Like many people, the mere mention of the word “change” instills a looming feeling of uncertainty in me which, depending on the item or items that are changing, can manifest itself in many different forms from a simple bump in my pulse all the way to shaking uncontrollably in a corner! However, one change that has not even registered as a blip on my radar is the transition from Postini services to Google Apps. Perhaps this is due to the use of the word “transition” to describe the pending cutover as opposed to “change” and in that single word, my fears are allayed. More certainly, this is due to the tremendous amount of energy expended on ensuring that the transition from Postini to Google Apps is clearly documented and the overwhelmingly abundant information available to help manage this transition.
Postini Message Security was first offered in 2007 through Google. Since inception, Postini has been an integral component of many company’s successful e-mail management infrastructure. In January 2012 however, Google began to introduce updated versions of Postini’s features, rebranded them and offered the revamped application through Google Apps. Confidence in their success is overwhelming as Google anticipates the transition from Postini will be completed by the end of the year 2013 with streamlined features, easily navigable administration consoles and e-mail management simplification the only features left standing when the transition dust settles…not too shabby, huh?
Initially, nay sayers to the success of Postini transitioning in to Google Apps were heard mumbling under their breath that “Google is killing Postini” but they could not be further from the truth. Reports first speculated that support for Postini would terminate at the contract end date. However, the reality is that Google Apps will support all of their clients through the transition and then, once completed, begin to wind down available support. When considering the transition, do not overlook the fact that Google is boasting a robust infrastructure that will mimic, if not surpass Postini, with regard to overall reliability, scalability and, the best of all, a very intuitive and user friendly interface. Considering some of the other available ‘cloud’ options out there, I think Google Apps is managing to their client expectations. To see proof of this, one need not look any further then their current Postini Administration Console… simplicity at its finest.
Straight from the Postini Administration Console, you can initiate the transfer to Google Apps simply by clicking on the “Transition’ tab which will initiate a Transition Wizard. Not sure what data is needed or what information to update? The Transition Wizard will be your best friend throughout the process; providing guidelines and key points of interest to help you navigate the transition. Already an expert with enterprise level application management? Postini offers a tool aptly named the ‘Quick Start’ page that quickly guides you through the transition to Google Apps. Any way you slice it, I am confident that you will find more than ample documentation available on-line to ensure a smooth transition from Postini to Google Apps.
Trigon is a certified partner for Postini and Google Apps technologies. If you have any questions about the looming transition, please contact us for a non-committal and educational conversation. We’re here to help you through this change… I mean, transition.
The last few blogs that I have written, as well as a few in the past, have been about the Apple iPhone. I had been using a Windows Mobile 6.2 device myself for the last few years and only had the pleasure of using friends’ and family’s iPhones. My phone was dying and I was going to see about upgrading to an iPhone (the only reason I hadn’t got one before was Verizon didn’t offer them until this year). After talking with a friend, he suggested I go with an Android.
I was thinking about getting an Android, but because of all the friends and family that have the iPhone, I was going to get an iPhone myself. I liked a lot of the apps that they have and wanted to be able to “play” with some of the features and things I have been writing about for the past few months. So, after seeing the Android first-hand, I knew it was going to be for me. For starters, it had the ability to have Adobe Flash Player installed on it, which the iPhone does not (why can’t Apple and Adobe come to some agreement?????). Next, it had an appealing interface to it. While I was used to going to the “Apple Store” for apps on friends’ iPhones, I was new to the Android “Market”. It was very easy to search and find exactly what I was looking for.
The only down-side to the Android that I have found so far is that my favorite app, Magic Piano, on the iPhone has not been written for the Android. Most of the other apps and other things that I had on my previous Windows Mobile 6.2 device, as well as a few additions I wanted, I was easily able to get for free on the new Android. For the first time, I am able to check my auto insurance coverage anywhere I want, see where I am by using Maps (including directions that rival the TomTom and Garmin) with appropriate GPS, and be able to listen to music using the Pandora app. As these are all free, it is like an early Christmas present.
So, what mobile device do you have? An iPhone, Android, Windows-based, Blackberry (perish the thought!!)? Or do you still have a device that is not a SmartPhone that can do all these fun things? What are your likes and dislikes about your device? Is it easy to use and have all the things on it you wanted? Are you able to do what you thought you could or are you disappointed that you got it and think you would have been happier with another device?
Are you in need of some assistance with the purchase of a new device that could help your business grow by increasing your productivity? Please contact us to discuss our Philadelphia IT Mobility Solutions. Or let us know how we can help you with our many Philadelphia IT Strategy Solutions. We would be happy to help you do what you do best – make your life easier while at the same time advancing your business however you think best.
The Microsoft Office 365 team reportedly created a spoof video (below) that pokes fun at Gmail for team-building purposes at the annual Microsoft GlobalExchange sales conference. Now "Gmail Man," featuring an unctuous, cloying mail carrier who looks through people's correspondence to identify "keywords" for advertising opportunities, could just go viral.
Apparently, one of 12,000 or so Global Exchange attendees managed to smuggle out a copy of "Gmail Man" to ZDNet's Mary-Jo Foley after it was screened during opening ceremonies on July 20.
"Have you been reading my mail?" asks one flustered office worker when the Gmail Man bursts in and asks about her "burning" and "itching." "Just skimming," he replies, "for certain keywords."
Microsoft's point: Google scans Gmail correspondence as part of its ad-matching system—something privacy-minded emailers may not be too happy about.
First of all, it is pretty creepy that the ads you get while inside of GMail are from the words you type into your emails. Let that sink in a moment.
Google knows what you're typing into your emails!
I myself use multiple email accounts from various services and GMail seems to work the best for personal use. When using for professional user an Exchange server linked with all of the Microsoft services is pretty peachy as well. The second MS starts serving up ads is the day I sign up for Apple's email services!
- by Andrew, "Speak Softly And Carry A Big Stick", Levin
- Interface - MS Office has always provided a very rich user experience, especially with the 2010 release. The Google interface has always been a bit bland, and lacks the aesthetics which Office so proudly displays.
- Integration - Each Office application integrates seamlessly with each other and makes transitioning between various workloads a breeze.
- Familiarity - Most of us have grown up using Office products, which makes it very hard to lean towards another solution. Google Apps is fairly new and transitioning to a new system makes anyone a bit wary.
- Features - This point is simply non-negotiable. Office reigns supreme as each one of its applications can satisfy the basic needs of a novice, all the way to the advanced needs of a professional.
- Could - Originally, this was the most advantageous reason to use Google Apps. It being a cloud service simplified deployment, management, maintenance, DR, etc. However, Microsoft's push of Office 365, SBS 2011, etc., will ensure Office will dominate in the cloud as well.
Simply put, Microsoft Office is the de facto standard in the enterprise game. It proviced a suite of robust and powerful tools that simply cannot be matched. Trigon can customize these services to fit your needs.
We continue to evaluate each service that could be a perfect fit for our clients and we will also present our engineers opinions on the technology we interact with every day.
- by Joseph, "No Nickname Because I Don't Know Him Well Enough", Figaniak
With both Google Apps for Business and Microsoft Office released for consumer use, there must be some users who prefer the new, web-based product of the Google Apps for Business to the trusty ‘old’ ways of Microsoft Office. But wait what’s that? Microsoft Office also has web-based services? Yes Microsoft also has the web-based service, Office Web Apps and a beta version of the new Microsoft Office 365.
So what exactly makes either solution better than the other? Personal preference? Features? Pricing? Well the answer is most likely personal opinion, but I’m not writing this article to tell you what you already know. I’m here to tell you why one is better than the other. So without further ado, these are the 5 Reasons to Use Microsoft Office Instead of Google Apps for Business:
- Compatibility – Although Google boasts that it supports popular formats made famous by Microsoft Office, it responds poorly when it comes to formatting, inserting images, and imported content from the rest of MicrosoftOffice products. If you don’t want to be reformatting the document you just uploaded to Google Apps to a ‘similar’ version of the original, skip the Google Apps and head straight to Microsoft’s Web Apps or Office 365. These two online services mesh smoothly with Microsoft Office installed on your PC. Documents retain all their formatting and inserts, spreadsheets keep all their formulas and functionality, and presentations preserve their animation capabilities.
- Connection – Nowadays the world seems to be moving towards a totally interconnected network of information, accessible from virtually anywhere. With that being said, it is great that both Google and Microsoft are moving in that direction allowing users to create, edit, collaborate, save, and print, all from a browser screen. But, on the off chance there is an unreliable connection to the internet, no connection at all, or worst case scenario, a business’ server fails, it is always a great feeling to have a failsafe back-up. Microsoft Office installed on the PC will allow a user to continue working without the worry of a dropped connection or maintaining a solid and reliable connection. With Microsoft Office, a user has all of these capabilities and back-ups available to them without an internet connection.
- Features – Both services provide the basic features needed by any business such as a reliable email service and calendar, the ability to create word documents, spreadsheets, and presentations, and a way to collaborate and share documents and calendars with co-workers. This is all well and good for a standard small business, but what if the business is in need of more tools? Microsoft also offers a few more products to suit most businesses nicely. Publisher, OneNote, Access, Communicator, InfoPath, and SharePoint Workspace are all offered by Microsoft that communicate with Office as a whole, for a streamlined feel unlike Google Apps, which does not support these useful programs that might be needed by a particular company.
- Pricing – Most businesses use some form of Microsoft Office on a daily basis, whether it’s Outlook for email or Word for documents, so why would you want to completely switch from Microsoft Office to Google Apps? The thought of practically throwing away paid-for software to use only web-based applications is absurd. Taking for granted that a business is utilizing Office already, but is looking for a web-based collaboration interface, adding Office 365 to the business’ arsenal of tools would make much more sense. For roughly the same price both Microsoft Office 365 and Google Apps can be obtained on a flexible, low-rate monthly plan, but Microsoft goes one step further and offers plans for different sizes and types of businesses. For a business already using Microsoft Office, it only makes sense to move forward with a completely compatible service such as Office 365.
- Versions – Although it is best to keep up to date on hardware, software, and technology in general, some users might be hesitant to update for any number of reasons, whether it’s lack of funds, comfortability, or indecisive on product choice. A main issue with web-based apps for business is that they will be updated without consent of the end user, meaning if a user gains a comfortability with a previous version and logs-in one day to find features moved around, it will be up to them to ‘relearn’ the new version. With a software copy of Microsoft Office, the user is prompted to purchase the recommended update to utilize new features. This places a comfortable feeling in the users who aren’t quite ready for the ‘latest and greatest’ features of the given business app.
These are the main reasons as to why previous users of Microsoft Office should stay true to their roots and opt for Office 365 over Google Apps, and also why new users should adapt Microsoft Office over Google Apps. Microsoft provides an excellent software-based and seemingly excellent web-based suite of applications for all forms of business. In the IT field, we all know that it is wise to back-up work, so why not back-up your work with the reliability and support of Microsoft Office and compliment it with Office 365, providing compatibility, functionality, and yes, even more back-up.
A few months ago, Microsoft first introduced a service that we think delivers the best of the cloud, working with the Office applications people already know and trust. It's called Office 365, and it brings together all of the familiar and powerful Microsoft productivity tools in a single cloud service. Today, we’re announcing a public beta of Office 365, enabling people in 38 markets to utilize Office, SharePoint, Exchange, and Lync as a cloud service.
Cloud computing is gaining mindshare fast. Companies of all sizes are using the cloud to deliver the latest applications and services, and they're seeing how cloud services can give them a competitive advantage while minimizing routine maintenance like patching, updating, and upgrading, and the upfront costs of traditional on-premises infrastructure. Cloud services can combine that convenience and affordability with powerful functionality and ease of use.
It's here! Well, not for me. I signed up and was promptly told that I'd have to wait 2-4 weeks to gain access to the public beta. For now I guess I'll just have to make due with Google's terrible formatting decisions when exporting to Word format.
Google Apps aside, this is great move for Microsoft. Techie people online are drifting towards web apps that store their information on far away servers and services such as Dropbox and Google, and similar moves can't be that far away for Enterprise. I myself like to keep all my writing in Dropbox so I can access wherever I go. There are even specific apps that use your Dropbox credentials so you can edit on your smartphone.
It seems like 365 is a step in the right direction, but I often wonder about the speediness of web apps and their upgrade. For instance, many users are still using Office 2003. Maybe because they can't afford to update, but also because it's what they know. Why upgrade?
Google Apps encounters issues for that exact reason. It's a web app, and therefore can be updated at the drop of a hat. If a user prefers Google Docs ver. X but Google updates to a new version, there is no going back for that user. The same will be said for Office 365. MS will be able to update small items when they choose, and not have to do in cycles of 3-5 years like native applications. Will those effect enterprise users going into the Cloud? Time will tell, but if you have any questions about implementation of Microsofts services for your own clients, let us know.
- by Andrew Levin, via Mosaic Technology.
So, I wanted to see what all the fuss was about regarding Google Apps so I decided to take it for a test run myself. As it turns out, I was very impressed by the surprisingly simplistic configuration process. I was able to sign up, configure my account, repoint my domain, get apps configured, setup users, and email flowing all in under 30 minutes. Granted, everything was a vanilla configuration, but just being able to experience how quickly an administrator could get fundamental IT services up and running so quickly was very promising.
In a nutshell, I will outline the basic configuration process just so you can get a feel of how easy it is.
- I went to https://www.google.com/a/cpanel/domain/new in order to sign up for the free service.
- Followed the prompts to input basic domain information
- Created an administrator account
- Verified ownership of my domain by adding a C-Name record specified by Google
- Successfully logged into my account and was taken to the administrator’s dashboard
- Poked around through all the available settings to get a feel for everything
- Clicked the setup guide to learn how to create custom URLs for my domain, instead of using Google’s.
- Sub domains can be created for any of the provided features. For example, docs.yourdomain.com or email.yourdomain.com. All it takes is adding the proper CNAME value within your domain’s DNS manager and point it to ghs.google.com. Then you simply specify the sub domain name in your Google Apps admin dashboard and they take care of the rest of the redirection.
8. Reviewed the setup guide
I then began poking around admin dashboard to see what other options were available. It has a similar look and feel of other Google offerings which makes it pretty simple. Also, which is great, there isn’t really that much to it. I mean, you have your domain settings, users and groups, service settings, support tools, and you’re good to go. Although I only performed a cursory review, my first impression was that of a design objective similar to Microsoft’s Small Business Server. Google Apps facilitates the ability to not require specifically skilled IT administrators (possibly the skilled IT administrators based out of Wayne, PA servicing the entire Philadelphia area) to run and support the essential features of your business’s infrastructure.
My overall expectations weren’t to see an elaborate feature set, stunning graphics, or an advanced admin console. I expected to see a simplistic, but intuitive UI, both from the user and administrator side, as well as services that fulfilled the fundamental needs of small to mid-sized businesses. That is exactly what I saw. No frills here, it just gets down to business. The goal of Google Apps isn’t to rival the feature set of MS Office because that would be pointless. The goal is to answer the need for a simplified means of deploying, implementing, managing and using core IT services in a business environment. Impressively, that is exactly what Google Apps has accomplished.
Keep in mind too; this is only the first release…