August 14, 2019

G Suite FCA Compliance

Financial Companies Seize Path to the Cloud

When Board meetings within the Financial Services sector start addressing the subject of migrating to the Cloud you can be sure that this technology has matured to provide a credible improvement on legacy infrastructure. So much so, that we have recently helped multiple financial companies gain FCA approval by leveraging the powerful security features within G Suite.

Highly regulated companies such as HSBC, ABN Amro, Allianz and Paypal have all taken the plunge and invested in Google Cloud & G Suite FCA compliant tools.

What did these companies consider in this process though and how can it be applied to yours?

Securing company data

Unfortunately, it is almost impossible to prevent your employees’ mobile devices being lost or getting stolen from time to time. When these incidents occur it does not have to be such a worry.

G Suite keeps your company’s data secure with mobile device management (MDM) policies. With basic management, you can ensure that mobile devices require screen locks and/or strong passwords on your employees’ devices, keeping your corporate data secure. In addition, G Suite allows you to erase confidential business data with device wipe, or selected account wipe for Android or iOS. You can see the list of devices that are accessing corporate data in the Google Admin console.

G Suite's Mobile Device Management means that you can manage, secure and monitor all mobile devices that are in your organisation. It is possible to manage a range of devices, including phones, tablets, and even smartwatches. People are still able to use their own personal devices for work (BYOD) as you will be able to wipe their corporate accounts on their devices, should the worst happen.

So, how does G Suite protect my data?

When you decide that you would like to store your data with G Suite, it is then protected in a number of different ways. This includes advanced phishing detection with the aid of machine learning, authentication with security key enforcement and also prevention of data leakage.

Due to G Suite being a 100% cloud-based system it means you can be protected from attacks such as Ransomware, viruses, and malware. There is no need to install a separate system for spam processing because Gmail uses Machine Learning to automatically filter any spam and to scan all emails for suspicious and dangerous content.  The G Suite administrator can also control all attachments sent and received by your organisation so that nobody opens or sends anything that they shouldn’t.

Other security-centric features include:

  • Confidential Mode - users can help protect sensitive information from unauthorised access using Gmail confidential mode. Recipients of messages in confidential mode don't have the option to forward, copy, print, or download messages, including attachments. Users can set a message expiration date, revoke message access at any time, and require an SMS verification code to access messages.
  • Data Loss Prevention (DLP) -  analyses the files in your organization’s Team Drives for sensitive content. You can set up policy-based actions that will be triggered when any sensitive content is detected.
  • Gmail Security Sandbox - a sandbox detects the presence of previously unknown malware in attachments by virtually "executing" them in a private, secure sandbox environment, and analyzing the side effects on the operating system to determine malicious behaviour.

2 Factor Authentication keeps your data secure  

Using 2 Factor Authentication (2FA) provides users with a better option to secure their accounts. As well as 2FA over an encrypted connection, users can also block unauthorized access to their accounts with Google Prompt that delivers real-time prompts, telling the user when they have logged into a device.

This update comes through as a pop-up notification on the Google app. This allows users to answer “yes” or “no” when asked, “are you logging in?”

Allied to that, additional control can be gained from deploying Cloud Identity. For full details please click here.

Automatic rules ensure G Suite FCA compliance

There are now new device rules for Device Management, which allows G Suite admins to define custom rules that create triggers for certain actions or events. For example, if something occurs on one of your company’s devices that’s been specified in a custom rule, the corresponding action that’s been set will automatically be carried out. Some of these rules include;

  • Approve select mobile devices when the device is enrolled.
  • Block access to corporate data if a specific app is installed.
  • Block access to account/wipe the device if the user has more than 5 failed screen unlock attempts.
  • Block access to/wipe the account if there is suspicious activity found on the device.

3rd Party App Control

Google can also protect your data against phishing attacks. Google provides 3rd party control with OAuth apps whitelisting. This gives your company extra control over 3rd party applications that have access to your data. It is now possible for admins to specifically select which apps can have access to which users G Suite data. This keeps your data safe as it is ensuring that your users don’t accidentally grant access to apps that may be malicious.

Google Cloud & G Suite FCA Accreditations

As if that wasn’t enough, Google Cloud Platform has been awarded independent security standards including ISO27001 and ISO27017 (see the full list here)

And finally a quote from the CIO of HSBC -

“We have peace of mind knowing that Google Cloud takes security and compliance very seriously”

Group CIO, HSBC (2018)

Contact Us

We are always happy to talk through your requirements here at Cobry, and we may even be able to give you a free IT security checkup in the process to help you with your G Suite FCA compliance!

July 29, 2019

G Suite Endpoint Verification

What is Endpoint Verification and why is it important? Endpoint Verification allows G Suite admins to see corporate device status’, including Operating System, Device type, and User information.

As well as covering G Suite’s Endpoint Verification solution below, our previous blogs address the other aspects of managing corporate devices and data through Mobile Device Management and Chrome Device Management, which are both also included in G Suite.


Google is an organisation that was built in the cloud, and has had security in mind from day one. This is evident when looking into its structure, technology, operations and its approach to customer data. The robust security infrastructure and systems become the default for each and every G Suite customer.

What is Endpoint Verification?

As mentioned, Endpoint Verification is a tool provided by G Suite that allows administrators to view information about devices that are accessing corporate data. To use Endpoint Verification in your organisation, you first need to install and be using G Suite in the Chrome Web Browser.

Once the technical configuration is complete and all devices are registered, admins will be able to see the below information:

  • Device ID, serial number, device type, and operating system.
  • Username and email address. 
  • The first and last time devices synchronized corporate data. 
  • If devices are encrypted and have a password. 
  • For devices running Chrome OS, admins can also see whether devices adhere to organization policies. 

Managed Devices

While corporate devices are the key to employee productivity, they can also be a weak link when it comes to application and data security, if not properly managed.

Endpoint Verification gives admins an overview of the security posture of their laptop and desktop devices. This provides a great platform for maintaining security across the organisation. The tool is available to all G Suite Business, and G Suite Enterprise customers and integrates with ChromeOS, macOS, Linux, Windows, iOS and Android devices.

Admins can tag endpoint devices running Chrome as approved or blocked as well as using the tag to configure access levels. They can also decide whether an additional review is needed for newly registered endpoint verification devices before they’re tagged as approved. 

You can then view the entire inventory of devices that have access to corporate data. From there, admins can approve or block access to specific devices based on any internal criteria. Examples include lost devices, which can now be ‘blocked’ from accessing apps, or approving new users who need to access applications as their job titles shift. Email notifications can also be set up for when a device is registered but needs admin approval.

Chrome Policies

Some of Google Chrome’s standard security features include Safe Browsing, sandboxing, and automatic updates to ensure that users are always protected from the latest viruses, malware, phishing attacks, and malicious sites. 

G Suite admins can deploy Google Chrome across their organisation and customise it to their requirements. There are over 280 policies available to help admins control how Chrome is used across all devices. For example, automatic updates can be scheduled to get the latest security fixes, block or allow specific apps and websites, as well as configuring support for legacy browsers.

Windows 10 Desktop Management

Enhanced desktop security for Windows allows you to manage and secure Windows 10 devices through the G Suite Admin console. It also enables Single Sign On (SSO) to allow users easy access to G Suite and other connected apps on Windows 10 devices.

G Suite admins can:

  • Enable use of existing G Suite credentials to login to Windows 10 devices, and access apps and services with SSO 
  • Protect user accounts with anti-phishing, anti-hijacking, and suspicious login detection technologies 
  • Ensure that all Windows 10 devices used to access G Suite are updated, secure, and within compliance 
  • Perform admin actions, such as wiping a device and pushing device configuration updates, to Windows 10 devices from the admin console

Contact

As official Google Cloud Partners, Cobry has deployed G Suite and configured Endpoint Verification for organisations of all sizes throughout Scotland and across Europe. 

If your organisation is considering making the move to G Suite, or has already set up their account but would like some help with device management, or any other aspects of G Suite, please get in touch via the details below – we would be delighted to have a chat.

info@cobry.co.uk | 03337890102

July 24, 2019

Cloud Telephony: Voice of the future, today.

Organisations are now adopting the latest technology to streamline a range of business administration and processes, one of the latest being Cloud Telephony. 

Cloud Telephony, such as Google Voice (an additional G Suite service), comes with many benefits over the more traditional on-premise solutions, however, one of the benefits rarely touched upon is the ability to ease day to day administration and consolidate offices in different locations.

Imagine being able to control onboarding/offboarding at the press of a button ensuring company security or indeed cutting hardware costs due to the cloud management involved in modern systems. This is especially true for organisations that have merged or acquired companies running on different systems and then had to try to integrate with their own.

For some companies, in this scenario, the acquisitions happened years ago and the enterprise has been living with the pain and expense of a tangle of diverse systems for a long time.

Companies that are looking after multiple locations with on-premises PBX have to contend with the fact that different locations could be running disconnected systems of different ages with different capabilities. Systems may not even be from the same vendor. Capabilities may be lost to interoperability problems. Productivity may be lost to inefficient communications. Getting every location onto a single standard may look close to an impossible task, but this is where cloud-based telephony really begins to shine.

The Advantages

Cloud telephony allows the consolidation of equipment and allows IT managers to benefit from standardised capabilities and total interoperability across locations. When system upgrades happen, they happen everywhere simultaneously, maintenance can be outsourced to your IT provider (such as Cobry) and fewer resources are required to understand and use systems across the business. 

Processes can also be standardised for greater efficiency and in most cases, you are able to reuse Cloud-ready hardware to reduce costs. Simply put, for businesses who want phone systems working together across multiple locations, cloud-hosted telephony systems present a much simpler and cheaper option to implement and maintain.

For users, the ability to keep in touch, everywhere and on any device connected to the internet, enables a freedom not previously enjoyed, while your phone number follows you across these devices - low battery on your phone, no problem, use your laptop/tablet instead. Integrations with other services such as Hangouts Meet and Calendar, if Google Voice is chosen, ensure smooth and productive communications. 

Further advantages also include no limits to adding new users, email transcription, spam call blocking, auto-attendant functionality and ring groups and best of all controlled from a single administration console.

Switching to Cloud Telephony

If your organisation is large or complex, making it hard to warrant an immediate switchover, you can take a staged approach. You are able to start with a cloud-based system at one location or department as part of a larger deployment. This is a clever, phased approach to phone system migration that’s gaining more steam among businesses that don’t want to replace all at once.

Still, some IT managers feel safer maintaining hardware that’s nearby, with the belief that the system may be pretty robust. It’s easy to run down the hall to a server closet if something goes wrong, right? But on-premises PBX systems are also dependent on forces outside a company’s control, an electrical grid outage, an Internet outage, a fire, burglary or severe flooding. Business continuity and disaster recovery is an often overlooked benefit of cloud deployment in general.

To Summarise

However you decide to approach upgrading your telephone system, one thing is clear, hosted communication is rapidly becoming the norm for businesses regardless of size, vertical or site complexity and shows no sign of slowing down.

Contact

As official Google Cloud Partners, Cobry has deployed G Suite and Google Voice for organisations of all sizes throughout Scotland and across Europe. 

If your organisation is making the move to G Suite or is now considering adopting Google Voice, please get in touch via the details below – we would be delighted to have a chat about how we can help.

info@cobry.co.uk | 0333 789 0102

July 3, 2019

Windows 7 End of Life – An Opportunity?

In January 2020, Microsoft will be ending support for Windows Server 2008 and Windows 7 (January 14th, 2020). Here’s why that’s happening, and what you can do about it.

It may not seem that long ago, but from a business-technology standpoint, 2008 was a different world.

64-bit computing was a shiny new prospect. Analytics was in its earliest stages. CIOs weren’t raving about the cloud, or AI, or Agile – they were raving about enterprise applications like ERP, SCM, and CRM, and about the latest developments in server and storage technologies.

It was a time when business priorities and processes were much more scaled down. Back when the job of an operating system was really just to manage and simplify, not to fuel game-changing innovation. 

Windows 7 Support Ends

All of this is why Microsoft are about to end support for Windows Server 2008, the last 32-bit Windows server operating system, and Windows 7 the popular Operating System for Windows PC’s. It means you’ll stop getting security updates for both products as soon as the dates roll over, plus any other types of support, like automatic fixes and technical assistance.

It also means your infrastructure will essentially become ‘open’ – vulnerable to everything from ransomware attacks to compliance breaches – and there’ll be no one around to warn you when those things are coming.

Microsoft are recommending replacing Windows 7 hardware (such as laptops and desktops) to Windows 10 hardware. The cost of this purchase could be significant depending on the size of your organisation.

So what now?

There are three options from which you can choose, and each has a different impact on your business...

The constant pace of change in technology and the improvement in connectivity allied to the increasingly agile nature of workforces opens up new worlds of possibilities but keeping up with this can be a very expensive business especially if you are not leveraging the power of the cloud. 

Here’s why you should -

  • Security patching, maintenance, and monitoring – Utilising the cloud, management of the deployment and configuration of your organisation to store data at scale and ensure security protocols are deployed.
  • Backups and disaster recovery –  In a traditional on-premise environment, organisations need to build or purchase tooling to support a backup and recovery function. In the cloud, this can be included in the service and have defined processes for recovering functionality.
  • Scalability and fault tolerance – Cloud technology can make it easy to scale databases vertically and horizontally without investing in new hardware. This allows customers to scale their server requirements to their needs and only pay for the licenses they are using.
  • Flexible Workforce - If appropriate, free your team members to work from anywhere, using familiar tools and increasing collaboration whilst keeping your organisation secure through security protocols such as 2 Factor Authentication.

G Suite will work with existing hardware such as PC’s and Macs but as these have to be replaced, Chromebooks, could takeover with potential savings in costs subject to specifications required.

Having services come to end of life can be challenging but can also spark opportunities to bring more flexible and agile solutions into organisations.

The Cloud

As outlined above, there has not been a better time to migrate and modernise legacy systems in the cloud. Customers can expect to gain operational efficiency, increased collaboration between employees whilst reducing infrastructure and licensing costs, and empower their teams with the tools they need to deliver value faster to the business.  

Contact

If you would like to find out more on how to realise the potential in your business by utilising Cloud technology and in particular G Suite, get in touch with us at info@cobry.co.uk and we would be delighted to have a chat.

June 5, 2019

Mobile Device Management & G Suite

Enterprise IT has come a long way in recent years, and the days running businesses solely from desktop computers have certainly passed. Laptops are of course still incredibly popular and are arguably the dominant device for most organisations. However, mobile devices are still on the rise, and thanks to advancements in technology, certain users can now achieve most of their work on their mobile phones.

These devices, whether they belong to the company or to the user, bring their own security risks and must be managed appropriately. Therefore, it’s important for organisations to enforce strong policies in how these devices are used in the workplace, as well as having contingencies in place if these devices are lost or stolen while storing sensitive company data.

Thankfully, G Suite comes with Mobile Device Management (MDM) built in, allowing organisations to easily manage all devices, ensure all users have access to the right apps and keep company data secure.

G Suite Mobile Device Management

Some of the stand-out policies and features available within G Suite’s MDM include;

  • Enforce password policies
  • Enforce 2 factor authentication
  • Require screen locks
  • Remotely wipe corporate data
  • Automatically roll out work apps
  • Track mobile usage and trends

Simple Rollout

You can roll out the applications your organisations require from Google Play or Apple’s App Store. As soon as your employee’s device has been enrolled, all Wi-Fi and email configurations including server-side certificates are pushed to the device instantly.

Bring your own device (BYOD)

More and more employees are deciding to bring their own personal devices to work. G Suite MDM makes it easy to keep your organisation’s data safe while letting employees use their favourite devices.

Android phones can separate your business applications from users’ personal apps, allowing employees to use their favourite device at work and home. You can also set up company-owned devices with some additional security settings. Cobry is, of course, happy to assist organisations with any elements of Mobile Device Management.

Basic Mobile Management

To start using Basic MDM, users can simply sign into their business account on their mobile device - no additional installations or configurations required.

Basic mobile management can be used for simple policies like enforcing passwords to keep data safe. Admins can also remote wipe any corporate data from registered devices if they were to be lost or stolen. You can also keep track of all the devices that have access to corporate data from the Admin console in G Suite.

Advanced Mobile Management

For organisations looking to utilise Advanced Mobile Management for more in-depth controls, you must first get in touch with your G Suite admin or Google Cloud Partner (if you do not have a Google Cloud Partner, Cobry would be happy to assist) to activate the advanced options. Depending on the types of devices, admins will have to turn on Android App Management and also install an Apple Push Certificate.

Once this is complete, users can sign in to their G Suite account from their mobile device. Android users can access and install your company pre-approved apps from the Work Apps tab in the Google Play Store.

Device approvals can also be set up so that an administrator has to approve user requests to access corporate data. This is only required once per device.

With Advanced Management, you can:

  • Separate work and personal data on Android devices
  • Control the apps that are installed on devices
  • Apply policy settings
  • Get reports
  • Approve/block devices
  • Wipe entire devices
    • If you choose this option, your users will have to enroll their devices.
  • For Android devices, users must download the Google Apps Device Policy app.
  • For iOS devices, users must download the Google Device Policy app so you can manage the device.

Apple Push Certificate

To use advanced mobile management with iOS® devices, admins must use an Apple Push Certificate. This certificate creates a trusted connection between the devices and your G Suite domain, which must be renewed annually.

If you have iOS devices that are already signed into your account and are synchronizing data, they will receive a notification to install the Google Device Policy profile. This ensures that the device is following all of the custom policies that have been created. Devices that aren’t will lose the ability to sync with your organisation’s account until they become compliant.

For every new device to be enrolled for advanced mobile management, you will need to install the Device Policy profile to ensure compliance and gain access.

Mobile Device Management Tips

  • Let your team know the mobile device policies that have been put in place.
  • Communicate that enrollment is required for devices to be active.
  • Set up advanced mobile management for a wider range of device settings and policies.
  • Encourage users to create work profiles in Android so they can keep their personal data separate from work data.
  • Encourage iOS users to download the Google Device Policy.
  • Choose the option to approve devices before users can download data and sync to G Suite.
  • Set up alerts for events like device-setting changes or suspicious activity.
  • Whitelist apps that your users will find useful for work.

Help with Mobile Device Management

As official Google Cloud Partners, Cobry has deployed G Suite and configured Mobile Device Management for organisations of all shapes and sizes throughout Scotland and across Europe. If your organisation is considering making the move to G Suite, or has already set up their account but would like some help with Mobile Device Management or other aspects of G Suite, get in touch via the details below.

Contact

We are always happy to have a chat about how we could help.

✉️ - info@cobry.co.uk 📞 - 0333 789 0102

April 24, 2019

Google Next 19 Key Takeaways

Google Next '19 was the latest of Google’s annual events to unveil new features, products and plans for the future. It took place in San Francisco in the second week of April, and also marked the first keynote speech of Google Cloud’s new CEO, Thomas Kurian, who took over the company earlier this year from Diane Greene.

Now that the dust has settled and we’ve had time to digest all of the developments, we’ve been able to pull together our favourite announcements and the biggest upcoming game changers for G Suite users.

You can find our top 7 developments from Google Next 19 that will bring about the biggest gains in security, collaboration and productivity for G Suite users below.

1. Office Editing

G Suite has always been focussed on helping people collaborate better. While the previous solution allowed for easy file conversion between Microsoft Office and Google formats, this latest feature 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 needed.

Google Next 19

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.

2. Metadata in Drive

Google Drive’s search functionality is already incredibly powerful, but it’s about to become a whole lot more specific and targeted with regards to document types.

The metadata update allows users to create categories and add further details to their documents. This can include tagging them as “Contract”, “Statement of Work” or “Project Scope”. This means that within a couple of clicks, users can filter search results for signed/unsigned contracts for specific clients and many other use cases.

Google Next 19

These categories can also be applied to files stored in Team Drives, with managers selecting the most appropriate way to structure the data.

Users will now have the ability to search in natural language for queries like “all contracts that need to be signed by next week” and Google Drive will present them all together.

3. Android Phones as Security Keys

The introduction of security keys to organisations has had a huge impact on defending against phishing campaigns and other user-targeted attacks. The only downside is having to acquire these keys. The latest G Suite security update negates this by allowing organisations to use Android (7+) mobile phones as security keys.

Google Next 19

This means that users can use their existing phones as a primary 2-Step Verification method to protect against phishing, rather than having to purchase new technology.

2-Step Verification greatly improves the security of your account by adding another layer to your account security. So even if a hacker was able to acquire your password, they still wouldn’t be able to access your account.

4. G Suite Add-ons

G Suite Add-ons is a new cross-suite platform that allows users to access their other workplace apps, like CRMs and Project Management tools, from a side panel within G Suite. This means you can carry out tasks in these apps without ever having to open a new tab. The add-ons will also offer relevant information and make suggestions based on what you’re doing at the time.

G Suite Add-ons

So, if you work in sales, your CRM app can provide you with more customer information while you draft an email in Gmail, or even suggest who to add to your contacts based on what emails you’ve recently received. If you’re a designer, you can stay on top of all your projects by adding new tasks to your project management app as you read about them in Gmail or are invited to discuss them in Calendar events.

5. Security Sandbox for Gmail

This is an incredibly powerful update for Gmail, which greatly strengthens its ability to deal with malware attachments. The best analogy for this feature is to compare it to discovering an unknown and unattended bag being left at a train station/airport - you don’t know exactly what’s inside, but there’s a good chance it’s going to be dangerous. In this scenario, the bomb squad would be called in to carry out a controlled detonation, and this is exactly what this feature brings to Gmail.

Security Sandbox for Gmail

Security sandbox for Gmail scans attachments and detects unknown malware by virtually "executing" them in a private, secure sandbox environment, and then analyses the side effects on the operating system to determine malicious behaviour.

This is all carried out in a matter of minutes before the email even reaches the end user, and provides users with an extra layer of security.

It’s worth noting, however, that this feature will only be available to G Suite Enterprise users.

6. Live Captions in Hangouts Meet

The new Hangouts Meet update aims to improve video conferencing for users who are hard-of-hearing or deaf by adding in live captions. This means that those users will be able to follow conversations and announcements by reading the captions as they display in real-time, thanks to Google’s speech-to-text artificial intelligence.

Hangouts Meet Live Captions

It’s important to note for this feature, that when users enable captions, they will be visible on the device they are using at that time. For other participants in the meeting to see the captions, they will also have to turn them on for their devices as well.

Side Note - video calls on Hangouts Meet run best when used with Hangouts Meet Hardware.

7. Google Currents

Currents was first announced at Google Next 19 and is set to become a new core G Suite app, replacing Google+, which was retired earlier this year. The new app acts as an internal social network for large organisations and enables users to have meaningful discussions and interactions and provide leaders with the opportunity to connect with their employees.

Google Next 19

Users can easily tag their posts and add relevant attachments or images. Once a user posts, others can comment, give feedback, and ask questions all in the same place.

Currents allows leaders within the organisation to address all employees with posts on specific topics, which can be given priority in the news feed to ensure everyone sees them and can engage when required.

Google Currents

We think this is addition to G Suite will provide a great platform for organisations to better engage with all staff and keep everyone in the loop on projects, product releases, company events and any other topics to help users feel more connected.

Google Next 19 Key Takeaway

Along with the 7 updates that we've picked out from Google Next 19, Google has recently released and announced a whole host of other great features for Google Cloud and G Suite users. You can find a list of these here, which we feel highlights Google's tireless innovation in the enterprise to continuously improve and offer the best solutions to help teams work better and more securely, together.

Contact

If would like to find out more about any of the above-mentioned updates to G Suite, or what the service 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.


April 18, 2019

Google Myths

There are many Google myths out there, which is understandable as Google is a huge organisation. Not only that, they’re owned by another huge organisation - their parent company, Alphabet Inc.

Because of this, and the nature of their business, many people assume the worst and liken Google to “Big Brother” - always keeping tabs on their online activities.

However, if you do a little bit of digging, just below the surface layer of rumours and hear-say found on Twitter, Reddit and any other user-generated-content sites, you’ll find that the facts paint a quite a different picture.

Read on below as we cover the top 5 Google myths that we encounter when speaking with clients and potential customers. Let us know if we’ve missed any in the comments!

Myth 1: Google scans business emails

Fact - There is no scanning of messages for advertisements.

Google outlines this fact in its Terms of Service, which states that businesses using G Suite own their own data, not Google. Automated background systems do scan and index your data to provide you with services such as search, filters, priority inbox, and even spell check. You can find out more about Google's data usage here. However, scanning is a lot more common than you may think and is found in a lot of online services. It’s important to remember that this scanning is not carried out by real humans, it’s all done through artificial intelligence. Google does not mine data to display advertising as their contract states and they also have a strong record of protecting customer data, by encrypting it at every level.

Myth 2: Google will sell my information

Fact - In G Suite your data always belongs to you.

Unless you use Google’s tools to do so yourself, Google does not share your data with any other people or organisations. In fact, Google doesn't sell, trade or rent any personally identifiable user information. You can find out more about this via their Privacy Policy.

Myth 3: Google knows too much about me

Fact - There's nothing personally identifiable about any of the data that Google saves.

Your history of search queries aren't actually tied to your personal identity, only to your computer's IP address. Your IP address only provides Google with a rough geographic location, not your name. No Google employee is allowed to make connections between IP addresses and individuals. In fact, Google has a history of denying requests from the U.S. government to hand over search histories for investigations. They also provide Transparency Reports to shed light on how the policies and actions of governments and corporations affect privacy, security, and access to information.

Myth 4: Google is just a search company

Fact - Google has a diverse range of products that span across the technology sector.

Google’s Mission Statement is “to organise the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.” Google’s history of Search gives them an excellent grounding in the productivity market, as making information more accessible and structured is proven to increase efficiency by huge amounts. Google’s ventures into hardware, self-driving cars and balloons that deliver Internet connectivity from the stratosphere show that it’s not just a search company - It’s got a strong foundation in artificial intelligence and machine learning, which is woven into many of its tools and products, like G Suite, to help make life easier for users every single day.

Myth 5: Google is inexperienced in the Enterprise

Fact - Google has led the way in Enterprise cloud solutions with G Suite.

Although Microsoft began providing enterprise tools through their Office suite in 1990, Google began innovating in the cloud for enterprises with G Suite in 2006, with Microsoft not following suit until 2011. This means that Google has been developing cloud-first solutions for enterprises for over 12 years, helping businesses improve their collaboration, productivity, agility and security levels through G Suite and Google Cloud solutions. You can see how far the business solutions have come in the G Suite development timeline.

Contact

If you can think of any other Google myths that we may have missed, let us know in the comments! But if would like to find out more about using Google’s tools for work and what G Suite 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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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 get in touch with us at info@cobry.co.uk and we would be delighted to have a chat.

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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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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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