Google Workspace administrators today are seeking efficient ways to perform IT operations and deliver services to end-users in organizations. 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. Google’s Google Workspace for Education tools provides significant benefits in education environments. These tools allow IT administrators to transform service delivery on campuses and streamline administrative tasks.
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Let’s explore the key benefits of G Suite for Education for school IT administrators who want to utilize the public cloud to provide educators and students with powerful cloud-based resources.
Table of Contents
What is Google Workspace for Education?
What exactly is Google Workspace 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 Google Workspace for Education tools include:
- Institution-wide email – Most are familiar with Google “G-Mail”. G Suite for Education offers robust email connectivity for faculty, staff, and students, utilizing Google’s powerful 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.
Additionally, Google is launching Google Workspace Enterprise for Education. This product includes all the features of G Suite for Education, plus extra enterprise-grade capabilities. These capabilities are tailored for large institutions.
Google’s G Suite for Education is a robust ecosystem designed for instruction and learning. It offers a wide range of tools not only for educators and students but also for IT administrators responsible for meeting the demands of modern education environments.
Quick and Easy Transition to the Cloud
For a school to successfully build out its own public cloud infrastructure with one of the major public cloud vendors, would be a major undertaking. Google has a 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 the 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 Google Workspace Admin console. Additionally, G Suite administrators are not required to delete inactive users.
Google provides a number of pre-built 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 G Suite administrators who are responsible for administering organization data. Data is the central target of most attackers. Preventing 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 introducing data loss prevention and enterprise-grade access control for Gmail, Google Drive and G Suite for Education. Security key enforcement will be included.
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 doesn’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.
The combination of the mentioned benefits, cloud data security in G Suite for Education provides significant value for IT administrators. The rich features and functionality further enhance the value proposition, making it a compelling choice for institutions considering migration to these services.
Meet Regulatory Compliance Requirements
Google is committed to facilitating operations 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 the agreement with cloud services.
Google is also compliant with the U.S. Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). Google Workspace for Education services complies 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 Google Workspace 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 commitment to meeting regulatory compliance requirements greatly relieves the burden on IT administrators responsible for ensuring compliance. This alleviation is particularly significant considering the complex nature of compliance regulations. By utilizing Google G Suite for Education services, IT administrators with educational institutions are able to 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.
In addition to Gmail for institution-wide email, shared calendars and Google Classroom offer tremendous communication benefits 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 granting or revoking the ability for users to create Team Drives, managing membership in Team Drives, configuring file-sharing permissions, and preventing users from transferring content outside of your domain. Google Workspace 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
In G Suite for Education, when you have more than (5) users, each user benefits from unlimited storage for Google Drive, Gmail, and Google Photos. This unlimited storage offering is highly valuable for 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 Google Workspace 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 the recommended rollout and deployment strategy for deploying Google Workspace 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 Google Workspace Deployment
- Syncing users from the 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 Google Workspace 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, and delegate administration.
- Be Strategic about services turned on or off for users in Google Workspace.
- Set default retention policies in Google Vault. Google Vault is a powerful e-discovery and archiving solution that allows for retaining data for compliance.
- Delegate – set up customized admin roles. Delegating administrative duties to qualified personnel or help desk staff greatly enhances the efficiency of day-to-day operations in the G Suite for Education environment.
Access to Powerful Google Workspace Marketplace Applications
The Google Workspace Marketplace provides access to an almost limitless number of third-party applications that can extend the default features and functionality of the G Suite environment. Educational institutions can significantly enhance the already robust Google Workspace infrastructure by incorporating powerful backup and cybersecurity functionality, particularly in the areas of backup and security.
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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 the detection of 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 that sensitive data.
- Admin account protection – this is important since all the access to the information is in the hands of an admin.
By deploying Spinbackup in the G Suite for Education environment, IT administrators can leverage and build upon the existing features offered by Google. This allows them to further extend the data loss, data leak, and cybersecurity functionality.
Google Workspace for Education is Free
We have already touched on this fact – G Suite for Education is a free offering to educational institutions! Schools that opt for Google Workspace for Education gain free access to Google’s top-tier infrastructure. This enables them to run services and applications seamlessly for faculty, staff, and students.
When it comes to collaboration, communication, and the availability of other free services, G Suite for Education stands out. Many educational institutions wonder why they haven’t already embraced it when they witness its numerous benefits.
Today, the costs associated with public cloud offerings, including those provided by vendors like Google, can be substantial for businesses. Unlimited cloud services and storage, in particular, can result in significant operational expenses. By comparison, G Suite for Education gives schools that same tremendous value of services, applications, and unlimited storage space for free.
Google Workspace for Education is revolutionizing the way educational institutions are communicating, collaborating, storing, and access data. Schools can empower faculty, staff, and students by building their educational infrastructure on the Google G Suite cloud. This allows them to provide the necessary tools and communication capabilities required in today’s world of education. G Suite inherently provides native tools for data loss and prevention as well as cybersecurity.
However, by incorporating tools like Spinbackup, schools can significantly enhance the existing functionality of G Suite for Education. Spinbackup enhances the G Suite offering by providing automated daily backups and cybersecurity features. This enables educational institutions to migrate to the G Suite cloud with enhanced confidence in their data protection and security.