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No matter how you slice it, mobile and cloud are essential for future business growth and productivity. This is driving increases in security spending as organizations wrestle with threats and regulatory compliance — according to Gartner, the computer security industry will reach $71 billion this year, which is a 7.9 percent increase over 2013.

To help organizations spend their money wisely, it’s essential that cloud companies are transparent about their security capabilities. Since we see transparency as a crucial way to earn and maintain our customers’ confidence, we ask independent auditors to examine the controls in our systems and operations on a regular basis. The audits are rigorous, and customers can use these reports to make sure Google meets their compliance and data protection needs.

We’re proud to announce we have received an updated ISO 27001 certificate and SOC 2 and SOC 3 Type II audit report, which are the most widely recognized, internationally accepted independent security compliance reports. These audits refresh our coverage for Google Apps for Business and Education, as well Google Cloud Platform, and we’ve expanded the scope to include Google+ and Hangouts. To make it easier for everyone to verify our security, we’re now publishing our updated ISO 27001 certificate and new SOC3 audit report for the first time, on our Google Enterprise security page.

Keeping your data safe is at the core of what we do. That’s why we hire the world’s foremost experts in security—the team is now comprised of over 450 full-time engineers—to keep customers’ data secure from imminent and evolving threats. These certifications, along with our existing offerings of FISMA for Google Apps for Government, support for FERPA and COPPA compliance in Google Apps for Education, model contract clauses for Google Apps customers who operate within Europe, and HIPAA business associate agreements for organizations with protected health information, help assure our customers and their regulators that we’re committed to keeping their data and that of their users secure, private and compliant.

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Editor's note: Every organization is charged with keeping stakeholders informed. Map visualization tools help organizations share facts and brand stories with all of their stakeholders — in real time — better than ever before. Read more about the six ways Maps are Going Google.

People around the world are taking an interest in where their food originates and the quality of ingredients, especially in France, where the food and wine are sources of national pride. That’s why French yogurt company Les 2 Vaches (The Two Cows) is committed to producing the best quality yogurt possible, with organic dairy from farmers who use ethical, sustainable labor practices.

But it isn’t enough for the company to say it uses the highest quality ingredients — it wants the public to know the locations of the farms that provide its ingredients. “Les 2 Vaches believes in organic food. We’re here to help change things, to develop a business that creates value across the food chain,” says Aude Gamberini, Marketing and Communications Manager, Les 2 Vaches.

To address this, in early 2014, the company launched the Know What You Eat website that uses Google Maps to reveal the geographical origin of each ingredient, including organic milk from France, sugarcane from Brazil, vanilla from Germany and wild blueberries harvested in Poland. The map also shows where its products are stored and prepared, with information about the suppliers and partner businesses related to the brand. The maps can be accessed through supermarket displays, QR codes on advertising materials and through the company’s social networks.
Customers are eating it up: an initial media campaign brought thousands of visitors to the new site. With relevant details overlayed on a map of the entire ingredient supply chain, Les 2 Vaches achieved greater brand transparency and enhanced its reputation. Plus, the company doesn’t need to spend as much time on PR and can focus more on sourcing the best ingredients.

As the company’s website says, “we’re not telling you we’re perfect, but we’re telling you what we’re doing.” The French have a high standard for their food, so knowing the origin of ingredients provides greater insight into the quality of food. Plus, consumers feel better supporting a company whose practices they respect and stand behind.

View our website to learn more about how forward-thinking organizations are mapping the way to brand loyalty and more informed communities. For information about how maps can help your organization inform stakeholders quickly and reliably, sign up for our “Maps are going Google” series.

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Our phones and tablets help us get things done at work, but sometimes, you’re on the subway with no reception and need to update your spreadsheet before you get to the client’s office. Or you desperately need to make edits to your marketing strategy PowerPoint before you present, but you only brought your iPad to the meeting. We’ve all been there, but now there’s a way out.

With today’s launch of the new Slides app on iOS and updates to the Docs and Sheets apps, we’re delivering on our promise to make it possible for you to work with any file, on any device, any time. Now you can use the Google Docs, Sheets and Slides apps on your iPad or iPhone and all other devices (your Chromebook, laptop, Android phone or tablet), to complete the same tasks—online or offline. In addition, you can open, create and edit native Microsoft Office files with the Google Docs suite on iOS.
According to SoftWatch about 80 percent of Office licenses are only lightly used, with many employees only working with Office for a handful of minutes a day or not at all. If you still have the occasional need, Google has you covered. Use Docs, Sheets and Slides to open up a contract that’s been saved in Word without converting the file, and copy over the crucial figures to an Excel spreadsheet from the client to do some number-crunching on your iPad. Then quickly pop those calculations over to the PowerPoint deck before you walk into a sales meeting, all from whichever device is most convenient. And if you want to collaborate in real-time with your colleagues, you can simply convert these old Office files into Docs, Sheets or Slides and start working together immediately. You’ll even be able to make edits when you’re offline, whether you’re using the app on your phone or tablet, or Chrome on your laptop.

No one wants to worry about what format their documents are in or whether they have the right app on their phone or tablet. Whether you’re working on a file originally created in Microsoft Office, or one created in Docs, Sheets or Slides on an Android phone, tablet, iPhone, iPad, Chromebook or laptop, with or without an internet connection, you can do all this and more with Google Apps.

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People want tools that are both powerful and easy to use. For employees, that means they should be able to access their work wherever they are, on their favorite device or share their work securely with their colleagues, even if they’re in different offices, cities or countries. For IT managers, that means never worrying about storage quotas again, or being able to track access and sharing across users and files. We realize how important this is, so earlier this summer we introduced Google Drive for Work, a package that wraps all of this together for just $10 per user per month. Here’s a look at what’s been brewing with Drive for Work over the past two months.

Helping employees collaborate on the go

Before we introduced Drive for Work, businesses like retailer Chico’s and aerospace and defense company Rockwell Collins were using Drive to increase collaboration across distributed teams. Travis Perkins relies on Google Drive to store and share more than 1.3 million documents across thousands of physical locations, to help reduce employee travel and save time. OVS uses Google Drive to streamline its supply chain by sharing and syncing their files across desktops, tablets and smartphones so people have the information they need, no matter where they are or what device they’re using.

Today more than 1,800 businesses sign up for Drive for Work each week. Customers like WeddingWire are taking advantage of the full capabilities of Drive for Work to help provide their employees with the collaboration and file sharing tools they need on any device, whether they’re in the office or on the road.

Extending the Drive ecosystem

Drive for Work includes everything you need to keep all your work safe, easy to share and available anywhere. A growing number of partners are building tools on top of the Drive platform to meet the particular needs of our customers. In addition to the new Audit view built into the admin console, Drive for Work also includes an Audit API that partners have used to build advanced insight and security extensions like Data Loss Prevention (DLP). Other partners have built tools to help move business content into Drive from any location, including old file servers, local hard drives or other cloud storage products.

Keeping your work safe and available

To help keep your work safe, all files uploaded to Google Drive will be encrypted, not only from your device to Google and in transit between Google data centers, but also at rest on Google servers. Our reliability engineers monitor Google’s systems 24x7 in order to quickly identify and address any issues that might arise. Last year, Google Drive achieved 99.985% availability, which averages to less than 90 minutes of disruption per year (our SLA guarantees 99.9%). If there’s ever an issue, you can read up-to-date status information on the Status Dashboard, and if you ever need to speak to someone, help is just a call away in over a dozen languages across 50 countries.

If you’d like to join the more than 190 million people actively using Drive, you can learn more about Drive for Work online or contact us for more information. If you’re already a Google Apps customer, you can upgrade with just a couple of clicks in the Admin console.

Collaborating should be easy. Let technology do the hard work and help you get back to what’s most important — your business.

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Editor's note: Today’s guest blogger is Chris Williams, Director of IT and Support Services for Chapters Health System, which provides post-acute, palliative, and hospice care to patients in west-central Florida. See what other organizations that have gone Google have to say.

At Chapters Health System, the role of IT is to provide software, connectivity and hardware to caregivers so they can spend less time wrestling with technology, and more time caring for patients. Our goal is to make the IT portion transparent to providing superior patient care. Most of our nurses and caregivers are mobile – they visit patients in hospitals, nursing homes, assisted living facilities or in their homes.

To best support them, we virtualized our clinical and business software applications, and provide access to them via Citrix XenApp via Receiver. We also make sure our caregivers can stay connected through a Verizon 4G Mifi device. As for hardware, caregivers were using Windows notebooks but boot-up delays, long setup times for new machines, and the bulkiness of the devices were slowing down and frustrating our caregivers. In addition, the devices were hard to manage by the IT support staff.

To find a solution, we took a democratic approach and asked caregivers to evaluate four devices: the HP Chromebook 14 for Business, Apple iPad, a Windows thin client, and a traditional Windows notebook. Caregivers rated the HP Chromebook 14 higher than any other device in all areas, including form factor, battery life, ease of use, speed and performance of virtualized applications like Microsoft Outlook and clinical applications, as well as web applications. Ninety-two out of 139 caregivers who participated in our study voted the Chromebook as their favorite device for work.
Luckily for us in IT, Chromebooks for Business are also the easiest devices to deploy and manage, freeing up our own time for other projects. The biggest change we’ve heard about so far is improved speed. With a traditional Windows notebook, caregivers faced three to four minute boot times, plus multiple logins to Windows, their VPN, and then finally Citrix and the applications. With Chromebooks, boot time shrank dramatically and Chromebooks start up right at the Citrix login screen, so caregivers can access clinical data right away.

Speed benefits extend to setup time as well. Some of our supplemental and weekend caregivers borrow from a pool of shared devices, and it took 40 minutes to set up each Windows notebook. With Chromebooks for Business, we can hop into the management console and set up a new Chromebook in under five minutes. Even better, we use the management console to configure access for users so that if they need to borrow a machine we don’t have to get involved at all—they just pick up a Chromebook and log in. Since each caregiver can get his or her specific user experience on any Chromebook, it's easy for the devices to be shared.

For additional security and simplicity, we use Chromebook for Business’s Kiosk mode to offer one single application, the Citrix login screen, but we’ll be extending it other web applications soon. We also use the management console to mandate the proxy server for Internet access—a feature that’s built-in to each Chromebook for Business.

Chromebooks are giving back precious time to caregivers and their patients. In fact, we’re looking at purchasing many more Chromebooks in the near future so we can extend the benefits to even more Chapters Health employees.

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Editor's note: A few weeks ago, we announced Google Drive for Work, a new premium offering for businesses that includes unlimited storage, advanced audit reporting and new security controls. To celebrate the announcement and show how Drive helps businesses around the world, we’re sharing a few stories from a handful of customers using Drive (and the rest of the Google Apps suite) in innovative ways. Today’s guest blogger is Daniel Chiha, Communications Specialist (Operations) at Dick Smith, an electronics retailer in Australia and New Zealand.

The Retail Operations team at Dick Smith moved to Google Apps with help from Cloud Sherpas just over a year ago to improve the communication and coordination between our 3,000 or so staff in 376 stores across Australia and New Zealand. Since then, we’ve seen some pretty dramatic improvements and efficiencies in the way we get information out to our staff, thanks to Google Drive and Google Sites.

Our workforce is very mobile. Not only do we have a fleet of 23 Area Managers who spend their time between multiple stores, but our 3,000 in-store staff spend most of their time on the floor with customers. Our team depends on a steady stream of updates and materials throughout the week — from new product guides, promotional activities, upcoming launches through to employee safety processes — so it’s not only important that people see the updates meant for them, but that we’re able to track the critical messages for compliance.
Before moving to Google Apps, it took up to 24 hours to get these messages out to everyone through a series of phone hook ups, faxes, emails and a document delivery system that polled nightly. This was especially challenging when dealing with issues like product callbacks or promotions, where it’s essential for the team to move fast in order to avoid potential problems and ensure that new offers are immediately available to customers.

Now, with Google Drive and Google Sites, we’re able to provide thousands of employees with a bird's-eye view of important updates and key documents across the company. That way, if we need to get an urgent message out or a new employee needs access to a how-to guidebook, there’s just one place they need to look — and we can get everything listed or posted quickly and effectively. We create a master site with sections for each team, with links to Drive folders that house everything from planograms and promotion details to instructional guidebooks and tickets. Area Managers can then access both the site and the files from their tablets or phones on the go, and our sales staff can see updates from their own devices or the store computers.

We’ve also built a new system with Forms and Sheets to streamline operational communications. Instead of relying on complex email trails and lots of phone calls, employees now submit their sign-offs in a single Form. Responses are captured in a shared Sheet that the Operations team uses to track feedback and responses in real-time.

Google Apps helped us think outside the square and create a unified and integrated communications platform that can be accessed instantly on any device. But more importantly, it ensures that our store teams have immediate access to the latest information, which in turn provides our customers with a better experience in store.

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Editor's note: A few weeks ago, we announced Google Drive for Work, a new premium offering for businesses that includes unlimited storage, advanced audit reporting and new security controls. To celebrate the announcement and show how Drive helps businesses around the world, we’re sharing a few stories from a handful of customers using Drive (and the rest of the Google Apps suite) in innovative ways. Today’s guest blogger is Arvin Reyes, Chief Information Officer for KFC Philippines, which operates 230 restaurants and six plants in that country. To learn more, read the full case study, or see what other organizations that use Google Drive have to say.

KFC has been on a steady growth path since being introduced to the Philippines in 1967. With restaurants, plants, and offices across the country, fast and easy communication and information sharing are vital to our success. This means tools like file storage, email, calendaring, and document creation need to be user-friendly for employees and relatively trouble-free for our IT team. But until recently, our mix of email and document management software caused more problems than it solved – with server over-capacity and slow response time, they just slowed down our business growth.

We decided that a single communications platform with everything from storage to email to document creation was the necessary solution, and Google Apps was our answer. Not only did Apps meet all our requirements for cost-effectiveness, reliability and ease-of-use, but in Drive we saw a way to help our increasingly mobile workforce, which needs access to documents while out of the office.

We’ve boosted our productivity on creative work by 15% by switching from snail mail to Google Drive. Before we made the move, we sent creative materials back and forth between our home office and our advertising agency through messengers and the postal service, racking up costs and taking time away from other tasks. Now, with Drive, we can share large files like high-resolution images and merchandise artwork through the cloud, so material gets to our agency (and back to us) faster and at a significantly lower cost. And with a single location to store everything we’re working on, we’ve dramatically improved our ability to collaborate on projects.

Gmail makes us better at communicating: Now that everyone has 30GB of mail storage available, they don’t need to waste time constantly cleaning out their inboxes to make room for new emails, or asking colleagues to re-send emails because they can’t find them. Our IT team loves Gmail because complaints about email services have decreased to zero since we began using it – in fact, IT’s support work for communication tools has gone down by 25% since we started using Google Apps. That gives our team more time to focus on activities that are more directly tied to the bottom line.

Google Apps makes everyday problems like scheduling meetings disappear. Our old decision making process used to require the scheduling of several meetings and calls, with various reports and documents emailed back and forth among different teams. Now we schedule meetings on Google Calendar, where we can see everyone’s availability. For these meetings, we use a single shared document in Google Docs that serves as a running update on progress. This new workflow fundamentally changed the way we work with one another. What used to take days to decide is now possible within hours.

Google Apps not only makes it easy for us to manage storage and bandwidth, it keeps our employees happy. After six months on the platform, 95% of people told us they’re satisfied with Google Apps, which means they can enjoy their work of serving and helping our customers.

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Google Drive for Work is a new premium offering for businesses that includes unlimited storage, advanced audit reporting and new security controls and features, such as encryption at rest.

If you're getting ready to move your company to Drive, one of the first things on your mind is how to migrate all your existing files with as little hassle as possible. It's easy to migrate your files by uploading them directly to Drive or using the Drive Sync client. But, what if you have files stored elsewhere that you want to consolidate? Or what if you want to migrate multiple users at once? Many independent software vendors (ISVs) have built solutions to help organizations migrate their files from different File Sync and Share (FSS) solutions, local hard drives and other data sources. Here are some of the options available for you to use:
  • Cloud Migrator, by Cloud Technology Solutions, migrates user accounts and files to Google Drive and other Google Apps services. (website, blogpost)
  • Cloudsfer, by Tzunami, transfers files from Box, Dropbox and Microsoft OneDrive to Google Drive. (website)
  • Migrator for Google Apps, by Backupify, migrates and consolidates personal Google Drive or other Google Apps for Business accounts into a single domain. (website, blogpost)
  • Mover migrates data from 23 cloud services providers, web services, and databases into Google Drive. (website, blogpost)
  • Nava Certus, by LinkGard, provides a migration and synchronization solution for on-premise and cloud-based storage platforms, including Dropbox, Microsoft OneDrive, Amazon S3, as well as local file systems. (website, blogpost)
  • SkySync, by Portal Architects, integrates existing on-site storage systems as well as other cloud storage providers to Google Drive. (websiteblogpost)
These are just a few companies that offer migration solutions. Please visit the Google Apps Marketplace for a complete listing of tools and offerings that add value to the Google Apps platform.



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Editor's note: Businesses rely on email to communicate, and on Google to ensure that their email communication is secure. Today, we’re adding to our spam filtering support in Gmail to handle duplicitous “Unicode Homoglyphs.” This release strengthens our ongoing commitment to keeping our customers safe and protected from scams, phishing attacks and spammers.


Last week we announced support for non-Latin characters in Gmail — think δοκιμή.com and 测试@example.net and みんな — as a first step towards more global email. We’re really excited about these new capabilities. We also want to ensure they aren't abused by spammers or scammers trying to send misleading or harmful messages.

Scammers can exploit the fact that , , and ο look nearly identical to the letter o, and by mixing and matching them, they can hoodwink unsuspecting victims. Can you imagine the risk of clicking “ShppingSite” vs. “ShoppingSite” or “MyBank” vs. “MyBɑnk”?

To stay one step ahead of spammers, the Unicode community has identified suspicious combinations of letters that could be misleading, and Gmail will now begin rejecting email with such combinations. We're using an open standard—the Unicode Consortium's “Highly Restricted” designation—which we believe strikes a healthy balance between legitimate uses of these new domains and those likely to be abused.

We’re rolling out the changes today, and hope that others across the industry will follow suit. Together, we can help ensure that international domains continue to flourish, allowing both users and businesses to have a tête-à-tête in the language of their choosing.

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When we introduced Classroom back in May, we asked educators to give it a try. The response was exciting — more than 100,000 educators from more than 45 countries signed up for a preview. Today, we’re starting to open Classroom to all Google Apps for Education users, helping teachers spend more time teaching and less time shuffling papers.

One of the first schools to use Classroom was Fontbonne Hall Academy in Brooklyn, New York. Sister Rosemarie DeLoro, who has been teaching for more than 60 years, had never used computers with her students before Classroom was introduced at her school. Classroom made it easy for her to assign digital worksheets to students in her Italian class and provide direct feedback to help them learn. In fact, after just a few weeks, Sister Rosemarie was showing the other teachers how to use it. “You can’t stay in teaching and keep going to the old ways,” she said.

Teachers and students have been instrumental in helping us build Classroom. For example, we heard during the preview that educators don’t want to wait until an assignment is turned in to collaborate with students. Now, with Classroom, teachers can view and comment on students’ work to help them along the way. We’ve also heard that educators want a simple place to post information and materials about their classes, so we added an “About” page for each course, as well.
When teachers create assignments, they can attach files from Google Drive — including Google Docs, Microsoft Word, Keynote, Google Slides, Excel, Google Sheets, and many others — then choose to automatically make a copy for each student. 
Teachers can review assignments from Classroom and provide feedback and grades to students all in one place. 
Classroom is available in 42 languages (including right-to-left ones, such as Hebrew, Arabic and Persian). It also works well on mobile devices and most popular screen readers. We’ll be rolling out to more users every day, so if you go to classroom.google.com with your Apps for Education account and don’t have access yet, please check back soon.

Hopefully Classroom will help you spend a little less time at the photocopier and a little more time doing what you love—teaching.