There’s this misconception in technology land, this feeling that because of the dominance of Gmail - the world’s most-used email client - that Google’s apps must be designed for personal use. That, at a pinch, they’re maybe only good for small businesses and those darn creative agencies that love to be anti-establishment.
The traditional lean towards Microsoft or - heaven forbid - Lotus Notes in the enterprise setting helps to hammer that home: Microsoft equals business, Google equals frivolous. It’s the old PC vs Mac debate all over again.
The truth is that Google has been making strong inroads into the enterprise market – and there’s now more than 4 million business users of the Google Workspace. Surprisingly for some, those users include some of the biggest business names out there, from Salesforce to BBVA, Colgate-Palmolive to Deliveroo, across both the private and public sector and some very security-conscious industries, to boot. These businesses are attracted not only by the clean user interface, the ubiquity of Google products and the ease of use, but also the ability to customize the system to their business’s unique needs.
You see, Google Workspace is not just Gmail, Google Docs and a cloud-based Drive; there are thousands of integrations and apps available on the Google Marketplace covering every possible business need. Each of these cloud-based integrations for Google Workspace enable a business to build a unique ecosystem of interrelated systems, all delivered through the cloud and accessed using a single Google sign-in.
They call it a better way of working together, but it can still be a fairly disparate system without something to hang it all on. That’s where a Google intranet solution comes in, acting as an access portal that also enables better team collaboration and communication. Bringing it all together through a Google intranet helps a business to truly customize Google Workspace and harness its full potential.
The difference between free and enterprise Google Workspace
First of all, it’s important to know the difference between the free version of Gmail and what you get in Google for Work.
Yes, you could set up a Google account on your own and get an email and access to apps like Google Docs, Google Sheets, Google Slides and Google Drive. However, your email address will be an @gmail.com domain, and your cloud-based storage will be limited.
Google does make it easy to enter the Google Workspace ecosystem, though, offering a few different pricing tiers. Even the lowest priced tier gives you the ability to have a custom email domain - that is, firstname.lastname@example.org - immediately adding grativas and professionalism to your outfit.
The basic tier gives you access to a business email, video and voice conferencing plus secure team messaging through Hangouts, shared calendars, document creation and 30GB of cloud storage. It’s aimed at the small business market.
A business tier gives an enhanced office suite with unlimited storage and archiving plus a team drive, as well as access to a low-code app development environment, smart search across the Google Workspace with Cloud Search, and enhanced security and administration controls. This is for the small to medium business that collaborates more and creates a lot of data to store securely.
Finally, the enterprise suite is billed as a premium deal with advanced controls and capabilities. The biggest differences come in the security and administration controls, plus the ability for IT teams to really get into the analytics and data loss prevention techniques that any enterprise-grade system requires.
Making Google Workspace work for your business
Customize look and feel
But you don’t need to go full-on into the enterprise suite to be able to start customizing Google Woekspace. Like we said: at any paid plan tier you get the custom email domain, giving that professional shine, plus you can customize the design to add your logo, create document templates, and more.
That’s all fairly frivolous, though. What most enterprise IT managers want to do is get to the good stuff: what does the control look like? How secure is it? Google Workspace builds comprehensive security in at every layer, and centralized administration makes setup and management simple and efficient. It’s so strong that the world’s leading organizations, including Asics, Veolia and Spotify, trust their data and admin to Google Workspace.
“Security and control is a strong element of the Enterprise product,” writes Colin Bryce for Cobry. “Email security in Google Workspace is market-leading on all tiers but if organizations want to take their email security to the next level then Google Workspace Enterprise makes it possible for them to use their own ‘S/MIME’ encryption certificates in Gmail. This means the impersonation of email accounts becomes almost impossible. Admins will also be able to query their Gmail logs by using the BigQuery cloud data warehousing service.”
Google Workspace offers administrators enterprise control over system configuration and application settings, all in a dashboard that you can use to streamline authentication, asset protection and operational control. Take control of the Google Apps login page to force two-factor authentication or have a company sign-in portal, customize session durations, or drill down to the nitty gritty of access. It’s designed to meet stringent privacy and security standards based on industry best practices, and gives you the tools to help meet your compliance and reporting requirements, too.
Bring it all together with a Google intranet
Ever heard about Google intranet solution? As your company and your workforce grows, you need a way to not only empower them through team collaboration, but to also help them communicate and stay informed. No matter how great Google Workspace is, and how well Google team collaboration is working, there will always be something missing in the company’s ecosystem unless you have an intranet.
An employee intranet provides the ability to collaborate, communicate and share with your colleagues, increasing productivity as a result. Consider it a portal to the world of your business, where employees can access all of these amazing productivity and team collaboration apps from one place (no more saving myriad bookmarks), while also hearing about the latest in the company via an Enterprise Social Network (ESN) and interacting with colleagues around the world via discussion channels, instant messaging and searchable logs.
Now imagine being able to access that intranet from anywhere, at any time – no need to be on the network, or having to be physically in the office. Imagine empowering your team collaboration through mobile apps, bringing cloud-based collaboration to your remote workers, centralizing all of your tools through one window.
Google intranet is the ultimate in customizing the Google Workspace – especially for enterprise-level businesses looking to take their tech stack into the 21st century. Want to know the best Google intranet solutions? Read our Intranet Comparison Guide.