10 Reasons to Consider Google Apps for Your Tech Business

My name is Derrick Wlodarz and I’m jumping on board Technibble as a contributing business & technology writer. I’ve been opining about the tech industry at large for a few years now in outlets such as my personal blog Wlodarz.net and other similar avenues across the net. I’m building a budding technology consulting company called FireLogic which I started entirely on my own and have been running ever since early 2010. It’s a pleasure to be able to share industry insight, opinion, and experiences pertaining to this excellent line of work we all have in common. I hold multiple certifications from Microsoft and CompTIA, and am one of a handful of Google Apps Certified Trainers in the United States. I’m currently working toward becoming a certified Google Apps Deployment Specialist so I can extend my knowledge and expertise in the cloud applications arena.

Now, onto the article. 10 reasons to consider Google Apps for your business.
I don’t manage an in-house Exchange server and honestly, I never plan on doing so. My company email sits in the cloud, along with multiple calendars, an extensive client contact list, my business phone number, and a great majority of my day-to-day documents & spreadsheets. I started my technology consulting company FireLogic with the full notion of keeping the company’s backend integral communications in the cloud – hence my decision to go with Google Apps back in 2010. I can safely say it’s been a little over a year since I’ve "Gone Google" and I’m happy as ever.

Before I get blasted with hate email claiming that in-house Exchange is better or Google Apps lacks in this facet or that feature, let me say this: I’m in NO way saying that Google Apps is right for every company. But for many technology companies with limited startup funds and a staff as small as mine (read: one person) utilizing the cloud is a great option. And a good portion of the Technibble audience can likely relate to my situation. With client work eating up more and time, why would I want to waste valuable billable hours on supporting myself? Seems a bit counter-intuitive, I know, but it’s true in every regard. At my previous employer (another tech consulting competitor) we had in-house Exchange running. But like most other Exchange systems I supported at client offices, it was riddled with the common problems and headaches. Database sizes taking over hard drives, viruses, ISP port configuration nightmares, and general availability…. all things we cherish in a proper email system. Sure many will say that Exchange "works well when configured right." Easier said than done.

I won’t espouse in detail on the cost savings I’m seeing over using an Exchange system. I wrote an overview of that aspect of the reasons behind going Google in a blog post of mine (read it here at Wlodarz.net). Please don’t send me emails regarding how my calculated numbers may be incomplete or off. My evaluation was by no means exhaustive and I’ll be the first to admit that. As a fledgling small business owner, I used readily available & sensible estimates. The truth of the matter sits more-so in the fact that I pay a total sum of zero dollars to Google for the service they provide. GoDaddy merely charges me for the actual domain, so yes, Google Apps is technically free.

If you’ve been debating whether or not it’s time to dump the old Exchange server and move to the cloud, here are my top ten reasons why you should consider it. While I run my own tech consulting business, the aspects described below can apply to nearly any organization of any size. My needs aren’t unique or niche in any way, but as always, consider my opinion in light of what I have personally experienced with Google Apps and FireLogic.

Reason #10 Spam Filtering
I haven’t tested out every competitor’s filtering solutions, but from what I have dealt with (namely Exchange’s built in filter, Red Condor, and Google Apps’ Postini powered system) the clear winner is Google Apps. The spam filtering algorithms employed produce false positives so infrequently that the old norm of checking your spam folder for good messages is a thing of the past. I haven’t been in my spam folder in months, and only jump into it when a client insists that they sent me something I didn’t receive. And the best part is that junk never gets through. My personal Gmail account gets blasted with hundreds of spam emails every day and I may force 2-3 messages a month into the spam folder. Otherwise, the good stuff gets through and the bad nearly always gets caught. Isn’t that how a good email system is supposed to work?

Reason #9 Setup Time
Unlike having to prepare a box (or VM), configure Exchange, and the other bevy of items that need to be accounted for in a traditional email setup, getting Google Apps running is a breeze. I recently setup my personal domain with Google Apps and from start to finish (fully configured) the process took me maybe 45 minutes at most. Add in a smartphone to the mix for mobile access and you tack on another 15 minutes. All in all, you can see what I’m getting at here: the entire configuration was simple, easy, and any mid to low level technician could handle it from start to finish. The only relatively scary parts are the MX/CNAME record changes – and even that is timid compared to the tasks with getting Exchange running.

Reason #8 Cost
This topic can be debated to death, but I’ll lay out the facts of what Google Apps costs me and you can make your own decisions. My domain costs me roughly $7-8 a year, and I pay $0 for Google Apps. That’s the extent of what it takes to run Apps. I don’t house a server that rings up the electric bill, or keeps me tangled up on maintenance, or that needs any kind of licensing. If I wanted to upgrade to the Google Apps for Business premium edition, that comes out to $5/person/month or $50/person/year, whatever I pricing plan I choose. But seeing that I am not someone who needs phone/email support from Google (the software platform just works, and well) the free version suits me just fine and there are no major limitations I have to deal with. At the end of the day, my only raw cost is a domain name and the bandwidth from my Comcast line.

Reason #7 Maintenance
Google handles this so I don’t have to. I don’t pay myself a consulting rate to fix internal server problems, so to me, fiddling with an internal server for email or other needs is pure time loss and essentially, money lost. A NAS box handles all internal file sharing and storage needs adequately well and I have yet to find a need to install a traditional server. It’s not that I’m uncomfortable with the tech behind running an Exchange system, it’s just that I purely don’t want to deal with it on a constant basis. As the sole employee of my company, and being head of marketing, invoicing, customer relations, purchasing, and all the other hats a business owner must wear, I find that playing technician for an internal Exchange server is not worth it for me.

Reason #6 Collaboration
Before Google Apps, how did we collaborate on documents together? Here’s a common scenario: a Word file was worked on, emailed to a colleague, who sent off another revision to another coworker, who ended up making a few changes and sending the wrong updated copy by mistake…. frustrating at best, and anything but "collaboration" if you ask me. Google Docs (available free as a part of Apps) solved that: why not bring the collaboration aspect into the actual user experience and make it seamless? Document sharing is a small part of the power that Docs offers, but an integral one. To be honest, making an "Excel spreadsheet" or "Word doc" aren’t a part of my everyday jargon anymore. "I’ll make a Google Doc out of it" is the case 9 times out of ten. Microsoft Office is still needed, don’t get me wrong, but for most document work I do, I’m using Docs instead.

Reason #5 Uptime
Here’s another one that is better left to the experts, but from most of what I’ve read, Google Apps and Gmail are much more reliable than the standard Exchange setup. How much more reliable? Quite a bit – 46 times more according to research by the Radicati Group (numbers reported here). That’s pretty darn good. In my experience, this is in line with what I ‘feel’ to be the case. My school district used to run Groupwise for email, and my previous employer ran Exchange 2003. Both solutions had many instances where we could see multiple hours of downtime every month. With Google Apps, both for my business and my current school district, the downtime is barely noticeable. In fact, the system as a whole almost never goes down. Certain parts may not work for a small period, but the "big blackouts" of Exchange or Groupwise are nonexistant. It’s kind of a shame though, since we can’t pass blame to a non-working email system anymore as to why something didn’t get done. The blame game days are over.

Reason #4 Scalability
You may run a small business consisting of a few people now, but you may also either have seasonal employment to consider. Better yet, you very well may rapidly grow as an entity. With a traditional server, unless you accounted for that growth pattern when you installed the server, you either have to make hasty upgrades, purchase additional licensing, and/or look into the worst option of all: just get an entirely new server altogether. In the end, it’s all wasted time, effort, and sometimes equipment. Add in the space and electric and cooling costs with the above hardware, and you can see that expansion on the backend is just as costly as the new hires themselves. Google Apps has near unlimited scalability with instant-on ability to tack on as many – or as few – users as you may wish. It’s all controlled on the Apps Control Panel and administration is seamless. You only pay for what you use, and it’s an ideal that I agree with 100%.

Reason #3 Features and Upgrades
Unlike an Exchange server or Sharepoint installation, I never have to worry about getting the "new version" in order to keep up with the times. Why? Google rolls out updates and bug fixes to Google Apps on the fly and rapidly. Google handles the entire backend part of all the updates and they are literally seamless to the end user. Given, most updates are smaller and piecemeal compared to the all-inclusive changes between Exchange or Sharepoint releases, but here’s the nice part about them: they are rolled out in such a way that makes them manageable for end users and easy to adjust to in smaller chunks. Unlike the time it takes to train people between versions of software (Office 2003 to 2007 anyone?) the smaller revisions that happen monthly to Google Apps are welcoming, timely and generally requested directly by the community.

Reason #2 Accessibility
FireLogic is a 100% mobile company with no storefront, with the sole "office" being a spare bedroom in my condo. Many small tech companies are run in a similar manner even though they may not publicly admit it. A majority of work for clients is done onsite and this makes the need for ‘accessible anywhere’ information crucial. Sometimes I jokingly tell friends that my company runs on a single Blackberry 9700 smartphone, which as crazy as it sounds, is very true. I have access to company email on the Blackberry at all times, along with my calendars, and since Google Voice powers my business number, all client calls and text messages reach me instantly. But the beautiful part? The same functionality is easily duplicated on ANY computer with a simple web brower ANYWHERE I may go. Even if I don’t have my company laptop, I generally have a computer around – and this means equal access to all of my needed information. If I had to try and replicate my current setup on an Exchange server in house, I wouldn’t know where to begin. Sure, Outlook Web Access handles calendar and email fine and dandy, but we all know it only works "cleanly" on IE and I dread using IE full time. I have yet to see Microsoft duplicate the power of Google Voice with similar ease or cost. If I’m behind on the times, feel free to rebuke the above.

Reason #1 Ease of Use
Technology comes easily to me, but I can’t say the same for everyone else – we support users after all, don’t we? The point here is that Google Apps took functionality that was sort-of available previously (in that statement I mean a concoction of Exchange/Sharepoint/etc that is the MS equivalent of Google Apps today) and made it accessible to the average user without the need to reinvent the wheel. I’m not saying that training isn’t needed to use Google Apps effectively (hence the need for Google Apps Certified Trainers such as myself.) What I will say is that Google Apps usually "just works" for the average user and that’s a beautiful concept. I can say this with certainty because my other employer, Maine Township High School District 207, went Google from 2008-2010 (three year rollout plan for those wondering) and our district is now entirely run on Google Apps. I see teachers and students using Google Apps for things that were only a pipe dream if we had to rely solely on Microsoft Office and the related equivalents. Technology is supposed to make productivity rise and hopefully have an intuitive factor – things Google Apps does extremely well.

Does Google Apps have its downsides? What system doesn’t!? I’ve got some gripes with Apps. For example, Docs isn’t a 100% replacement for Microsoft Office. I have to do a lot of my niche and formatting-specific documents in Word or Excel because Docs just doesn’t play nicely with them. PowerPoint has some functionalities still better served on the desktop side which Google Presentations (a subset of Docs) cannot properly handle. If you have bandwidth issues at your company or are not geared up for a mobile, always-accessible style of capability, then Google Apps may not be your best bet. Since this platform is entirely powered by the cloud, it lives and dies by the connection from your ISP. However, the above are all minor issues in an increasingly web-powered world.

And if you are looking at new opportunities for your consulting business, consider this: becoming a Google Apps Certified Trainer has provided me the single largest ROI of any certification I’ve ever gotten when taking into account all of the new clients and consulting work I’ve opened the doors to. The number of people inquiring about going Google far outnumbers those curious about installing another clunky Exchange server in their back office. If you want to keep up with the times and stay relevant, take a look at what Apps offers not only for your own company, but for the possibilities it provides your clients. They’re most certainly already on the prowl for this technology – ensure that YOU can be the solution provider to help them implement it.

And if you’re curious how I typed this article, I’ll give you one hint: it didn’t involve MS Word.

For more information on the Google Apps editions, you can visit: http://www.google.com/apps/index.html

Interested in Going Google for your small business? Have further questions? Contact me – I’m always willing to help out! Shoot me an email at info (at) firelogic.net and I’ll do my best to respond. If you are curious about the Google Apps Certified Trainer program, you can visit: http://www.google.com/a/help/intl/en/edu/certification_details.html

Disclaimer Notice: I am a Google Apps Certified Trainer, but be fully aware that I moved my company to Google Apps a full year before I received the Google certification.

Derrick Wlodarz

About the Author

Derrick Wlodarz
More articles by me...
Derrick Wlodarz is an IT Specialist that owns Park Ridge, IL (USA) based technology consulting & service company FireLogic, with over 8+ years of IT experience in the private and public sectors. He holds numerous technical credentials from Microsoft, Google, and CompTIA and specializes in consulting customers on growing hot technologies such as Office 365, Google Apps, cloud hosted VoIP, among others. Derrick is an active member of CompTIA's Subject Matter Expert Technical Advisory Council that shapes the future of CompTIA exams across the world. You can reach him directly at derrick@wlodarz.net.

Comments (30)

  • Michael says:

    I use google apps frequently, just yesterday I was using google docs.

    Either the google docs site was experiencing issues or my internet was being dicky, so the document I was working on had to be written in MS word until google docs came back online.

    Im all for online integration of businesses, but the reliability of internet is risky.

  • Blair Pruitt says:

    Excellent article Derrick and very compelling. I almost find it difficult not to be carried away by your honest enthusiasm for a system that offers convenience and simplicity. What I find hard to accept however, and perhaps it is just my libertarian spawned paranoia, is placing my business or personal data solely onto “the cloud” and under the control of another party. If they control my data, they control me. Comfort with such a proposition would be for me, a challenge.

  • Michael: I respect your feelings about the internet, but think about how much is run on the internet today that we take for granted: personal email, online banking, majority of commodity/stock trading, payroll services, income tax returns, and much much more. Given a few hiccups here and there, but for the most part, the majority of the above services have only benefited from the web and continue to improve. The question of internet stability never held them back – I don’t see why we should place an undue burden on the topic of business productivity suites such as Google Apps.

    Blair: I agree that placing a lot of the control of your data in another company’s hands like Google is risky, but don’t you think it’s just as risky by giving it to some other third party when you place your data into their software platforms? If you run Excel spreadsheets or use an Access database, are you not putting your eggs into the MS basket? I don’t see how giving it to Google is any different. You have just as much control over your data as going the MS or another route, and can freely export all of your data to the same common industry standard file formats that any other commonplace package offers. I think going the in-house or cloud route for data is a similar end solution with only differing means of reaching that end goal, that being what path do you take to get there. Riding off of what I wrote above to Michael, I have a lot of comfort in the cloud when it comes to my data. Remember this: cloud providers such as Google have no incentive to target you or your data. To them, you are merely a speck on a server in a data farm. Taking away the notion that a cloud provider is “out” to get you may alleviate some of the misconceptions about how safe your data may be.

  • Blair Pruitt says:

    “If you run Excel spreadsheets or use an Access database, are you not putting your eggs into the MS basket?”
    MS is not hosting my data, it lives on my hardware, under my control.

    “cloud providers such as Google have no incentive to target you or your data”
    Oh Really? LOL Sorry, but that just seems like a quaint concept to me. Google’s goal is to make money. Their service is FREE today. What keeps them from transitioning to a paid service after several years of “addicting” you in a fashion that makes it impractical or impossible to move to another platform. They then have the ability to dictate cost in a manner MS only dreamed of.

    They not only control your software, but your data on their servers. This is not the same thing as hosting a domain or an e-mail service, where if push came to shove, you could move to a competing host. What competition does Google Aps have?

    “To them, you are merely a speck on a server in a data farm.”
    Perhaps you are merely just one in several million sources of coerced revenue.

    History Derrik, is replete with victims that gave critical control of what they depended on to others, motivated either by convenience or security. Just saying… what if?

  • Blair,

    Google Apps has plenty of competing platforms… Office 365 and Zoho Apps just to name a few. Dollar vote always wins, and is the power behind the capitalist theory. If Google Apps can’t do it right, someone else will. We saw it in browsers, operating systems, and we will see it just as much so in cloud services.

  • Richard says:

    i have yet to start my business but i do use google apps for everything. i love it! great article derrick!

  • Blair Pruitt says:

    Bravo Derrik… I suppose I might as well stop now before I have to wear too much egg on my face. LOL

    365 as an offering is already a paid subscription, I believe at the tune of $6 per user per month? I am not sure if they have an initial free offering anymore as they went live. It would seem clear however that as over 70% of those who signed up for the 365 Beta were small businesses, that cloud services has a undeniable appeal to that sector.

    Truth be told, I am glad to see Google put up stiff competition in this arena. Having been in multiple support roles at various corporate entities, I must say that the near continuous roll out by MS of new versions of their Office products has been troublesome. As an independent IT business focusing on support to the Small Office Home Office, it has been near nightmarish. It is enough to have to deal with 4 flavors of MS OS platforms (with a fourth waiting in the wings) without adding constantly changing productivity software.

    For this very reason I have watched your development with Google Apps with great interest. I look forward to your continued opining on the subject, as I would be happy to see a viable comprehensive production solution to offer my clients, particularly if it eliminates the propensity of MS to dramatically and arbitrarily alter the navigation of their software in order to perform simple tasks.

    Thanks for your insights Derrik… they are always appreciated. Looking forward to more.

  • Blair Pruitt says:

    As to the last post… I intended to say “with a fifth waiting in the wings.”

  • Russel says:

    When I take a new business call, I add the appointment to google calendar, add the customer to google contacts and then on a google spreadsheet I track some information in a database type fashion such as time of call, source, date and time of booking. In Google document I put notes about common solutions to problems.

    When I am at home I use my desktop to update the data, when I am in the car or at customers house I use my Android phone or depending on the customer may just even login using their browser.

    I am aware of the privacy issues and would assume that nothing is “free”.

    I would say without doubt the most biggest of the CONS is at any given moment Google can flick a switch on my account with a BAN/BLOCK status, I have seen posts in forums of this very thing happening and it is messy and long not always quick to get sorted. Maybe this would be an advantage of having paid apps where you can get support instantly.

    Any one no of an all in 1 AUTOMATED Google Account backup. At the moment I export once a month but there are so many steps involved.

  • Marcelo says:

    Welcome abord too, Derrick!

  • We recently started selling a Google Apps setup service for my small business customers. for $99 we will register them a professional sounding domain, setup email and calender sharing on this PCs and smartphones. Up to 5 users. We have admittedly mostly ignored google docs.

    But my small business customer who are still using unprofessional sounding emails like aol.com and hotmail.com seem to love it. and when they learn they can share calenders they especially love it.

  • slees says:

    I agree with the general sentiments of the article. I too am basing the future of my business on moving other businesses to the cloud for basically the same reasons. I understand there are risks with handing over your data. But there are also risks with trying to manage your data yourself, which ends up being more complex and costly (I think). Backup everything that’s on the cloud regularly, have an alternative supplier ready to go, and I feel you have mitigated that risk sufficiently. If something is sooo business critical you can’t risk someone else getting hold of it, then don’t put it on the cloud.
    I have moved my own email, contacts and calendar to google recently and have been really happy with it. Haven’t really tried to use google docs yet but it is on the to do list. However one of the things that makes me hold off is the hopeless unreliability of google calendar’s reminder emails. I cannot believe that a company that brought us google earth, google maps, etc, cannot provide reliable calendar reminders. I have returned to the hotmail calendar which in 10 years has never once let me down like google has.
    And as far as article writing goes I would suggest that statements like this only detract from what you are saying. “Please don’t send me emails regarding how my calculated numbers may be incomplete or off”. I mean, why wouldn’t you welcome anyone challenging anything you write? Maybe it was only a one line joke, but I didn’t take it as such.
    Finally though, as I said in the beginning, I totally concur with your sentiments

  • I appreciate all of the comments on this article; it shows that indeed there is a conversation to be had about the future of cloud computing as a service platform for clients. I think it’s healthy to discuss the pros/cons of such software so we can all get a feel for what is available.

    And a direct reply to slees: the reason I put in that sentence was more for comical effect. I wanted the focus of that part of the article to be on the notion at large and not on my general calculations which were stated as non-scientific by all means presented. If I was going for a purely financial analysis of the topic at hand, I would have put a lot more time into the numbers portion.

    But by all means, meaningful comment as to the accuracy of my calculations are always welcome!

  • marvinthemartian says:

    Awesome Post – I use Google Apps too. I am a one woman enterprise. Between my Thunderbird mail app , Google on the web and my phone I have all my info at my fingertips and a nice redundant back up as well. I would love to know more about obtaining a Google certifications

  • BigBopper says:

    Nice article. I have recently set up my own business’s Google Apps account, as well as a family Apps account. I have also setup Apps for my church and parochial school, and have a couple of businesses lined up for Apps.
    I am currently looking for a good CRM. Have you found anything in the Apps market than works well with the tech industry? Like you, I am a one man shop. I only have a hundred or so clients currently, so do not need anything huge. Free would be great, but I would be willing to spend some money on this, as my business is growing quite nicely.

  • BigBopper: I personally don’t use a CRM yet as a one man shop, but I use a few of the products that Zoho offers and they actually have a cloud based CRM product called Zoho CRM (crm.zoho.com).

    They make quality software for very good pricing and integrate very well with Google Apps. Check them out and see what you think.

  • Jo says:

    Nice article, thanks. Welcome to the fold.
    Is there a way to keep a synchronized copy of all the apps info on your own hd?
    Every once in a while you hear of cloud services loosing “millions” of info. I use gmail on outlook with imap but also have a separate system with the pop3 which acts as a backup when (not in case) gmail gets a hiccup and accidentally deletes my mail or account.
    If there was an offline version (such as outlooks ost)then I would push all my customers to google apps.

  • Jo,

    There definitely is an offline option for each service that Google Apps offers. There is no “one button click” backup for everything, but there are true options available:

    Gmail: Just use POP3 to download a copy of all messages. This is a personal backup to your own system. See here for instructions: http://mail.google.com/support/bin/answer.py?answer=13287

    Sites: This nifty tool can backup entire Sites: http://code.google.com/p/google-sites-liberation/

    Calendar: Google Calendar Sync can handle this with Outlook easily: http://www.google.com/support/calendar/bin/answer.py?answer=98563

    Docs: Syncplicity offers a simple free solution for Docs backup and sync to a local machine: http://syncplicity.com/

    Contacts: Google Apps Sync from Google can handle getting contacts backups into Outlook: http://tools.google.com/dlpage/gappssync

    Those are all of the primary services from Apps. If you need suggestions for how to get something else backed up, just post and I will do my best to find a solution.

    I am fairly sure Google is working on a way to make the above scenarios easier and built into the core product.

  • Barcham says:

    I do not have one client who is interested in storing the data in the cloud. Internet service is still not 100% reliable and until the day it is, I will never attempt to convince any client to do so. Here in Montreal, my clients have regular Internet outages. I recently ahd a large client without net access for 4 days due to hardware problems at the local provider. If they were dependant on the cloud for their data, they would have lost tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars in business over that time.

    As for Google, they offer nothing that Microsoft does not. I have little confidence in Google’s privacy history and would not keep confidential or mission critical data on their servers. With Microsoft’s offering, especially the new Office 365, I feel much more confident and have access to cloud based software that is 100% compatible with the locally installed programs that all of my clients use.

    While cloud computing can be an interesting addition to an on site server, I feel it is years away from being able to replace one. I would consider moving email to the cloud, mainly with MS hosted Exchange, but not data.

  • nrkmann says:

    Great article! I use Google for several small businesses I have set up and find it really does a good job. I use the apps on the road when I am at a Kiosk or cyber cafe.

    To share documents I use dropbox so I never have to email a doc and everyone can access it from anywhere using shared folders. Neither Google or MS Windows Live has the functionality of Office so I use them as a backup not primary.

  • I agree with Blair that its dangerous putting your Info out in the cloud but if you have a hard copy of your data on a storage device at least you have that if Google decides to becomes a pay to play service.Besides even if they do, how much harm would they do to your data,and would you keep the answer to end world hunger on google docs anyways? I wouldnt.

  • Northeast Computer says:

    Seems everyone failed to mention that Google Apps for business is NOT free. They charge $5 a month for that service.

    Seems to me that eventually the standard Google Apps will not be free either. And what about the paid version option: “Business support and reliability 99.9% uptime guarantee SLA and 24×7 support”? Does this mean that free users get what they get and that’s it?

    I would NEVER, EVER, trust my client data, or company data, to the cloud. On the cloud it can vaporize in seconds. It can be stolen in seconds.

    I bet if your customers knew that you kept their “floating around” the cloud, they would probably not do business with you.

    In addition to my new repair business, I have been running a PC parts website for over 10 years. I have a database of over 11,000 customers. Not one single customer has there info anywhere on the internet by my hand. Not even their email address. Nothing! I don’t see how that is safe. Just look at the mess monoprice got themselves in last year?

    No thank you. I will keep all my data on my computer, and only my computer. I will back it up every few days, and I will make duplicate copies of all original installation CD’s.

    Just my 2 cents worth. :)

  • As I say, there are two strong opinions and I think each one should be taken into consideration.

    I will say that I have gotten an overwhelming response over email from shops that are either moving to Google Apps or have moved and the majority have been very happy, as have I.

    Nice to hear from both camps on this topic.

  • Jeff says:

    It seems that the argument against Google Apps is that “I don’t have control of my data.” That’s absolutely not true.

    For e-mail, you have free imap and pop3 access. By all means, download it to your e-mail client and back up your local copy. Not a problem to do at all. You can do the same thing with the calendar. Honestly, you can even sync everything with exchange if you so desire.
    For documents, there are several free document sync tools available. Set them up, let it sync to Google. Work on it locally or remotely, whatever works for you.

    Nothing HAS to be ONLY on Google’s servers. The beauty of being able to access everything anywhere still applies, too.

    I, too, have been using Google Apps for years. I’ve converted a few people over. Everyone I talk to about it loves it.

  • IT Support says:

    Thank for sharing insight. I agree that it is a ROCK SOLID Deal. I have helped folk setting up their Google APPS and it is a breeze. You can access it from anywhere. Fast and Effective solution. You can’t go wrong with google apps.

  • Chuck Romano says:

    Nice article on google apps. I am looking to start a collaboration project and Google apps may be the way to go. How does one go about becoming certified?

  • Hosted Exchange is another alternative.

  • Some people have emailed me asking where they can find more information on becoming Google Certified. Here are two certifications most pertinent to us IT professionals:

    Google Apps Deployment Specialist exam: http://certification.googleapps.com/Home

    Google Apps Certified Trainer: http://www.google.com/a/help/intl/en/edu/certification_details.html

    If anyone has questions as to anything about the exams, I can definitely answer questions. I’m studying towards the Deployment Specialist exam and already have my Apps Certified Trainer credential.

    The amount of work that has come from leads related to having the above is better than anything I’ve gotten from my CompTIA or Microsoft certs. Just saying.

  • QNS Evan says:

    I work for a medium sized IT service that works exclusively for K-12 school districts. We push all of our school districts to use all Google apps and Gmail. As an added bonus for School of all levels, it is completely free for as many users/accounts as you want, minus the domain costs, to the school district.

    It is very easy to switch the schools over from their previous mail. The only problem that we run into is if we are switching from particular mail services when we have to login to a computer as that person and do a manual export.