G Suite administrators with organizations today are looking at how they can most efficiently carry out IT operations, including delivering of services to end users. Most are looking at cloud-based solutions to deliver on current IT infrastructure and service demands. This is not limited to corporate environments but also includes today’s educational institutions. When it comes to education environments, Google’s G Suite for Education tools provides tremendous benefits that allow IT administrators in the education realm to transform the way services are delivered to campuses and streamline the administration and technology utilized to deliver those services.
For IT administrators looking at leveraging the public cloud to deliver powerful cloud-driven resources to educators and students, let’s take a look at the top benefits for school IT administrators looking at G Suite for Education.
What is G Suite for Education?
What exactly is Google G Suite for Education? G Suite for Education is a comprehensive hosted suite of free cloud-driven services that provide productivity tools for teaching and learning. A few of the highlights with Google G Suite for Education tools include:
- Institution-wide email – Most are familiar with Google “G-Mail”. The G Suite for Education services feature powerful feature-rich email connectivity for faculty, staff, and students that is built on top of Google G Mail services.
- Shared calendars – G Suite for Education includes shared calendars that allow collaboration between faculty, staff, and students.
- Google Classroom – G Suite for Education Google Classroom makes it easy for learners and instructors alike to connect whether inside or outside of schools. Teachers can create assignments, send announcements, and instantly start class discussions. Students can share resources and interact real-time.
- Google Docs: spreadsheets, presentations, and forms
- Unlimited cloud storage
- Granular control for G Suite administrators – 24/7 support, eDiscovery tools, audit reports, security and administration controls, etc.
An additional offering from Google that is coming soon is G Suite Enterprise for Education that contains all the features of G Suite for Education, plus additional enterprise-grade capabilities that are especially suited for very large institutions.
Google G Suite for Education is a powerful ecosystem for instruction and learning that provides not only tools for educators and students but also for IT administrators tasked with delivering the requirements demanded by today’s education environments.
Quick and Easy Transition to the Cloud
For a school to successfully build out their own public cloud infrastructure with one of the major public cloud vendors, would be a major undertaking. Google has purpose-built G Suite for Education with educational institutions in mind. They have included all the tools and methodologies needed to make a quick and easy transition to cloud by way of the G Suite for Education environment.
IT administrators are provided with a virtually limitless amount of public cloud resources provided by Google. This includes a practically limitless number of users included with the G Suite for Education environment. Getting more users is as simple as requesting more through the G Suite Admin console. Additionally, G Suite administrators are not required to delete inactive users.
Google provides a number of prebuilt tools that allow for migrating on-premise data to the G Suite for Education cloud. This includes Google’s Data migration service and G Suite Migration for Microsoft Exchange. This allows for migrating email, contacts, calendars, and other information from on-premise resources up to the G Suite for Education cloud environment.
Data Protection Capabilities: Data Leak, Data Loss and Insider Threats Prevention
Cloud security is on the minds of everyone today, especially IT administrators who are responsible for administering organization data. Data is the central target of most attackers. Controlling data loss as well as data leakage is extremely crucial and prevents organizations from being liable for sensitive information that is lost or stolen. Google is bringing native support for data loss prevention for Gmail as well as Google Drive and also enterprise-grade access control with security key enforcement to their G Suite for Education offering.
In addition, the G Suite Enterprise for Education offering will include advanced mobile device management, Gmail log analysis in BigQuery, Integration for Gmail with compliant third-party archiving tools and also the new G Suite Security Center. The Google G Suite Security Center includes:
- File exposure threats – files that have been shared outside your domain and trigger DLP rules
- Authentication audit – message that don’t meet DMARC, DKIM, and SPF standards
- Encryption – Makes sure messages are encrypted using TLS
- Email Delivery Audit – determine whether whitelists allowed suspicious messages to make it through
- Spam and malware classification – analyze messages to see if they contain malware
- Whitelist evaluation – determine if whitelists have tagged delivered messages as spam or phishing
- Actionable security recommendations.
All the above-mentioned benefits to cloud data security and features/functionality that are coming soon to G Suite for Education is a tremendous value-add for IT administrators looking to migrate their institution to G Suite for Education services.
Meet Regulatory Compliance Requirements
Google is committed to facilitating operation for clients across many regulated industries, including education. Google contractually commits to maintaining adherence to ISO 27001, ISO 27018 and SOC 2/3 audits during the term of agreement with cloud services.
Google is also compliant with the U.S. Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). G Suite for Education services comply with FERPA. Also, Google complies with the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act of 1998 (COPPA). It contractually requires G Suite for Education schools to obtain parental consent that COPPA calls for to use their services. Google is committed to maintaining these and other compliance regulations throughout the terms of the agreements with G Suite for Education services.
IT administrators using Google G Suite for Education have access to Google Vault. Google Vault allows setting up archiving and retention for e-discovery or other compliance/regulatory needs. It can be used for legal holds, searches, exporting data, and audit reporting.
Google’s high standards on meeting requirements of regulatory compliance certainly alleviates a tremendous burden from IT administrators who are tasked with the very complex duties of meeting compliance regulations. By utilizing Google G Suite for Education services, IT administrators with educational institutions are able to much more easily meet these standards with confidence.
Easy Collaboration and Sharing
One of the tremendous advantages of educational institutions utilizing G Suite for Education is being able to take advantage of the powerful collaboration tools. Communication and collaboration are both key in today’s high-tech learning environments. Faculty and staff need efficient means of communicating with each other and with students.
Besides institution-wide email powered by Gmail, there are shared calendars as well as Google Classroom which bring tremendous benefits to communication on and off campus. Also, there are Google Team Drives that allow teams to collaborate with files and documents all of which can be managed by the administrator centrally.
G Suite Administrators can manage Team Drive users and their activity. This includes enabling or disabling users being able to create Team Drives, managing Team Drive membership, setting file sharing permissions, and restricting users from moving content outside of your domain. Google G Suite for Education has new DLP features coming soon as well to allow easily preventing sensitive data leakage or loss.
Capability to Store and Manage Large Amounts of Data and Make It Accessible Anywhere
Today’s data consumers are more mobile than ever before. Being as productive as possible means being able to access data from anywhere whether on campus, off campus, mobile, etc. G Suite for Education allows IT administrators with educational institutions to provide ease of data access to faculty, staff, and students alike
With G Suite for Education, if you have more than (5) users, each user has unlimited storage for Google Drive, Gmail, and Google Photos, which is a tremendous value to educational institutions. Also, the peace of mind that IT administrators with storage running on top of Google’s infrastructure pays dividends in uptime, resiliency, and troubleshooting time.
All of the G Suite for Education storage is centrally managed via G Suite for Education Admin Console and IT administrators have access to all of the world class features and security provided by Google’s G Suite environment.
Easy implementation and deployment
Google has defined recommended rollout and deployment strategy for deploying G Suite for Education. According to Google a typical deployment of G Suite for Education may run around 6 weeks as services are turned up or migrated. The following are five recommended best practices for easy implementation and deployment of G Suite for Education.
5 Best Practices for G Suite Deployment
- Syncing users from active directory (or source of truth) – Google provides tooling such as the Google cloud directory sync which is a one-way synchronization utility that synchronizes users from on-premise directory services such as Microsoft Active Directory up to the G Suite organization for your institution. Google password sync is another utility provided by Google to synchronize passwords from Active Directory to the G Suite cloud.
- Create an OU structure – apply settings to groups of users or Chromebook, delegate administration.
- Be Strategic about services turned on or off for users in G Suite.
- Set default retention policies in Google Vault – Google Vault is powerful e-discovery and archiving solution that allows retaining data for compliance.
- Delegate – setup customized admin roles. Delegating administrative duties to other qualified personnel or help desk staff allows much more efficient day to day operations of the G Suite for Education environment.
Access to Powerful G Suite Marketplace Applications
The G Suite Marketplace provides access to an almost limitless number third-party applications that can extend the default features and functionality of the G Suite environment. Especially when considering the areas of backup and security, educational institutions can add powerful backup and cybersecurity functionality to the already good G Suite infrastructure. By utilizing products such as Spinbackup, schools can extend the data protection and security capabilities of the G Suite environment significantly. Spinbackup offers:
- Automated Daily backups – protect end user data, email, calendar and other items from data loss as a result of accidental or intentional deletion.
- Malware and Ransomware protection – by providing powerful machine learning and AI capabilities, Spinbackup allows educational institutions to proactively defeat malware before it corrupts G Suite organization data.
- Insider Threat Detection – Spinbackup allows IT administrators to detect insider threats in a single dashboard that pinpoints dangerous end user activity.
- Blocking Dangerous Third-party applications – Spinbackup allows administrators to have even further control over third-party applications in the G Suite environment. Administrators can identify and block risky applications from accessing G Suite data.
- Sensitive Data Protection – this Spinbackup feature allows controlling data leakage by identifying sensitive data and remediating accessing to that sensitive data.
By deploying Spinbackup in the G Suite for Education environment, IT administrators are able to build on top of the existing features provided by Google and further extend the data loss, data leak, and cybersecurity functionality.
G Suite for Education is Free
We have already touched on this fact – G Suite for Education is a free offering to educational institutions! Schools who choose G Suite for Education have free access to world class Google infrastructure to run services and applications for faculty, staff, and students. When you consider the aspects of collaboration, communication, and other free services schools receive, G Suite for Education is one of those services that educational institutions ask why they are not already using it when seeing the benefits.
When you look at the costs of today’s public cloud offerings to businesses, even by vendors such as Google, unlimited cloud services and storage can represent a significant operational expense. By comparison, G Suite for Education gives schools that same tremendous value of services, applications, and unlimited storage for free.
G Suite for Education is revolutionizing the way educational institutions are communicating, collaborating, storing, and accessing data. By building educational infrastructure on top of the Google G Suite cloud, schools are able to empower faculty, staff, and students with the tools and communication necessary in today’s world of education. G Suite inherently provides native tools for data loss and prevention as well as cybersecurity.
However, by augmenting G Suite for Education with tools such as Spinbackup, schools are able to greatly extend the native G Suite functionality. Spinbackup provides the automated daily backups and cybersecurity features that round out the G Suite offering allowing educational institutions the ability to seamlessly migrate to the G Suite cloud with much greater confidence in their security and data protection.
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