- Last Updated: 08 December 2012