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Work from Home Best Practices #3 – Google Workspace for Remote Work

Google Workspace should have a solid position in any high-growth MSP’s portfolio. Google Workspace (formerly G Suite) is Google’s flagship office productivity and collaboration platform built for businesses. Over the past decade, Google has emerged as Microsoft’s main challenger in the workplace collaboration space. From its billions of Gmail users, Google has continuously innovated the Google Workspace platform and carved out a solid market share position with business users. What’s more, many of the most innovative companies in the world, such as Netflix, Spotify, and Salesforce, now standardize on Google Workspace for office productivity and collaboration.

For growth oriented MSPs, it is impossible to ignore Google’s success and market share with Google Workspace. This blog will explore why high-growth MSPs should look to cover 100% of the market by adding Google Workspace as a key solution in their managed services stack.

1. Google Workspace - Powered by Google Cloud

Google Workspace is powered by Google Cloud, one of the world’s largest and most reliable cloud platforms. Alongside AWS and Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud powers some of the largest and most-used cloud apps in the world, such as Gmail, YouTube, and Google Search. Why Google Cloud?
  • $47 billion invested in the last 3 years
  • Over 1 billion unique IP addresses served daily
  • Global-scale – with 21 regions currently and more on the way
Leading companies from around the world rely on Google Cloud for their applications and infrastructure. Google’s uncommonly high reliability is a key reason partners should trust Google Workspace.

Google Groups

Google Groups is valuable for creating distribution lists and forums. When creating a Google Group, the group can be assigned to the domain of your choice, and an email address will be automatically provisioned. Any emails that are sent to the group will be distributed to all group members, allowing for easy information sharing for announcements. Privacy settings can be adjusted during Google Group creation, which is used to carefully control who has visibility and access into various Google Groups within an organization. Privacy settings include who can find the group, who can join, and permissions for viewing and making posts within a group. For each category, privacy settings can be limited to Group owners, Group managers, Group members, the entire organization, or anyone on the web. Google Groups can be used as an internal tool for teams, or it can even be used as a public-facing channel for external communication. These external-facing channels can be used for community building, public-facing support, or information sharing.

During the final stage of Google Groups creation, users can be added as members, managers, or owners. Each tier has different degrees of control over the Group, promoting clear roles and responsibilities. Also, the Group subscription can be modified to act as a typical mailing list, a digest list, an abridged subscription, or no subscription at all. These subscription settings help control the total amount of information that will be shared across the group via email updates. For organizations using Google Workspace, it may make sense to reflect the overall organizational structure through Groups for greater visibility and controlled information sharing. Not only should project teams get their own Groups for collaboration, but department members, managers, and even Executive teams should leverage Google Groups to clearly define their roles and establish lines of communication. If a department head needs to bring awareness to Executives, they can message the Executives Group rather than having to email each Executive individually, for example.

Google Groups can also be used to define target audiences, which is used for content sharing via GoogleDrive and Docs. When sharing documents, the target audience can be set to a Google Group, ensuring everyone in that group has access to view and collaborate on those documents. This can be helpful for educational and onboarding materials for new employees ensuring everyone has access to the latest project files.

Google Chat

While Google Groups is meant to be more for distribution lists and forums, Google Chat is where users can communicate in real-time with their various project teams. Google Chat can be used to create Rooms, which act as dedicated text channels for teams, similar to Microsoft Teams or Slack. Within Rooms, content can be shared, users can be tagged, and tasks can be assigned. Google Chat is integrated across Mail and Drive, so team discussions can continue when editing shared documents or browsing email. Google Chat is also integrated with Google Meet and Google Calendars, enabling easy video conference and scheduling for meetings. Users can even tag Google Meet’s bot to quickly find a time slot where all Google Chat Room members are available for a meeting.

Business leaders should also strongly consider using Google Chat for non-work-related topics to promote corporate culture and team unity. Google Chat for fun discussion topics, weekly happy hours, or discussing the latest episode of a popular TV show can replace the typical water cooler discussion that used to happen in the office.

Google Calendar

While Google Calendar can be used for scheduling meetings and making dates, it also has integrations with Google Keep and Google Tasks, which enables detailed note taking and task-tracking capabilities.

Tasks can be created either within the calendar view or independently through the Google Tasks app. Either way, tasks will appear on Google Calendar based on the task due dates that users set. Tasks can be defined to have specific due dates and times, as well as repeat settings for daily, weekly, or monthly tasks. Reminders in Google Calendar can be defined similarly.

Most importantly for remote teams, however, is the creation of events such as Team Meetings. With Google Workspace, Google Calendar Events is also integrated with Google Meet, allowing for video conferencing, and Google Drive, enabling the sharing of documents to all meeting invite recipients. This means any critical documents that may be referenced during the meeting can be easily attached to the invite, ensuring everyone can view documents before and during the virtual meeting.

Google Calendar can also be used to set the availability, define time zones for globally distributed teams, and set alerts for when employees may be out of the office or generally unavailable.

Google Gmail

Remote work has seen a dramatic increase in the number of emails sent among businesses. To bring some organization and structure to your inundated inboxes, Google has included some helpful features such as labels, filters, priority inbox, and even the ability to un send sent emails.

To create filters, users can right-click on an email, navigate to the “Label as” section, and begin labelling emails to automatically sort them into folder-like categories. Labels will then show up on the left-hand sidebar, where their settings can be adjusted to include label colours, sub-labels, and label nesting. This can help employees sort emails by person, by project, by topic, or more. Each employee can determine their preferred method for organizing emails and quickly create labels to keep their inboxes organized.

Gmail users can go to their Settings and create filters to accomplish many automated email tasks. Users can designate filters based on sender, subject line text, and more, and then create rules to auto-archive, auto-delete, auto-forward, mark as important, and categorize automatically. Users can even retroactively create and apply these filters to their existing Gmail inboxes.

Gmail also has a Priority Inbox that helps users focus on high-priority messages by creating three sections: Important and Unread, Starred, and Everything else. Gmail uses AI to guess which emails are more important and as users continue to Label, Star, and Categorize emails, Google’s AI continuously improves to more accurately predict what is most important to each user.

Gmail also provides users with the ability to create email templates for pre-written replies, and multiple email signatures to enable greater customizability for different email audiences. In addition, if you accidentally send an email, users have up to 30 seconds to decide to “unsend” that email. To enable this feature, click the gear icon on the top right, navigate to “See all settings”, and then under “General” you can find the section to Undo Send and select a send cancellation period of up to 30 seconds max.

Google Gmail contains many excellent features to accelerate remote work productivity, many of which can be learned about in Google’s “Gmail training and help” support page here.

Security

Cybersecurity has been a major concern for organizations as everyone working remotely means that they are no longer within the corporate network. With the global uptick in known cyberthreats, organizations must take steps to proactively manage security to prevent information from being leaked or stolen.

First and foremost, every Google Workspace admin should ensure their organization has enabled and enforces Two-Factor Authentication. With TFA, even if account credentials become compromised, suspicious logins will be denied with authentication codes being sent to the original account owner’s devices.

Backup

With everyone working remotely, businesses must be proactive with regards to protecting their data. continuity is even more critical than ever before. While Google does have Google Backup and Sync as part of their Google Workspace platform, it should not be relied upon for a full security-oriented backup. To truly protect your critical business data, your backups should occur often, and preferably off-site from your regular Google environment. All it takes is a singular bad config or incorrect delete order to begin losing data or access to your data. Dropsuite is here to help close the data protection gap. With Dropsuite’s G Suite Gmail Backup, customers can ensure their critical Gmail emails, tasks, contacts, and calendar data are backed up, GDPR, HIPAA, and FINRA compliant, as well as protected by military-grade 256-bit AES encryption. Your data is too important to risk and Dropsuite is here to ensure your data is protected and maintained, even when the unexpected happens.

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