putting your office online
Most businesses will use office suite software. Office suites are a package of productivity software that include a word processor, a spreadsheet program, a presentation program, and many other useful tools. There are many providers of office suites, such as Microsoft Office 365, Libre Office, ZOHO Docs, iWork, and many others that run from your computer, phone or tablet that store documents and information to “the cloud.”
A simple description of the “cloud” is that of a network of connected computers and storage servers that are accessed through the internet. To use cloud-based software, you only need an internet connection.
do you have a free gmail account?
Many of us have a free gmail or Google account. The difference between the two is that a free Gmail account gives you an email address and access to lots of free apps that work with your gmail account. A free Google account can be created by using an existing email address that is with another provider (outlook or any internet service provider). A Google Account gives you access to Google apps, but without email. Since Gmail is the most widely used free email service in the world, it makes sense that most people choose to use all of them.
What’s the problem with using free Gmail for an organisation?
When we say “organisation”, we are referring to any business or nonprofit organisation that does business whether for charity or for profit.
Gmail was never intended to be used by organisations as it is was meant to be used by personal users to afford them some anonymity. The problem with using a free gmail account is that it has no business credibility – it is just a free email address with gmail.com to indicate where it is from.
With the business gmail account that you get in G Suite, your domain is used in the address. This domain is linked to your company name, particularly in Australia where “.com.au” is registered with the ABN number of the business. When someone receives an email from you with your “mybusiness.com.au” domain in the address, they know it is from you. When they receive an email from firstname.lastname@example.org, it could be from anyone who created an account with little more than an email and a phone number.
For another description about gmail versus G Suite, in the video below, Christoph Magnussen from digital consultancy firm Blackcoat explains the difference between the two.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF USING CLOUD OFFICE SUITES?
In a word, it’s about security.
The people who design and run these very complex and sophisticated data centres have a lot of money and technical expertise behind them, and they are all about security for their investment. When you use them, you use their security.
This is a very common reason given for only installing software on a computer we own. However, if the internet was at the speed that it is today when it was being developed 30 years ago, computer software would never have been designed to work only on stand alone computers – it is just too risky.
The truth is, if you rely on software only installed on your computer, you are gambling your business. You are very vulnerable to downtime, loss or theft when all your information only exists on any device in a physical location. A break in, a break down, a fire, a flood or whatever – that is all it will take to put your business right back to day one.
BACKUP’S ARE IMPORTANT, BUT…
Even if you do have a consistent backup system in place (and you should), then if you have a system failure, it will take many hours to restore from the backup. You may never recover your information and you will find you will need to set your computer up again. Anyone who has ever had to do a full Windows Reset or re-install will know how disruptive that can be. Having done this many times, I can confidently tell you that it will cost you at least a few days of productivity from your busy schedule. For most people who are not tech savvy, they might have to pay quite a large fee to have a professional get the business running again.
WHAT HAPPENS IN A DISASTER SCENARIO?
You suddenly discover that all your hardware has disappeared, but then far worse, so has all your information. The anxiety this produces has been described as much like jumping out of an airplane or having been involved in an accident. This could have been caused by thieves stealing your equipment, or because your computer died, or something else is responsible for depriving you of your hardware. Regardless of the cause, the situation you will find yourself in is that now you can’t run your business – and the security and confidentiality of your business will have been compromised.
If you were using Google Gsuite, then that is very good news indeed. Simply logging into Google and changing your password is all it takes to start getting your business secure and running again. You will have your contacts, your calendar schedule, your documents, your files, and your emails all back again. Everything will be up to date from the moment the system went down, unlike a physical backup system which can only restore from the last time a backup was run.
Recover with the cloud
Fortunately, when you use Cloud-based software like Google G Suite, all your information is stored and backed up on other computers online, you only need to borrow a computer or buy a new one to get going again. These are the steps:
- On your new computer, connect it to your internet.
- Open the default browser on your computer (Mac or Windows) and type in the search bar “download chrome browser”. Follow the prompts to download and install Chrome browser to your new computer. I recommend setting Chrome as your default browser when it asks.
- Login to your Google account on the Chrome browser.
- Once you have logged into your Google account, your Chrome browser is restored as it was and you can readily access all your files stored in your Google Drive. You now have access to your emails, your documents, your calendar, your bookmarks, your passwords. It’s all there.
- Change your password!
- If you use Google’s device security, you can revoke permissions for any device that logs into your account. Google can also locate your smart phone, or wipe the data from it completely.
- Restore your computer files from backup. Google provides Cloud Backup service for your phone and computer. This enables you to restore any backed up folders and files as they were previously on your computer.
The same procedure applies to setting up a new phone. If you use an Android phone, then you can restore your phone settings and installed apps from backup too.
The whole process takes only minutes to get back to where you were before the disaster – not hours, days, weeks….or never!