Category Archives: Google Apps

How can technology help when working abroad?

Those who have chosen to spend time living and working abroad are actually very lucky these days. The rapid development of modern communications technologies means that it is so much easier to keep in touch with people, no matter where you are, than it used to be even ten years ago. When somebody moves abroad, the ability to keep in touch is essential for both the worker and those remaining at home.

How has technology changed?

Before the onset of smartphones, laptops and the Internet, the only real way of keeping in touch with family and friends while working abroad was the telephone and letters. This usually meant that contact was infrequent, and most people would go for weeks without hearing from loved ones.

The Internet has changed a great deal for those who are away from home. Email has made it so much easier to drop somebody a line and has become a popular way to communicate not only with family and friends but also with work colleagues – even those in the same building! This has been followed rapidly with additional technologies such as smartphones and Apps that mean workers do not have to be at their desk to keep in touch. Financial technologies developed by organizations such as  Trans-Fast Remittance LLC mean that money can be transferred from one country to another in seconds – important for those who work abroad and want to send money home.

Cloud computing

Cloud technologies are becoming increasingly popular for businesses and private use. Cloud services mean that the location of the worker is far less of a factor than it used to be. Technology such as Skype means that people can keep in touch easily. Skype video chats are great for keeping in touch with family but are also ideal for the workplace. Meetings can be held via Skype and similar Apps. It is free to download and ensures easy communication.

Google Apps and Google Docs are a type of cloud computing. A worker can create a document using this software and it is held on Google’s cloud service. Another worker can easily access it from their own office, even if they are thousands of miles away. FaceTime is another option for communication while abroad. A way of making video calls, it has become very popular with younger people for keeping in touch while they are traveling.

Google and Apple are just two developers that have embraced the concept of cloud computing and are applying it to their new products all the time, continuously developing each one further. The development of cloud services and new ways to keep in touch is only going to continue as competition grows in this sector. Those who work abroad will see it become even easier to communicate in the years to come.

Communications technologies such as cloud computing have developed very rapidly, and their continual evolvement means that consumers should expect to see the Apps that they already know very well develop even further as well as the introduction of new software.

Spanning Cloud Apps Launches Reseller Program for Spanning Backup

Spanning Cloud Apps, Inc., creators of Spanning Backup for Google Apps, has launched the Spanning Authorized Resellers Program.  Through the program, partners can provide their customers a product for protecting Google Apps data.

Spanning Backup provides backup and recovery of the complete Google Apps suite: Gmail, Drive, Sites, Calendar and Contacts.  The solution features a secure cloud-to-cloud environment for protecting Google Apps data and SSAE 16 Type II audited processes that ensure its integrity.  Spanning also provides constant monitoring of data backup, allowing administrators to correct issues before they become problems.

“We have designed a program that extends the value of reseller services, and brings together the key support pieces for their ongoing success,” said Jeff Erramouspe, chief revenue officer, Spanning.  “We’re excited to already be working with leading VARs and system integrators worldwide and look forward to expanding into new relationships.”

“As enterprises encounter obstacles in moving to the cloud, Spanning Backup provides a unique solution that solves the challenges facing our customers in North America, Europe and Asia,” said Doug Shepard, president of the Google Business Unit for Cloud Sherpas, the world’s largest cloud services brokerage and two-time Google Apps Global Partner of the Year.  “We look forward to a successful partnership with Spanning as we integrate their solution into an overall cloud strategy for our clients.”

Key features of the Spanning Authorized Reseller program include:

  • A discount structure with strong margins that gives reseller partners complete control over end-user pricing and a higher average revenue per user (ARPU); potential for increased ARPU by 60-80 percent over selling Google Apps alone
  • Lead referral and distribution of new business opportunities
  • A simple contracting process to get resellers into the market quickly and efficiently
  • Customized marketing programs for specific territories, market segments and business practices, including email marketing, webinars and other co-marketing activities

“We have found Spanning Backup to be an excellent platform for delivering value-added services to our clients,” said Rob Morgan, managing director for PIT Group in Wollongong, Australia.  “Managing data protection policies isn’t always easy and many of our customers contract with PIT Group to do that for them.  The Spanning program gave us the flexibility to bundle our services with Spanning Backup and deliver them both to our clients in one cost-effective package.”

Spanning has partners reselling Spanning Backup around the globe, including in North and South America, Europe, Middle East, Africa, Asia and Australia/New Zealand.

Cloudreach Says Businesses Don’t Maximize Cloud Investment, They Can Help

To help businesses maximize their investment in cloud technologies, Cloudreach has today launched an Innovation Services program. Starting with Google Apps, this consultancy-based service helps business cloud users consistently review how they’re using Google Apps, make the best of the tools they have and adopting new services from Google as they are released.  Cloudreach will work with new and existing users to help them adopt and benefit from all of the services Google Apps offers as opposed to just the familiar tools – going beyond the familiarity of Gmail, contacts and calendar to other Enterprise functionality and even the less well known Google Maps and Geospatial data management tools.  By working with Cloudreach businesses can ensure they extract maximum value from the cloud-based services and avoid needlessly making costly investments elsewhere, all while enabling a culture of collaboration and giving end-users the flexible tools and features they demand.

Failing to exploit public cloud services thoroughly is proving costly for cloud users, says Cloudreach. As the adoption of public cloud services soars, businesses have the opportunity to realize vast benefits, such as reduced costs and improved efficiency, but many are only scratching the surface by not reviewing and not looking beyond the more familiar tools, says the cloud computing consultancy.

“It’s not just about driving innovation within business, but also about optimizing all the services you use. In the world of using public cloud, one drives the other, so it’s important that businesses remain focused on getting the most on both counts,” comments Pontus Noren, co-founder and CEO, Cloudreach. “The cloud is a great thing, and the reality is it just keeps getting better as more developments are made by Google Apps and Amazon Web Services. This ongoing evolution is only good news for businesses – as long as they continually review to ensure they harness these developments.”

Cloud Service Deal Stats Show Rapid Growth, Tripling Since 2010

Our friends at Cloudreach asked today if we had seen the Information Services Group’s recent report that said global IT services deals with a Cloud computing element have tripled since 2010 The report, which looks at more than 24,000 contract records, shows the number of IT deals featuring Cloud have doubled from nine per cent in 2010 to 27 per cent in 2012.It also suggests that private Cloud does not fully realise Cloud’s promise, whereas public Cloud offers great economies of scale.

Pontus Noren, director and co-founder of Cloudreach, a Google Apps and Amazon Web Services reseller, also commented, “This report demonstrates how Cloud computing is living up to the hype – it is one of the only areas in IT that is rapidly growing. Cloud’s continual growth can only be good for the global economy because it allows them to concentrate on core business activities, leaving behind traditional IT set-ups that involve purchasing and managing equipment, which can prove expensive and time consuming.

“I see future growth being unstoppable for Cloud computing. I have heard suggestions that in five years time, 50 per cent of emails will be cloud-based, whereas today that figure is just two per cent. A twenty five fold increase in five years is just explosive.

“It is also encouraging to see that public Cloud is preferred over private, as it offers a much more scalable and flexible solution.Largely unlimited data storage and universal access makes public Cloud an ideal option for many businesses, such as those with offices at more than one location, a mobile workforce, limited IT resources or rapidly evolving IT requirements. Firms can increase or decrease capacity as they need, and only pay for what they use.”

Aujas Launches Phishnix for Cloud Services

Aujas Information Risk Services today announced the launch of Phishnix for cloud services, a new product that will help clients protect their sensitive information on the cloud by strengthening their weakest link in the security chain, their own employees. The product is targeted for major cloud services such as Salesforce, Google Apps, Netsuite etc. is the most popular cloud CRM company in the world with more than 75,000 companies who trust their customer data on Salesforce. The Salesforce security guideline specifically warns against the threat and says, “As the community grows, it has become an increasingly appealing target for phishers. Phishers often direct users to enter details at a fake website whose URL and look-and-feel are almost identical to the legitimate one.”

One example is a recent scam that involved an email luring receivers to participate in the beta test of ‘Dreamforce,’ promising discounts and requesting receivers to fill a form, in a fake web link. In such a case, employees who are unaware of it being a phishing attack may easily fall prey to it. Any company is likely to face heavy business loss, when employees become victims of phishing attacks. According to the RSA Fraud report 2011, global loss from phishing is estimated to be about $1 billion.

Phishnix does a behavioral analysis of employees when faced with a phishing attack. It is integrated with Salesforce and has ready Salesforce scenarios which the client can select. They can start the assessment in a matter of hours and analyze how their employees react to a phishing attack. That data is then used to create awareness and train the employees on how to respond to a phishing attack.

Speaking on the occasion Mr. Karl Kispert, Vice President at Phishnix said, “A single assessment and training cycle of Phishnix reduces the phishing fall rate by almost 35%. That is a huge reduction in the phishing risk for any organization.”

The product will be showcased by our partner Exafort at Dreamforce 2012, booth number 326 at the Moscone Center, San Francisco, on 18—21 September 2012. Stop by Exafort’s booth and ask for a demo and additional information about Phishnix. Dreamforce 2012 is the cloud computing industry event of the year with more than 50,000 attendees and 350 cloud computing companies showcasing more than 1000 solutions.

“Data security and confidentiality on the cloud is one of the biggest concerns for all our clients using cloud based services to run their business. Cloud service providers are addressing this concern to a large extent by building robust and secure applications and platforms. By adding Aujas’ Phishnix to our tool belt we can now gain valuable insights of our clients’ employees’ behavior with respect to information security and act upon them,” said  Arun Kanchi, CEO of Exafort Inc.

As cloud adoption increases within organizations, more sensitive data will be stored in the cloud. “We will see more focused phishing attacks targeting popular cloud applications. The road-map is to enable Phishnix for all popular cloud platforms, and help clients reduce phishing risk for all their cloud applications. It would become an integral part of their cloud security program,” said Sameer Shelke, CTO at Phishnix.

Cloud Competition: Microsoft Cuts Prices, Adds Platform

Guest Post by Sharon Shapiro of Cloud Sherpas

Although it only entered the cloud computing market in July 2011, Microsoft has already made a name for itself with Office 365, its hybrid cloud solution available to businesses.  But despite its initial climb, Microsoft has yet to catch up to Google when it comes to cloud computing.

Google has worked as a cloud service provider, with its fully-based cloud solution Google Apps, since 2006.  Google offers customers four different cloud computing platforms (business, education, government, and non-profit) and a 99.9% uptime guarantee, including service and updates, that it regularly exceeds.  In contrast, Office 365 is currently available only for businesses and has had issues meeting its promised 99.9% uptime, which does not include service and updates.  Google Apps pricing is also much lower than Office 365 pricing, with the highest priced Google Apps platform (business) operating at $50/user/year and the lowest Office 365 plan operating at $72/user/year.  But a lot of that is about to change as Microsoft has announced news that it hopes will bridge the gap.

First, Microsoft recently announced that it will be cutting the price of Office 365 by up to 20 percent.  Microsoft says this is because it now costs less to run the hybrid cloud platform than it did when Microsoft first introduced Office 365 last July.

Second, Microsoft says it will soon add a new plan – Office 365 for Education – which will widen the customer base.  The release of Office 365 is clearly an attempt to compete with the success of Google Apps’ free education platform.

Although lowering its prices and adding a plan for educational institutions are steps toward competing with Google Apps, Microsoft still has a big gap to close.  Google Apps will still boast more platforms (government and non-profit, in addition to the free version that many people use in their personal lives) and five more years of experience in the cloud.  With this greater experience, comes enhanced cloud service, as Google Apps is a fully cloud-based solution that offers its users complete universal access and proven reliability.  In contrast, it is important to remember that Office 365 is still a hybrid cloud solution that requires on premises servers and that, when it comes to document creating capabilities, works best in conjunction with Microsoft Office installed on a desktop.  Both of these necessities limit the mobile access that Office 365 users can enjoy.   Additionally, Office 365 has already been plagued with a number of outages that have resulted in significant amounts of downtime for users across the world.

These key differences between Office 365 and Google Apps may be part of the reason why the governments of major cities, like Pittsburgh and Los Angeles, trust Google Apps for their communication needs.

While Microsoft’s price cut and addition of an education plan will definitely improve the Office 365 cloud suite, these changes will certainly not put Microsoft and Google on an even playing field, as Google still boasts more authority, reliability, and a wider range of services.