Category: Google Apps for Government

Beware of Marketplace Apps on the Move


Last week, Google announced that the Google Apps Marketplace was open for business to all Google Apps users, not just administrators.

While this move opens up a wide range of personal productivity applications to Google Apps users, it is not without risks.

  • Your users can now commit you to paid apps and services that you may not want as part of your environment.
  • Apps may require permissions to data in your Google Apps environment that needs to be, or you want to be, private and secure.
  • Not all apps are from well-known vendors.

As we have written in the past, third party apps can present a risk to your data and your business.  And while Bring-Your-Own-App (BYOA) can be beneficial to staff efficiency and effectiveness, Google Apps administrators should careful and should understand the security health of the domain.

As such, consider turning off marketplace access to all users.  (Customers with a support plan: Ask us and we will do this for you).

We also recommend that you consider a Google Apps Security Health Check (special offer through Sept 30th) to ensure that Marketplace, mobile, and other third party apps are not already posing a risk.


If your current Google Apps reseller is not providing guidance on best practices, security and other important issues, contact us.  We would love to have you join us as a client. 

 

 

 

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Drive vs Docs = New Google URLs

google drive
Google Drive and Google Docs are no longer the same thing.  As Google expanded the file service capabilities of Drive, Docs and Drive were separated to better reflect Docs as the office productivity tools and Drive as the secure file service.

Recently, Google made changes to ensure this distinction is evident in the URLs we use to access these services.

  • drive.google.com still points to Google Drive, and drive.google.com/a/<domain> still takes you to your Google Drive page
  • docs.google.com will soon point to a new Google Docs homepage that takes you directly to the Google Doc apps

We recommend updating your bookmarks as well as your custom URL mappings.

If you need a hand with your custom URL mappings, please let us know.

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Restore Google Drive Files Offers Some (but not enough?) Protection

google drive
Among the myriad of new features and upgrades announced at Google I/O this week, Google added the ability to restore users’ Drive files that have been deleted from the Trash folder.

While offering some protection, the feature is limited in its scope.

  • You cannot restore individual files; you can only restore all files deleted within a date range you provide.  The minimum date range is 1 day (24 hours).
  • You can only restore files for individual users, one at a time.
  • You can only restore files that were deleted from Trash within 25 days.
  • When restoring files, the permissions are not restored.  Only the user will have access to the files.

With these limitations, we do not expect the ability to restore a user’s Google Drive files will be of great use to most organizations.  With a limited retention period and lack of granularity, the tool provides a big shovel when most users need a spoon.

The solution also depends on users’ ability to recover information from the Trash folder, a process we find difficult at times due to the limited ability to search Trash in Drive.

True backup/recovery solutions give users and administrators that critical features that deliver more usability and effectiveness:

  • Flexible retention:  Allow organizations to implement policies related document and records management, including extended retention and removal of data past retention windows.
  • File-Level / Item-Level Restore: Most data loss and restore needs result from human error or action and impact fewer than 5 files.  Acceptable restore capabilities include the ability to restore individual files (or entire accounts) and should include the ability to select file by version or point in time.
  • Protect Meta Data:  Protect the meta data as well as the files themselves.  File ownership, permissions, etc. should be preserved and recoverable with the file.
  • Data Export:  Provide the ability to export data so that it may be migrated to other accounts and/or other systems.
  • Administrative Control:  Identify and allow backup/restore administrators that are not full domain administrators.

Absent many of these features, the ability within Google Apps to restore a user’s Drive files is a limited feature that will not meet most organizations’ needs for data protection.

Third party backup/restore solutions are still a necessary and appropriate component of a robust Google Apps environment.

Feel free to contact us if you would like to explore backup/recovery options and solutions.

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