February 22, 2022

8 reasons Cobry chose 1Password as our password manager (and why you should too)

Cobry is an official 1Password partner. Read on to find out how 1Password can strengthen your organisation's cybersecurity down to the individual level!

Why does my organisation need a password manager?

No longer is the security of your organisation’s data and files just the IT crowd’s problem: every employee now works as a part-time cybersecurity guard. 

Any good cybersecurity initiative should take the Human Factor into account, and our memories can only hold so much information. When was the last time you remembered a single incarnation of something as secure as bn2ecf@M-HX$gHq*, let alone a new one for every site?

Enter password managers such as 1Password. 

Much like writing down all your passwords on a notepad, except much more secure, password managers store every password for every site in one place, one you can access through a master password. A single password. One password, if you will.

Why is 1Password the ideal password manager?

It enables you to perform a mini security audit.

1Password has a feature called Watchtower that enables you to quickly review all your passwords. Clicking the dropdown will quickly show you if you’ve reused any passwords, if you have stored logins for unsecured websites or if any of your websites have had security breaches. It will also flag up any passwords its systems categorise as “weak” or “terrible”.

1Password's watchtower feature is shown on the left, with all its features listed.

Their own security is top-tier.

1Password data is encrypted using AES 256-bit encryption, which is also used by major banks, Google and government institutions such as the NSA and US Military. Even with a supercomputer, it would take at least 220 nonillion years to crack - a number that is neither made up, exaggerated, nor younger than the universe.

It’s not just for passwords.

1Password also enables you to store information such as credit card details, documents, medical records, secure notes and databases. Clicking the plus sign beside the search bar will provide more specific suggestions on what you can add.

You can organise your data into what 1Password calls “vaults”.

You can set up as many vaults as you want, based on whatever segmentation you would like: data type (credit card details, passwords, ID documents, etc); the purpose for which this data would be used (e.g. social media logins, project documents, etc); and who can access each vault. One handy feature is travel mode. When enabled, it will only permit access to vaults that have been marked as “safe for travel” and prevent customs officials from clapping eyes on any non-essential docs.

1Password vaults are shown, together with the option to manage colleagues' access.

Your data is kept secret.

True to having tip-top security, 1Password forgoes the quick quid it could make from using trackers or displaying adverts. Perfect for those who value staying incognito!

You can leave the password creation to 1Password’s Chrome extension.

Remember our old friend bn2ecf@M-HX$gHq*?

Let’s take a step back: wouldn’t it be nice if you could generate something that impregnable in one click? With the 1Password Chrome extension added, every time you click on the password box when signing on for a service will be met with a hard-as-iron suggested password. Accepting it will store it, as well as your email address, in your account. The next time you log in will only require a click or a scan of your finger or face. 

Speaking of which…

Multi-factor authentication is built-in.

1Password constantly stays ahead of the authentication curve to offer users the latest and greatest in login experiences: two examples they have recently integrated into their systems are facial recognition and fingerprint scanning. So, as long as it works on your device itself, it will also work on 1Password!

The user interface is easy to navigate.

From getting started on your account to adding and accessing items, 1Password’s intuitive interface enables you to hit the ground running as a new user. 

Getting started

The best way to see how user-friendly it is? Give it a try! 1Password is offering a free 14 day trial for business accounts, and you don’t need to enter your credit card details!

Since you've made it this far, clearly this is resonating! We're official 1password partners, so drop your email below and one of our super-talented team members will help your organisation get set up with this trial at no extra cost to you!

April 4, 2019

G Suite Billing – Everything you need to know

Update 07/04/2022: G Suite is now Google Workspace - however, the information below still applies.

G Suite was designed with simplicity in mind, as Google’s mission statement is “to organize the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful.”

This extends not only to the apps being used on a daily basis, but also to managing your G Suite billing and account from the Admin Console. Most of your company details, security settings and payment options can be managed from here, including; company profile and logo, new users, password resets, primary contacts and security settings.

However, there are some key settings that cannot be amended from the Admin Console, for which you will need the help of either Google Support or a Google Cloud Partner. In this blog, we’re going to cover all of the administrative tasks involved with managing a G Suite domain, such as billing, company details, new and suspended user accounts and switching currency.

G Suite Payment Methods

Google accepts payments for service subscriptions in more than 230 countries using major credit cards, including Visa, MasterCard, and American Express. In some locations, you can also pay by direct debit from a bank account.

The exact payment methods and currencies you can use depend on the country you select when you first set up your G Suite domain. You can see the options available in the UK below and the rest of the world via this link.

United KingdomBritish Pounds Sterling, U.S. DollarsBank account (direct debit)*Credit or debit card*Only in British Pounds Sterling and with "Business" tax status

If the payment method you want is an accepted form of payment, but does not appear for your country, contact your Google Cloud Partner, or get in touch with us at info@cobry.co.uk and we would be happy to help you with this.

Google Cloud Partners are also able to accept different payment methods, such as bank transfer. If this is your preferred payment method, you can get in touch with Cobry to arrange an update to your G Suite billing.

G Suite Billing plans

When setting up billing for your G Suite account, you can choose between 2 different payment plans, detailed below:

  • Flexible Plan - You’re billed on a monthly basis for each active user account.
  • Annual Plan - By committing to a year of service, you can gain a discount for a minimum number of licenses.

Adding More G Suite Users

Regardless of your payment plan, you can add new users to your account as and when required. This will lead to an increase in your payments to cover the new licences. However, when using an annual plan, you can not remove user licences until it's time to renew your contract.

If you need to add new users, you can either purchase licences from your Admin Console if you’re in a contract directly with Google, or you can ask your Google Cloud Partner to provision the licences and create the user accounts for you.  

Renewing Your G Suite Annual Plan

It’s recommended if you have an Annual Plan with Google that you set up an automatic renewal so that you don’t forget to renew and end up with a service interruption. Alternatively, you can switch to a Flexible Plan at the end of your contract which will renew on a monthly basis and allow you to add and remove users as required, at any time.

If you have an agreement in place with a Google Cloud Partner, then you may have more options in terms of renewal, such as an annual commitment - paid monthly. This brings all the benefits of locking in a lower price but also helping cash flow by paying monthly. If this is something of interest, you can contact Cobry via info@cobry.co.uk to arrange.

Suspended G Suite accounts

If you’re contracted directly with Google and your automatic payment fails, you will have 30 days to update your payment method or your service will be suspended. When this happens, you can lift your suspension by paying your balance.

If your licences are provided by a Google Cloud Partner, then they may have different terms and conditions. For example, Cobry provides businesses with an invoice and flexible billing options to lower the risk of account suspension.

Update G Suite Business Address

If your business has moved since you set up billing for your G Suite domain, you can update the address in your Admin console. (See next section below for updating Country and Currency).

  1. Use an administrator account to open the Google Admin console.
  2. From the Home page, go to Billing.
  3. Next to your subscription, click Actions > Access billing account.
  4. Under Settings, click Manage Settings.
  5. To the right of Business name and address, click Edit.
  6. Update your business address and click Save.

Changing G Suite Account Currency and Country

When you first set up, choose your country and currency carefully, as you can not change these selections by yourself.

To update this, you must contact your Google Cloud Partner, or if you don't currently work with a Partner, you can complete our customer transfer form via the button below and we will update these details for you.

Please note that as a UK Google Cloud Partner, we can only do this for customers looking to update their accounts to a UK address.

Google Cloud Partner Benefits

If you don’t currently have a Google Cloud Partner in place, there are definitely good reasons to consider partnering. Some of which can be found below.

  • Expert Advice
  • Best Practice
  • Admin Help
  • Licence Discounts
  • Staff Training
  • General Support
  • Workflow Design
  • Help with new features

As Scotland’s number one Google Cloud Partner, with particular expertise in G Suite, Cobry helps organisations make the move and prosper in the cloud every day. We are always happy to speak to new organisations looking for help and advice on G Suite; whether you’re in the early stages of considering the move or have been using it for a number of years, you can get in touch via info@cobry.co.uk

Contact

If you would like to find out more about managing your G Suite domain, or you’re interested in having Cobry manage it for you, you can drop us a message using the form below or book a discovery call and we'll be in touch!

March 19, 2019

G Suite Price Increase

G Suite has many strengths - Security, Collaboration, Flexibility, Scale, and plenty of others - but one undeniable strength is cost. Every company we switch to G Suite has saved significant sums on software licencing. The amazing thing is that ever since it launched over a dozen years ago, Google has never implemented a G Suite price increase - despite adding many, many features in that period. Very few products or services of any kind could say that. But, the day has come - finally, a small increase is arriving. Google will be raising its prices for the G Suite Basic and G Suite Business tiers for the first time since that launch way back in 2006.

G Suite Evolution

These increases are to reflect the huge amount of new features that have been added to the cloud service, such as video conferencing in Hangouts Meet, team messaging in Hangouts Chat, increased storage amounts and other security and productivity tools and services. You can see the addition of services over the years in the graphic below.

G Suite Price Increase

G Suite Basic prices will increase from £3.30 to £4.60 per user per month, while G Suite Business will increase from £6.60 to £9.20 per user per month. The G Suite Enterprise tier will not be affected by these increases and will continue to be billed at £20 per user per month.

G Suite pricing has always been kept simple (offering 3 different options; Basic, Business and Enterprise), compared to Office 365 which offers many different pricing tiers and can often be quite difficult for organisations to get the best value for money.

The G Suite price increase is worldwide and will come into effect on the second of April. We feel that the increase is a very fair reflection on the value that customers receive through new features and functionality. Google states that the addition of artificial intelligence and machine learning has tripled the value delivered in G Suite, so an increase of around only 20% is very reasonable.

Important Notes

  • If your organisation is currently on an annual contract, the new pricing will be applied from your renewal date.
  • Price increases are applied globally, with adjustments for certain regions.
  • If you have an agreed contract in place, this will be honoured.

For illustration purposes, a small business with 5 users of G Suite Basic will see their annual costs go from £198 to £276. A medium sized business with 100 users on G Suite Business would see their total annual costs go from £7,920 to  £11,040.

Recommended Action

If you’re currently on a monthly G Suite payment plan, we recommend contacting your Google Cloud Partner, or us via info@cobry.co.uk, to update your subscription to an annual plan. This will allow you to lock in the existing pricing for an entire year before being affected by the price increase.

This is a very straightforward process which simply involves generating a G Suite transfer token from your admin console, and we can handle the rest for you.

Missed the deadline?

If you're reading this after 02/04//2019, that means the pricing has already increased. However, we can often access and provide custom deals to new Cobry customers who make annual G Suite commitments. Get in touch via info@cobry.co.uk to find out more.

Upgrading?

If you are considering upgrading from Basic to Business or Business to Enterprise, we can also often provide special deals to make the step up in price more manageable, just get in touch via info@cobry.co.uk.

Contact

If you would like to find out more about the upcoming price revision and how it may affect your domain if you’re on a custom deal, or you just want to find out more about G Suite before making the move to the cloud, you can get in touch with us at info@cobry.co.uk and we would be delighted to have a chat.


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March 12, 2019

Worried about phishing? Get hooked on these 9 new security settings in G Suite

Are you a business owner or IT manager?

If you are, then as you're reading this blog post right now, your users are being targeted by phishing campaigns. Let me use 3 statistics to illustrate what I'm getting at:

1. “By the end of 2017, the average user was receiving 16 malicious emails per month.” - Symantec, 2018

16 emails a month.

Say your organisation has 50 staff - that’s 800 opportunities every single month for hackers to manipulate, exploit or seduce your staff into unwittingly giving access to your systems and data.

Now say your organisation has 500 staff, I'll let you do the maths...

2. “76% of organizations say they experienced phishing attacks in 2017.” - Wombat, 2018

Are you part of the lucky 24% of companies that haven’t been attacked? I know where I’d put my money... 

Every business needs to be thinking about protecting their data.

3. “92.4% of malware is delivered via email.” - Verizon, 2018

Looking at this last stat, can you really afford to pass up on the opportunity to protect against over 90% of the risk of your users getting malware?

Why do hackers want my data?

Hackers, scammers and modern-day digital data pirates are using all kinds of digital weaponry to try and get at your organisation’s data.

Why? For several reasons:

  • Perhaps they want to encrypt your files and demand a ransom to unlock them.
  • Possibly they are looking to steal your customers' database and sell it on the dark web.
  • Or maybe their goal is simply to cause maximum disruption to your operations. Just because they can.

Either way, it only takes one wrong click to compromise an account and start a destructive chain of events - that will at least disrupt your operations or at worst could even cause your organisation to go out of business.

Okay, I've read the stats and I get it - hackers are trying to steal my organisation’s data... But what can I do about it?

Now that you’re scared out of your wits that any minute now some mysterious and sinister-looking, shadowy figure is going to jump through the screen and demand a large sum of Bitcoin in return for the decryption of your files… let’s have a look at what you can do to protect yourself and your organisation against some of these threats.

This time last year, Google introduced 9 new email security settings specifically designed to fight back against the ever-rising threat of phishing attacks. These settings provide warnings when Gmail detects a potential suspicious email to end-users that look like this:

Phishing

We can split these 9 settings into 3 sections:

Attachments

Attachments

  • Protect against encrypted attachments from untrusted senders
  • Protect against attachments with scripts from untrusted senders
Phishing

Links and External Images

  • Identify links behind shortened URLs
  • Show warning prompt for any click on links to untrusted domains
Phishing

Spoofing and Authentication

  • Protect against domain spoofing based on similar names
  • Protect against spoofing of employee names
  • Protect against inbound emails spoofing your domain
  • Protect against any unauthenticated emails

Anti-Phishing Settings

All of these settings are absolutely first-rate features that will ultimately save the organisations using G Suite heaps of time and money, where others will struggle.

It's all well and good training staff to be vigilant against unusual emails - this is definitely an effective measure and is a service that we offer.

But when your users are getting almost an email per working day (remember the stat from earlier - 16 emails a month?) from increasingly clever hackers, it's often only a matter of time before there's a slip-up.

As humans, we aren't perfect.

This is where Google is really taking the initiative and harnessing very clever technology to combat these attacks at a user level.

So how can I take advantage of these settings?

To answer this question, let's split businesses into two categories:

  1. My business uses G Suite - you can find these settings in the admin console of your G Suite setup. We’d love to help show you how to switch these on, so if you need any technical help, just give us a call on: 0141 432 0870 or contact us via info@cobry.co.uk.
  2. My business does not use G Suite - we’d love to understand your business and explore how these settings, as well as other aspects of G Suite, would benefit your organisation. The first step is to give us a call on: 0141 432 0870 or contact us via info@cobry.co.uk.

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March 7, 2019

Cloud Myths

Since the term “Cloud Computing” was first coined in 2006, by then Google CEO, Eric Schmidt, there have been countless myths surrounding the concept. In this blog, we’re going to cover the 5 most common cloud myths that we encounter when speaking with customers about how to best store their data, including price, backups, encryption, security and physical locations.

If you can think of some other big cloud myths that we may have missed, please let us know in the comments and we can add them in below!

Cloud Myth 1: Cloud infrastructures are unsecured

Fact - it’s actually more secure for small businesses to use cloud services.

One of the most common misconceptions about cloud services is that they lack appropriate security measures. Many users think that any data stored in the cloud could be easily accessed by anyone, from anywhere. This is completely untrue. Cloud services providers like Google employ hundreds of security experts and spend millions of pounds each year, innovating to improve on security and offer new techniques such as two-factor authentication to keep your data safe.

Cloud Myth 2: Cloud services are expensive

Smaller organisations often can’t afford to have their own IT department, nevermind training them to handle online security threats. However, cloud providers offer services like multi-layered security systems and antivirus protection that keep their infrastructures safe from hackers but are also available at affordable prices through subscription services per user. Compare this to the huge setup costs and wages that are involved in running an in-house IT department and the value of a subscription service quickly shows its worth.

Cloud Myth 3: The cloud lacks proper encryption

Fact - Google encrypts all core G Suite data, inside and outside of Google.

Most people misunderstand how encryption is implemented to keep your data safe. For example, encryption is generally used for data in transition, where data is protected from anyone seeing it as it travels from one internet address to another. But encryption can also be applied to data at rest. This means that data is encrypted on a storage drive - like all data is when it’s stored within Google Drive.

Cloud Myth 4: You can always recover your cloud data

Fact - Cloud solutions are not natively designed for data restoration.

Cloud providers do offer different levels of data recovery services but not all solutions are designed to make all data available to customers. With many online services, the only built-in backup available for your data is the recycling bin, which is usually deleted automatically after 30 days. Having your data in the cloud does not mean that it is backed up - this data is still vulnerable to accidental/malicious deletion from employees and sophisticated cyber attacks. It is always our recommendation to use a cloud-to-cloud backup solution which provides automatic daily backups of your data and can restore any lost files at any time.

Cloud Myth 5: We need to have our data in our country

Fact - How data is secured is more important than where data is located.

When using Google Drive, data is stored and processed in several data centres around the world. Google's security practices are consistent across all relevant locations. Storing data in a particular country doesn't necessarily protect it from access by foreign governments. Microsoft was ordered to produce the mail content of a customer whose information was stored in Ireland. As well as this, localizing data in one country can also slow down collaboration and innovation.

Contact

If you would like to find out more about moving to and working in the cloud, or you would just like to learn more about G Suite and what it can offer your organisation, please don’t hesitate to get in touch via info@cobry.co.uk. We would be delighted to have a chat about how we could help.


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February 18, 2019

Shared Drives (Team Drives): What they are and how to use them.

When Google created G Suite (or Google Apps as it was originally known), making collaboration on document-editing effortless for teams was central to its design. Allowing multiple people to edit a document at the same time was an enormous breakthrough that others have since tried to emulate. However, in certain circumstances businesses were looking to balance the exciting possibilities of sharing with the need to control access to folders and files. It’s from this desire to create a highly managed shared working space that Shared Drives (formerly known as Team Drives) were added to Google Drive.

Shared Drive (Team Drives) are a shared space where teams can easily store, search and access their files from anywhere, on any device. They allow for better control of enterprise data and folder structures with tailored permissions so that the right users and groups can be granted access with ease.

Shared Drives (Team Drives) offer a wealth of benefits to organisations, on top of all the usual gains that cloud storage solutions bring, including;

  • Bespoke security & sharing settings
  • Powerful search functionality
  • Files belong to the team - only specified users can delete
  • Easy access from anywhere
  • Secure, shared space for teams
  • Easily allocate & revoke access to files

Shared Drives (Team Drives) vs My Drive

One question we hear a lot when moving organisations to the cloud with G Suite is what’s the difference between Shared Drives and My Drive? The simplest analogy would be to consider My Drive like your own personal hard drive and Shared Drives as a shared server. Files created in My Drive belong to the individual; so if they’re deleted, everyone loses access. Whereas Shared Drive files are owned by the team and can only be deleted by users with the highest permission levels - Managers.

Another key point is that Shared Drives are only available in G Suite Business or G Suite Enterprise. The only other way that you would see a team drive is if someone shared one with you. It would then appear below ‘My Drive’ on the left-hand panel of Google Drive.

Trash is also different within Shared Drives. Within My Drive, when you delete something it will stay there indefinitely until you choose to empty it. That is not the case in Shared Drives. In Shared Drives when you delete something, the item will reside within the Shared Drive’s own trash and it will only stay there for only 30 days before being deleted permanently.

Administering Shared Drives

G Suite Admins can access and amend the permissions of all the Team Drives within an organisation directly from the Admin Console, making it very straightforward to look after large quantities of enterprise data. You can also use Google Groups to manage these Permissions, which allows you to group relevant users together from throughout the organisation for easier management - this follows the same principle as creating mailing groups.

Onboarding & Offboarding.

Shared Drives can really simplify the process when dealing with new-starts and leavers. You can quickly grant access to specific department’s Shared Drives, then revoke that access if they leave. This means there’s no more worrying about whether ex-employees still have access to important company data.

Settings & Permissions

Shared Drives are incredibly customisable and can be configured to suit the data handling needs of any organisation while remaining GDPR compliant. Admins have a whole host of settings to pick from to ensure that important company data is securely locked down and never wrongly shared with anyone.

There are 5 different access levels within Shared Drives, consisting of;

  • Manager
  • Content Manager
  • Contributor
  • Commenter
  • Viewer

These different levels can be allocated to users to control what actions they are able to take, such as;

  • View Only
  • Comment
  • Edit
  • Create New
  • Share
  • Move Items
  • Delete Items
  • Download Items
  • Print Items

This range of control makes managing data much simpler for large organisations as they can ensure that files are never wrongly shared or moved out of their pre-existing folder structure by accident.

Sharing Externally

When a Shared Drive is shared with you from an external organisation, a small key is displayed over the icon as an indicator. This serves as an important reminder that any data stored here is accessible to all members, both internal and external.

This is important to note because any file placed into a Team Drive will automatically transfer ownership to the Team Drive - hence why admins have so much control over files and folders. While really useful in many situations it’s good to be aware of this.

Give us a hand!

If you need help setting up your shared drives, we have a team that have set up file structures for countless organisations. We'd be more than happy to help you out - just drop your email below and we'll get back to you asap! Alternatively, if you're ready to get started, you can book a discovery call!

January 25, 2019

Working with Office files in G Suite

In modern workplaces, we often find ourselves working on projects or creating documentation alongside external companies. Whether that’s a creative agency, a product supplier or one of your own clients, the chances are, you’re going to be presented with multiple file formats. That's why we've decided to cover all the different ways you can work with Office files in G Suite.

Historically, juggling different formats could have been an issue, as nobody would be willing to pay for multiple different software licenses that are designed to provide the same (or similar) solutions.

One of the most common file types out there is Office files i.e Word, Excel and Powerpoint. Lots of businesses want to gain the collaborative benefits of using Google Drive, Docs etc. but also need to face the reality that a lot of work will involve these Office formats at some point. Thankfully, it’s now easier than ever to work with Microsoft Office files in G Suite. When we move companies to G Suite we always advise them of the various easy ways to address this, so we thought we’d set out below the many ways Google help users to work with Microsoft Office files in G Suite.

G Suite and Microsoft Office Interoperability

There are multiple ways to do this, depending on what you’re trying to achieve. In this blog, we’ll cover the different options available, including;

  1. Converting from Office to Google formats - (Office not required)
  2. Converting from Google to Office formats - (Office not required)
  3. Commenting on Office documents - (Office not required)
  4. Edit Office documents - (Office not required)
  5. Work in Office and sync files to Drive - (Office required)

Version Control in Office - (Office required)

We will also cover one of G Suite’s latest features; how to avoid version conflicts in Office formats within Google Drive. This is an incredibly powerful function that makes it even easier when working with Office files in G Suite than in Office 365, as at the time of writing, this functionality isn’t provided within Office 365.

1. Convert Office files to Google formats

  1. Save or upload your office file to Google Drive.
  2. Right click on the file > Open with > Google Docs / Sheets / Slides
  3. Your file will convert to Google Format

You can also adjust your settings so that when you upload Office files to Google Drive, they automatically convert to Google Formats. To do this, simply;

  1. Click on the settings cog in the top right
  2. Select Settings
  3. Tick the box that says “Convert uploaded files to Google Docs editor format”.

Now, when you upload any Microsoft Office files like Word, Excel or Powerpoint, they will automatically convert to Google Docs, Sheets or Slides to allow for instant editing and real-time collaboration.

2. Convert Google files to Office formats

  1. Open the file you want to convert to Word format.
  2. Click File > Download as > Microsoft Word (.docx), Microsoft Excel (.xlsx), or Microsoft PowerPoint (.pptx).
  3. Docs will open a “Save As…” window where you can select where you want to save the document.
  4. Once saved, you’ll be able to open the file in Microsoft Word.

When in Google Drive, it’s even easier to convert files - Simply right-click on the file and click “Download.” Drive will automatically convert it to an Office format and open a “Save As…” window to save it. If you hold down the CTRL/CMD key when you click on files, you can select multiple files at once. The selected files will light up blue: then, right-click any of the highlighted ones and click “Download” to convert.

3. Comment on Office files in Google Drive

You can also comment directly on Microsoft Office files, PDFs and images, the same way you would with Docs, Sheets and Slides, without converting them to Google formats first.

  1. Open the non-Google file in the Drive preview pane - right click > preview
  2. Highlight areas of interest and click the comment icon.
  3. Type any notes, assign tasks or mention colleagues using @ in front of their name, the same way you would with Google formats.
Comment on Office files in Google Drive

Your co-workers can still reply back as usual, even if they’re not using G Suite. So if an external team member opens your Microsoft Word document on their Windows PC, they will see your comments and can reply within Word.

4. Edit Office files in Google Drive

If you’re working with an external team who use Microsoft Word, Excel and Powerpoint, you can still edit and work with these files without converting or even having Office installed.

  1. Install the Office Editing for Docs, Sheets & Slides Chrome extension.
  2. Open Google Drive, then open an Office file. The file will open within in Docs, Sheets, or Slides, however, it will use the Office extension to maintain the same Office format. Any changes you make will be saved in the original Office format.
Microsoft Office files in G Suite

You can then choose to save each file either in its original Office format or convert it to Google Docs, Sheets or Slides to enable collaboration features.

*New Update (May 2019)*

G Suite has always been focussed on helping people collaborate better, and while the above solution allowed users to make basic edits to Office files, this latest update changes the game entirely.

Office Editing allows for users to open Microsoft Office files within G Suite while maintaining its Office format, but still allowing users to take advantage of G Suite’s collaboration features. This means that if an external party sends your team a Microsoft Word file, you can save it in Google Drive, open it in Docs and all work on it together before sending it back - no conversions or extensions needed.

It will also mean that any organisations who are still paying for Microsoft Office licencing will be able to stop these payments, as there is no longer any requirement for the packages when using G Suite.

5. Work in Office and sync files to Drive

If you haven't already, we recommend that you install Drive File Stream on your computer. Drive File Stream is a cloud file synchronisation tool that lets you stream files from My Drive and Team Drives from the cloud to your computer. This means you can access your Google Drive data in the same way you access the data stored on your regular hard drive.

  1. In Office, click File > Open and find your Google Drive folder.
  2. Select your document file and click Open.
  3. Edit your file. Any changes you make to your file in Office sync in Drive.
Drive File Stream for Microsoft Office files in G Suite

You can also save a new Office file to your Drive folder, which will then sync to the cloud.


Avoid version conflicts with Real-Time Presence

When you open a Microsoft Word, Powerpoint or Excel document from Drive, G Suite will check if anyone else is currently editing the document. You will then receive a notification to let you know if it’s safe to edit or if you should wait. (This feature is only available when Drive File Stream is installed).

Google Drive status notifications include:

  • Safe to edit: No one else is editing.
  • Wait to edit: Other people are editing, so your edits will create multiple, conflicting versions.
  • New version created: Another editor saved a newer version of the file.
  • New version created (conflict): While you were editing the file, another editor also edited it. Click for a side-by-side comparison to help you create one version.
Real time presence - Microsoft Office files in G Suite

If version conflicts do occur, ‘Real-Time Presence’ will alert you and the other user to help avoid version conflicts. Drive will then display the two versions of the document along with their changes side by side. This helps you to quickly merge the different versions into one final document.

Contact

If you would like to find out more about working with Office files in G Suite, or would just like to learn more about G Suite and what it can offer your organisation, please don’t hesitate to get in touch via info@cobry.co.uk. We would be delighted to have a chat about how we could help.


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January 8, 2019

Chromebook Myths

While we at Cobry specialise in helping companies move to the cloud with G Suite, we also help companies with related hardware - whether it’s Jamboards, Hangouts Meet Hardware or Chrome Hardware, we can help. The last in that list, Chrome hardware, is an area we’re seeing growing interest in - not just with our clients but also further afield in companies large and small across the world. The strengths of Chrome OS devices like Chromebooks are hard to ignore and competitors of Google are increasingly modelling their hardware approach on how Google has done things. Despite all this, we encounter various misconceptions about Chrome devices so we thought it would be useful to try to tackle some of them here...

Myth 1: Chromebooks are only a fancy Chrome browser

Fact - Chromebooks can run Android applications locally on your device.

Chrome

Many people’s understanding of Chrome is that it is just an internet browser, but it’s so much more than just a way to browse the web. Chrome OS is a lightweight, cloud-based operating system built to tackle and vastly improve speed, security, simplicity and shareability. While the majority of actions will be carried out by using the Chrome browser, Chromebooks can also run applications locally through the use of Chrome optimized Android apps (available from the Play Store). These are available for a range of services such as Office 365, Linux, Adobe and many more. It’s also possible to run some non-Android apps, run Linux and save files locally when required.

Myth 2: Chromebooks are not secure

Fact - Chrome OS is widely considered to be the most secure operating system.

Security

Google Chrome was built with security in mind from day one; providing a range of great features like automatic updates (in the background so you can get on with your work!), end-to-end encryption and sandboxing to isolate applications from critical system resources. The best part about these security features is that they all come as standard with Chrome OS, so there’s no requirement for users to set them up or pay for expensive 3rd party antivirus solutions. As Chrome OS is cloud-based, it protects, contains, and resolves security threats all on its own.

Myth 3: Chromebooks only work when they’re online

Fact - Chromebooks offer offline access to G Suite and a variety of other offline applications.

Most of the work done in modern workplaces nowadays requires an internet connection, whether that be for researching, emailing or completing online forms, the internet has become an integral part of how we work. However, there are occasions when we find ourselves disconnected and have to push on with other tasks. In these increasingly rare occurrences, Chromebooks can function just like any other laptop by providing access to G Suite and other 3rd party apps offline. Then because Chromebooks are cloud-based, the next time you connect to the internet, all of your changes will automatically sync across your apps. This also means you’ll never have to work about version control ever again.

Myth 4: Chromebooks cannot run legacy applications

Fact - Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) can be used to provide access to legacy applications. This often results in the applications running much faster.

Many organisations who have moved to the cloud or are considering making the move, are often held up by waiting for their legacy applications to be made available in a cloud setup. This, in fact, isn’t a requirement. Organisations can begin utilising the speed and simplicity of Chrome OS to access these applications through VDI. Simply put, this allows for a desktop operating system (and the associated legacy apps) to be hosted on a centralised server, which users are then provided access to via Google’s Chrome Remote Desktop. VDI solutions will also often run much quicker on Chromebooks than regular on-premise machines due to their lightweight operating system. There is also another solution in development that allows Chromebooks of a particular spec to run Windows apps directly within Chrome OS. The Chrome eco-system is constantly developing to provide more features and increase usability for all.

Myth 5: Chromebooks cannot be properly managed

Fact - Chrome Device Management allows Enterprises to manage all of their Chromebooks from a centralised console.

Most organisations need to manage each device on an enterprise level to ensure all the proper software is installed and prevent users from installing harmful software or accessing things they shouldn’t have access to. Ease of management is actually one of the key strengths of Chrome devices and is one reason why some really big companies are adopting them. Enterprise customers can manage their entire fleet of Chromebooks by using Chrome Device Management (CDM) - an easy to use cloud management console. Chrome Device Management includes over 200 management policies, including policies that follow specific users across devices and policies that are device specific.

Chrome Devices

Although we’ve tackled several of the myths surrounding Chromebooks in this blog post, there is also a range of other cloud-connected hardware options available from Google. These reap the same benefits that Chrome OS provides, in short: speed, security, simplicity, and shareability. These are all prevalent within the Google ecosystem and can be found at the core of Chromebooks, Chromebits, Chromeboxes, Jamboards and Hangouts Meet Hardware; all of which are available directly from Cobry on our Chrome Hardware page.

Contact

If you would like any further information about Chromebooks, G Suite or the cloud in general, please don’t hesitate to get in touch via info@cobry.co.uk. We would be delighted to have a chat.


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