FlashPanel Customer Survey: Chromebooks and Hangouts Surging, Google Apps Admin Best Practices and How Google’s Channel Has Accelerated Cloud Adoption

Eight years after its inception, Google Apps stands as a force to be reckoned with. More organizations are migrating away from on-premises legacy systems and trading up to the cloud, spurring Google to invest more energy into the suite every year. In the past few months alone, we’ve seen major upgrades from Google like completely overhauled spreadsheets, a new conferencing system and additional API offerings, which have allowed developers like BetterCloud to provide even more functionality to our customers. Clearly, the suite is evolving and cloud services brokerages and Google Apps resellers have stepped up to the plate to bring Google Apps to organizations around the world.

The ecosystem is complicated, involving many moving parts – Google, partners, third-party vendors and customers – but there is very little data on the growth, challenges, opportunities and success of the ecosystem as a whole. That’s why we’ve made a concerted effort to survey our customers and release statistics surrounding the health and evolution of the Google Apps ecosystem.

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Why Your IT Department Needs to Embrace Shadow IT

shadow ITAs the provider of an enterprise security SaaS application, we know that the IT landscape is changing at an increasingly rapid pace. And, we’ve been hearing more and more from concerned IT administrators who worry about their users installing and using unapproved SaaS products. According to a recent Frost & Sullivan survey produced in conjunction with the Cloud Alliance for Google Apps, nearly two-thirds of end users say they choose and install their own applications in the workplace.

While this so-called shadow IT leaves some IT admins anxious over possible security breaches, another Frost survey put out in November 2013 finds that employees turn to shadow IT simply to gain efficiency (malevolence usually isn’t in play). In fact, the same study notes that IT employees are even likelier to use unapproved SaaS applications than their non-IT counterparts. Clearly, goals and reality are misaligned.

As an IT administrator, the majority of today’s “best practices” tell you to squash … Read more →

Is Google Apps Backup Right for Your Organization?

cloud-backup-image

As big supporters of living and working in the cloud, we often name the ability to work from anywhere as the greatest benefit of using Google Apps. But what happens when you can’t work from anywhere because your data has been lost or compromised? Data loss, a very real threat to any business operated in the cloud, is a concern we’re hearing more and more from our customers so I wanted to address it on our blog.

While Google goes to great lengths to backup several versions of your data, the company can’t protect you against intentional or accidental data loss, an obvious risk to your business, which can cost real money and eat up considerable IT resources. And while Google Vault, Google’s own archiving and eDiscovery tool, is useful for Gmail and chat recovery, it’s not meant to be used as a Google Apps backup mechanism. And with Google Apps’ broad range of functionality, your organization likely needs to backup all data in your domain – here’s why.

Protection from Malicious Users

A huge benefit of using Google Apps and … Read more →

5 Predictions for Google Apps in 2014

20142013 was an eventful year for Google Apps. A number of notable organizations moved to Google, including Whirlpool, the U.S. Army and the City of Boston, Google Hangouts were revamped and reintroduced as a unified communications system and, most recently, Google Sheets was rebuilt from the ground up.

Google Apps has certainly seen tremendous growth in terms of adoption and functionality and we expect 2014 to be an even bigger year for the platform. Here are our top 5 predictions for 2014.

1. Drive matures in a major way and more organizations move away from Microsoft Office

Adoption of the cloud is fully underway with many organizations even implementing a cloud-first IT strategy. It’s no longer a question of “if,” but “when” the market reaches 100% cloud adoption. In 2013, a number of huge corporations and government entities moved to Google Apps, showing that the platform is truly capable of handling a wide array of use cases, requirements and security concerns.

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The Changing Value Proposition of the Modern Cloud

The following is a summary of a contributed article, which originally appeared on VentureBeat. Read the full article here.

The cloud offers many benefits, but since 2000 there have been three predominant value propositions.

In the early to mid 2000s, companies moved to the cloud for cost savings. Cloud software was cheaper to implement, upkeep and upgrade. But, as the cloud grew more sophisticated and commonplace, software became commoditized and competing on cost alone was impossible. By the mid 2000s to 2010, allowing users to work from anywhere was the cloud’s most appealing benefit. The rise of smartphones and the prevalence of high speed wireless internet encouraged this trend.

Today, working from anywhere is a given in most companies. The cloud’s value proposition today comes from the ability to integrate multiple disparate SaaS applications either through out of the box connections, custom integrations or with the help of a third-party tool.

For more on the cloud’s changing value proposition, read the full article below.

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I’ve promoted cloud … Read more →

Your Guide to the Best Google Apps Events

Calendar_0Tomorrow is BetterCloud’s two-year anniversary and over the last two years we’ve established close relationships with many of our customers, some of whom have taken on very active and outspoken roles in the Google Apps administrator community.

While it’s encouraging to see some admins willing to share (and in some cases establish) best practices for operating on Google Apps, it’s typically the same fifty to sixty participating in forums, online communities and speaking at local and regional events.

We think there’s a huge opportunity and need for more admins to share their best practices for managing, securing and administering a Google Apps domain. After all, Google is constantly releasing new features and products that no one in the enterprise has seen before. Take for instance the launch of Google+ three years ago. When the new social network came out it didn’t come with a set of best practices for the enterprise – and there’s still really no set formula for deploying Google+ in a business or EDU environment. We need more active involvement from the community of Google Apps administrators to … Read more →

BetterCloud Raises $6 Million to Bring IT Management and Security Suite to the Cloud Stack

BetterCloud-Logo-900-pxAfter nearly two years of focusing solely on Google Apps, we’ve decided to expand our vision beyond Apps and to the cloud at large. While organizations initially migrate to the cloud to gain collaboration, cost savings and scalability, once there they often find a lack of management and security capabilities. Cloud enabled companies are therefore forced to cobble together multiple management and security tools from various vendors or even build their own custom solutions to simply oversee the applications they rely on every day.

Today, we’re aiming to solve this dilemma by providing a single pane through which IT administrators can manage and secure their entire cloud application stack. To help us do so, we’ve closed a $6 million Series B round of funding from existing investors including Flybridge Capital Partners, Greycroft Partners, TriBeCa Venture Partners and BLH Venture Partners, bringing our total investment to $13.25 million.

This latest investment will go towards growing our existing engineering team to accelerate Google Apps development while also adding a new team dedicated to extending FlashPanel’s functionality to other leading cloud applications.

Remaining Focused on … Read more →

FlashPanel Graduates From Beta (Email to the BetterCloud Team)

Today marks a major milestone in BetterCloud’s history – we’ve taken the beta tag off of FlashPanel. Earlier this morning I wrote an email to the team here to reflect a little (or a lot) on what the last two years have been like and what we can look forward to in the coming months and years. Because there are so many people who have supported us along the way (customers, partners, investors, peers, family, friends or just those rooting for us) I thought it would be worthwhile to publish the internal email on our blog. It’s long, and if you’d prefer to get the details about the launch of our enterprise plans, you can check out the press release here. We’re looking forward to this next chapter.

Team -

Today is an important day in our company’s short, yet very eventful, history. Taking the beta tag off of FlashPanel is a big move for us. Literally overnight we’ve changed how BetterCloud is viewed by our customers, our partners, our peers and the market as a whole. In 14 months, we’ve gone from a … Read more →

Announcing New Management Tools for Google Apps Resellers

Prior to founding BetterCloud, a number of team members were working at a large Google Apps reseller. It was there that we learned the specific needs of each party in the Google Apps ecosystem: end users, admins and resellers.

Once we founded BetterCloud, we initially set out to meet the needs of IT admins, which we felt were the most pressing. Admins were asking for everything from user management, Drive security and much more, so we delivered this functionality with FlashPanel.

To help broaden the distribution of FlashPanel, we began working with Google Apps resellers from around the world. We spent a considerable amount of time training resellers on FlashPanel and ended up speaking with dozens of deployment and support specialists regarding the application’s functionality and Google Apps account management in general.

Through these interactions we realized that many of the needs we ourselves had back in our reseller days were still prevalent. In fact, as the resellers’ businesses matured over the years – specifically in the number of domains they were managing – the needs became even more urgent.

So about six months ago we began … Read more →

Google Apps Provides the Critical Foundation for a Growing Cloud Application Stack

As our user base has steadily grown over the last year, we’ve made a concerted effort to stay in touch with as many customers as possible. Whether that’s through one on one training sessions, phone calls or our quarterly surveys, the success of BetterCloud is directly linked to the relationships we have with our expanding customer base. While ideally we’d like to personally call every FlashPanel customer, nearly 30,000 IT admins, that’s simply not possible. Instead, we’ve found the most efficient way to garner large scale and immediate feedback on our product and cloud adoption is through surveys like this one.

In this survey, we chose to focus on three key areas:

Profiling the Customer Mapping Out the Cloud Application Stack FlashPanel’s Role in Replacing Legacy Technologies

And here are some of the highlights:

The challenges of moving 100% to the cloud are becoming more surmountable and the benefits of doing so have evolved beyond cost considerations. According to customers surveyed, the length of time it will take before we reach full cloud adoption is not far off.

In a very short period, Google Apps has … Read more →