“Can I just move all my stuff to G Suite? I’ve heard its free.”
That’s a question I hear often, but the answer is more complicated than you would think.
While G Suite (formerly known as Google Apps) may be the perfect fit for some businesses, it is a huge mistake for others (regardless of the cost). And in many cases, businesses don’t figure this out until they have been tortured by their “Google Suite Authorized Reseller” for a few months.
From an IT perspective, here are some points to consider when evaluating whether or not G Suite is a smart move for your business.
No server required (maybe)
While moving to G Suite would eliminate your need for typical on-site infrastructure, often times businesses forget about other line of business applications. A good example would be a company that uses an accounting or ERP system that requires a SQL database. If you have a system that requires a local server, then you might want to look at what you are really saving with G Suite versus Office 365 (given the next point).
Don’t overlook the ‘look’
You would be hard pressed to find anyone in business that hasn’t used with Word or Excel. There is a built in level of comfort in how these apps work. People know their way around them, so making a move to Google Docs or Google Sheets will inevitably take time to get used to. This isn’t a huge deal – just make time for people to come up to speed with the new look and feel. The good news is that the younger generations have come up using web-based apps and likely have experience with Gmail.
Templates and Add-ons
Microsoft Office has been around forever (seemingly), making these product rich in functionality. Office is filled with numerous add-ons, templates and scripts that extend the functionality of the tool. On the other side of that same coin; if you need a basic word processor and a straight forward spreadsheet app, you can probably get away with the move to G Suite. But if you are in need of complex analysis, then Google Sheets isn’t going to be able to keep up.
Security issues don’t magically disappear on G Suite
I’ve talked to plenty of people who think that once they move to the cloud they will never have to worry about security or viruses again. But that’s not the case. Maybe one day security concerns will be alleviated, but today they are still a major issue even in the cloud.
For a fun read – check out; How Ransomware Locks Files on Google Drive. Now, I wouldn’t classify this as a failure on Google’s part. I wouldn’t expect Google to be running software to protect you against the latest threat (especially for what they charge per month). But what’s important is that you know the security risks, and get a proper add-on service to help protect your systems. This is your best shot to avoid problems that lead to getting your files encrypted with no way to get them back.
Plus, G Suite can’t prevent access via stolen credentials, poor password security, malicious hacking attacks and access from stolen devices. Again, this isn’t a knock on G Suite, it’s just important to know you’ll need a proroper security stance coupled with a backup and recovery process that can dig you out of a hole.
Test, test, test
The cloud migrations (both to G Suite and Office 365) that we’ve heard about going horribly wrong could have all been avoided with testing. And by going wrong, I’m not talking about any technical issues, I’m referring to the customer not being happy with the end result. Whichever system you put in place, you must test it before committing to buying it.
We do everything possible to vet a recommended solution with our customers before we start “clicking-and-dragging.” And while we hear story after story from prospective customers that were told moving the entire infrastructure will be easy (because it worked for another company), we know that’s a recipe for disaster.
So, take the extra time to setup a few test users, slowly migrate a department or specific job functions. Explore the options and then move something meaningful that can be moved back if things begin to go sideways.