The rise of the Software as a Service (SaaS) model has, in recent years, become one of the main reasons cloud computing is such a game changer.
These innovative products have created a paradigm shift, dramatically improving your team’s organization, productivity, and communication. One such foundational SaaS product is G Suite for Google Cloud, which many consider the best email solution available today.
Whether you have a small, medium, or large business, G Suite provides your team with a bevy of features, tools, and benefits that set it apart from other similar services. Learn below what G Suite is, and why these additional features matter to you and your business.
A brief history of G Suite
For years, Microsoft Office was the industry leader in office suite products thanks to applications such as Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. With the advent of cloud computing, Google sought to challenge Microsoft’s supremacy with G Suite. Formerly known as Google Apps for Work and Google Apps for Your Domain, G Suite was created to be a software that provided productivity and collaborative tools, while utilizing the ease and universality of cloud computing.
Up-to-the-second cloud computing means that any changes to a G Suite document are automatically saved the moment you type. These changes are tracked and stored so that you can go back through your revision history to see old versions of the same document, or see if someone else with access to the document made a change or left a note.
Today, a baseline G Suite account gives you access to the following things:
- Gmail – Google mail is one of the most popular free email services in use today, and provides several gigabytes of Gmail data storage. With G Suite, you’re granted a Gmail account through your chosen domain name, which can be registered at Domain.com.
- Google Drive – A cloud storage service that grants you the ability to store and share files without having to store them locally. This means you can store any type of file including videos, photos, .pdfs, .documents, and others. G Suite provides at least 30 GB of storage space on Google Drive for every user.
- Docs – Google’s cloud-based word processor takes the concept of Microsoft word and ushers it into the cloud era. Docs allows for smart styling, and simultaneous multi-user editing. Whether you’re on a computer, mobile device, or tablet, with Docs you can read, edit, create or share your documents no matter where you are.
- Sheets – Similar to Docs, Sheets is Google’s cloud version of Microsoft Excel. This powerful spreadsheet tool makes charting your critical data easy and intuitive. Whether creating, analyzing, or sharing spreadsheets, Sheets works seamlessly with Excel and Excel files, giving you access to your vital information from anywhere in the world.
- Slides – Google’s equivalent to PowerPoint lets you tell your company stories, or give an effective presentation from any device. With a host of tools and templates, Slides makes pitch creation and collaboration simple.
- Forms – Create quick and easy surveys or Q&As, and then display the answers in an easily digestible and actionable way. If you want to know whether your company wants Chipotle or Chinese, or if they’d prefer to have the work trip in Joshua Tree or Mammoth, you can find out instantly without having to poll people one at a time.
- Calendar – Scheduling and time-management service. Calendar allows users to create, share, edit, and display meetings, events, or special occasions. This tool enables a user to see what is on their team member’s agenda and pin down a time to meet without having to bother them or interrupt something important.
- Hangouts – Easier to use and more powerful version of Skype or FaceTime, you can use Hangouts to video conference with up to ten people at once, call any phone number, or create group chats. Hangouts’ video service is clear, crisp, easy to use, and intuitive.
Why pay for G Suite?
Now, you may be wondering why your small business would pay for these tools when all of these web applications can be used for free. What you likely weren’t aware of is that G Suite was created to arm businesses, especially small to medium sized ones, with additional business-focused capabilities and instruments. The time to get your small business on the cloud is now. G Suite is one of the fastest and easiest ways to get there.
The free consumer version of these apps gives you the baseline features, but don’t grant the same access to organizational, analytical, and editing technologies that come with the subscription model.
While we will dive into these features more thoroughly below, here are some brief points to remember:
- The ability to create a Gmail email handle that is linked to your chosen domain
- User management and admin features with several users
- Collaboration features that promise privacy and security
- Multiple level auditing
- 24/7 access to G Suite support
- Dramatically increased storage ability
While baseline features may be good enough for some businesses, the G Suite subscription takes sharing, collaborating, editing, and data analysis to a whole new level.
G Suite plans
The three main G Suite plans available are Basic, Business, and Enterprise. Each of these plans gives you access to the range of tools mentioned above, but differ in their capabilities and intended user.
Payment for all three plans can happen through either a flexible plan or annual plan.
- Flexible – Monthly bill for each user account. This gives you the opportunity to remove or add new accounts whenever you want, and to only pay for the accounts you actually utilize that month. While you pay a slightly higher rate per month when compared to the annual total, you have the option to cancel your subscription whenever you choose without incurring any penalty.
- Annual Plan – With the annual plan, you pledge to pay for the service for an entire year at a slightly lower rate. You have the option to purchase more licenses as needed, but you can only remove licenses once the year is up. If you cancel the annual subscription early, you still are required to pay for the entire year.
At $5 per month per user, Basic gives you access to G Suites tools and features, and provides you with a somewhat limited 30 GB of storage. Basic is ideal for a small business that has five or fewer people, especially if your business does not have demanding data storage needs.
At $10 per month per user, Business gives you access to G Suites tool, and additional features, like 1 TB of storage per user. For companies with more than five users, this storage upgrades to unlimited. Business also includes:
- Cloud search – Intelligent search navigation for all your files and data
- Google Vault – Archiving tools meant for legal compliance and policy management
- eDiscovery – Process of seeking information for legal or investigative purposes
- Audit reports – Keeps a record of actions performed by admins
As the name suggests, business is the model that most small to medium-sized businesses should utilize. The increased storage and search capabilities make it vastly more powerful.
At $25 per month per user, Enterprise is meant for larger companies that want unparalleled storage, features, and management tools. Enterprise includes:
- Enhanced Google Drive security
- Email traffic scanning for specific content, such as credit card or social security numbers
- Image scanning for text
- Third-party email archiving
- Data loss prevention
- Gmail logs BigQuery analysis
- S/MIME encryption for improved email security
- Automatic mobile device management
- Suspicious activity detection
- 30 person Google Hangout meeting limit, which can also be recorded
Benefits of G Suite
Although we may have mentioned some of these previously, let’s dive into the benefits of purchasing a G Suite subscription:
- Gmail domain name – With G Suite, you can link your email name to your business’ domain, giving you a more professional appearance. Customers are far more likely to trust you and respond to your business if your email is Jake@computerpros.com rather than email@example.com. Do not worry though, this email is just the professional version of Gmail, so employees do not need to learn how to use some new email system.
- Email grouping – For bigger companies with multiple departments and roles, you can send out messages or emails to email groups instead of having to select each member of that department. For example, you can create a single message and send it to everyone grouped in marketing, or everyone grouped in accounting. The number of groups you can make is unlimited, so it does not have to be limited strictly to departments.
- Ease of use – At this point, most people already use the free versions of Gmail, Docs, and Sheets. Because of this, very little basic training is required, allowing you to focus on the more advanced tools and methods. This basic functionality means that even novice employees can get to work on most tasks immediately.
- Uptime – Google is one of the best web services in the world when it comes to uptime and reliability. G Suite never has scheduled maintenance or downtime windows and exceeds an absurd 99.9% Service Level Agreement. Thanks to redundant data centers, G Suite guarantees nearly perfect uptime, so you do not have to waste time as the site gets tinkered with or fixed.
- Round the clock support – G Suite comes with top-of-the-line customer support, which is not available for the free Gmail version. If you have any issues or questions, just call, email, or create a live chat with customer support. This is especially valuable for companies integrating Google Apps for the first time.
- Unparalleled team collaboration – Thanks to real-time updates, your whole team can work on the same document simultaneously. Each edit is linked to the editor, allowing the team to see who made a change, what change they made, and when that change occurred. Editing capabilities can be granted or removed if you simply want someone to read and make notes about the document. Thanks to the chat system, you can discuss ideas or edits as you go. This is especially useful for teams that work remotely, or in offices scattered across the country.
- Document sharing – Whether or not you are in the same building, or using the same device, your whole team can easily access and share documents with just a click. Even if you only have your mobile device, just sign in and pull up any doc you need.
- Offline abilities – Although G Suite thrives thanks to cloud hosting, these tools can be configured to work offline too! This gives you the chance to be productive even when you have no internet access.
- Unlimited storage space – As mentioned, if you have more than five users on a Business account you get unlimited cloud storage for your photos, videos, music, files, emails, and docs. Thanks to data migration tools and services, it’s also easy to transfer data from your current storage spot.
- Improved data security – Thanks to Drive, all your data can be safely stored in the cloud. You no longer have to worry about saving files or documents locally or have to deal with lost data when a computer fails or crashes. This data is safely stored and can be accessed from anywhere in the world.
- Two-Step authentication – G Suite allows for two-step verification to ensure that the person connecting to your network has verified their authenticity, with both their phone and email handle. This keeps your company safe and secure from breaches or hackers.
Is it time to get your business professional tools from G Suite?
G Suite tools are the solution for many businesses, as it complements a wide range of needs, while continuing to innovate upon its software. From better collaboration, linking your professional email to Gmail’s platform, unlimited storage, to the various other features offered by G Suite, there’s a clear reason why its in the top two office suites on the market. You can’t go wrong with a service of this caliber, especially one offered at an affordable price point.