Image source: https://gsuite.google.com
Gone were the days when companies afforded their own internal IT team to set up and manage their own email servers. Cost of business operation has gone down so much that, compared to a headcount in-house to keep a blade server chugging along, that best-of-class email servers can be had for as low as $5/month! At Design Prodigy, while we have owned and leased hosting servers that our clients use for holding their emails for many years, we ourselves finally bit the bullet and made the decisive move to G Suite in 2016.
And this is the story of how we disrupted and cannibalised our infrastructure offerings… to great success!
What is G Suite and why should you care?
G Suite (previously known as Google App for Business) is the business productivity Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) provided by Google. You might be thinking, being very familiar with Gmail, Google Calendar, Google Docs and the free suite of productivity tools by now, why would anyone need to PAY anything to use them? Well for a start, G Suite lets you use your own business domain name for your email address, and each user account comes with a whopping 30 GB (and growing) diskspace! For $5/month, this is unparalleled value. G Suite also provides a secured administrator control panel to centrally manage your IT security policy (more on this later).
In the early 2000, like many others at that time, we had a taste of Google Apps. We didn’t like it. It was offered for free at that time, came with 1 GB of storage and you didn’t really have controls over user access to make it worthwhile for business use. So we set up our own email server and life was good; we even made some good pennies doing the same too as a service to our clients.
Over the next decade Google App evolved into Google App for Business, and subsequently G Suite as we come to know of it again. Our own email server started having hiccups in the middle of 2016 – the emails were slow to come in, the server had gotten blacklisted a few times due to mass-mailing activities by other users on the same IP address, and our spam filter buckled under the weight of persistent spammers. G Suite’s billion-dollar cloud infrastructure currently powers upwards of 58% of Fortune 500 companies and millions other smaller ones, and these issues had been vastly moot. We finally made the move in mid October 2016.
First impressionsEmail, or in this case, Gmail, was our first order of business. We signed up one user account for each staff, and configured Groups and Alias for other shared and functional email addresses. By doing this, we get to use GMail’s best-of-class webmail interface which was a huge UX upgrade from free built-in webmails provided by most hosting providers like SquirrelMail, RoundCube Mail, and Horde Mail. Admittedly everyone in the team had already been accessing company emails from personal GMail account via POP3 (yeah, not proud of our email@example.com hack), but accessing it natively means no more cumbersome POP3/SMTP settings and routing emails between multiple servers. We no longer have to worry about server up time and deliverability issues affecting our business operations and client communications.
G Suite Admin provides full control over creating, managing and revoking of account access, and we cannot emphasise enough how important this is whenever there are staff movements! We set restriction to mobile device and POP3/SMTP access to enforce confidentiality of our company properties in accordance to information security best-practices, and routinely review G Suite account activities log for audit purpose. This critical feature came timely as our headcount and scope of operation grows.
Collaboration and productivity
Aside from Gmail, we learned to love Google’s Team Calendar feature and implementation. Once we set a share policy at the Company level, everyone gets to view team members’ color-coded event and appointment details without awkward share-and-invite maneuver – especially disorienting with the old system whenever new team member comes on board. We have a Google Drive shared folder as well and shifted our old Dropbox 2GB cloud storage into our new 30GB-per-user Google Drive. All our Google Docs, Slides and Sheets are stored and organised neatly on our individual and company Google Drive. We brought along document templates, sales and marketing kits, employee handbook, SOPs etc so everyone can take advantage of its easy access, version control, and other collaborative features for everyday work.
There are a lot more productivity tools and controls offered by G Suite. Follow us on Facebook to stay abreast of this topic. All-in-all we are happy G Suite users with zero issue (once everything has been set up and configured correctly, that is…), and our productivity sky-rocketed as a result right off the bat.
And we live happily ever after
… and you should too! Get in touch with our team to evaluate and set up G Suite for your business, and say goodbye to your business IT systems and email woes today!