Gmail for business, better than Office 365?
Since the launch in April 2004 Gmail has risen to be the market leader as a consumer email provider. The days when everything was Hotmail have well and truly gone, and with Yahoo struggling to reboot their business, Google have email well and truly bagged. As of Feb 2016 Gmail had a staggering billion active consumer users worldwide.
Back in August 2006 Google launched Google Apps for your domain, this paved the way to introducing businesses to the world of Google. After a few rebrands Google now offer their business class services under the G Suite brand.
The main services are Gmail, Sheets, Docs, Slides, Forms and Google Drive, but for this article I am going to concentrate on Gmail for business rather than the full G Suite.
Well I think so!
Would you believe that the first version of Gmail, which was developed by Paul Buchheit, was built in a single day? yep you heard me right. Reusing the source code from Google Groups gave Paul a head start, but still, what an achievement.
When Google first announced Gmail to the public, they didn’t have an infrastructure in place to offer users a reliable service. Gmail started by running on three hundred old Pentium III computers that nobody else in Google wanted. How things have changed.
Is Gmail Suitable for Business Class Email
Absolutely, 100% yes. Even though Gmail was born into a consumer market, G Suite ticks all the boxes when it comes to offering a reliable, robust, secure, world class email service.
Too many businesses go for the default option of Microsoft 365 or Microsoft Exchange, without even exploring other possibilities. In my opinion Gmail isn’t a lesser option, I have been using Gmail since the Google Apps days (as it was named then). Even though I have explored other email solutions, I have never been able to find anything that can match that of Gmail.
On an administrative level, setting up and managing G Suite for most companies will be a simple process. Like most of Google’s services, G Suite is intuitive and a pleasure to use. Don’t be fooled by the glossy finish, the admin module is very powerful, take a peek under the hood and you will find a whole bunch of admin controls.
I am the administrator for a number of UK companies and it’s very rare that I need to ask for help from Google. But when I do run into difficulty, help is only a phone call away, thanks to the 24/7 phone support.
Being cloud based means you don’t need to install anything on your local network. Unless of course you want to use Google Cloud Directory Sync (GCDS) to sync Microsoft® Active Directory® or LDAP server with your G Suite account or
Multiple Domain Names
One of my favourite things about Gmail for business is being able to add multiple domain names to your account. Like many people and companies alike, I own more than one domain name and receive and send emails from multiple alias names.
Gmail took this on board and permit you to add 600 domains in total, that’s one primary domain, 20 domain aliases and 599 non primary domains. A full explanation on the difference is explained here https://support.google.com/a/answer/175747?hl=en – this is great news for large organisations that may own domain names for different brands within their organisation and also for smaller companies just wishing to add a couple of domain variants like @yourcompany.com and @yourcompany.co.uk.
One handy little trick is setting Gmail to always reply to an email from the email address it was originally sent. Meaning you don’t have to worry about replying from the wrong address.
Huge Amounts of Storage
With the basic G Suite plan coming with a whopping 30GB of space per user, and the business plan with unlimited storage, you’ll never have to worry about running out a space again. The storage is shared across Gmail, Drive etc but 30GB (which is upgradable) is more than enough for most.
There has been a lot of negative reports in the press recently about email privacy concerns. But fear not my good friend, Gmail doesn’t snoop on your business emails to display advertisements nor do they display any annoying advertisements in front of you. Furthermore, G Suite administrators can fine tune additional security and privacy settings.
The Concept of Archiving and not Deleting
Gmail introduced a new concept to email, and that was not deleting emails but archiving them instead. The idea is that no email communication is ever lost. Gmail take away the concerns with storage limits, so deleting is something of the past.
When it comes to search, Google owns the word and they don’t let the side down when it comes to searching your emails. The search facility is just perfect, it just seems to know what you’re looking for and displays the results. You can also use search operators to further filter what you are looking for.
Training & Support
Unlike the consumer version of Gmail which relies on public forums for support, G Suite for Business customers receive 24/7 email, chat and telephone support. 99.9% uptime SLA and zero scheduled downtime. There is also a ton of information available to end users and administrators alike. Google’s learning centre offers some really useful training guides.
Spam Filtering, Virus and Phishing Protection
Google acquired Postini in 2007 – Postini offered some of the best e-mail, Web security, and archiving services on the planet, once purchased Google started integrating their experience into their own services. Gmail now has one of the most accurate spam filters there is, plus powerful antivirus and phishing detection software.
It’s very rare for me to get any junk in my inbox.
Admins can whitelist/blacklist domains and IP addresses, add keyword rules to further enhance the spam filtering. You can also adjust global settings to be more aggressive for more stringent filtering of bulk email.
Part 2 of this article will be posted very soon
My past posts have been a little too long so I wanted to write this one over a couple of parts. I am already working in part 2 where I will be exploring deeper into the realms of Gmail for business.
In the 2nd part to this post I will be exploring, Compliance, Microsoft Compatibility, Threaded Conversations, Migration, Labels not Folders, Groups for Shared Email, Custom Branding, Filters and Mobile & Apps
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