- by David Quiram
Disaster Recovery isn't just for the big companies anymore. Everyone needs to worry about Disaster's striking their business, be it fire, flood, riot, earthquake, or John Doe spilling coffee on a critical system component. Before the DR methods and systems were only really cost effective for the larger companies. Having an offsite location for a hot site, data storage, spare systems, and the staff to handle them were all out of reach for the smaller and mid-sized businesses. As the technologies grow and cloud computing is becoming more prevalent in the everyday usage, there are great opportunities for Disaster Recovery for the smaller businesses. Google Apps and Gmail is one such technology that can be leveraged.
Gmail provides a platform which fits right into the DR mindset. Normally a small business has two choices for email options:
A Small Business Server providing Exchange - located on site. The cost for staffing to maintain it, power to supply it, licensing, and onsite risk if something happens to the building. It can be backed up to tape, but can most small businesses handle a 8 hour downtime for restoring in today's markets?
Host it at the ISP or other third party - hosted off site, limited control to the email and the risk that the ISP isn't properly covered in a DR event.
Gmail is the new option. It allows for a business to host their email off site, have control of the email, and the users know it is part of a system which is designed for a disaster event.
Rajen Sheth, Senior Product Manager, Google Apps stated in his blog:
"For Google Apps customers, our RPO (Recovery Point Objective) design target is zero, and our RTO (Recovery Time Objective) design target is instant failover. We do this through live or synchronous replication: every action you take in Gmail is simultaneously replicated in two data centers at once, so that if one data center fails, we nearly instantly transfer your data over to the other one that's also been reflecting your actions."
This is done by having multiple datacenters in multiple countries all housing data and services. Each datacenter is actively involved in the load balancing of Google Apps/Gmail services so there is no spin up time. The switch over from one to another is instantaneous and shouldn't even be noticed by the user.
So you can have enterprise level email services and storage for a small business that is accessible anywhere and compatible with most mobile phones! All within in the price range of smaller business budgets! I may be a geek, but that is really cool. I worried a lot about some smaller clients who didn't have a lot of leeway in their budget for additional IT costs, but who needed to stay in business no matter what or families would go hungry. With Google Apps/Gmail it is now a reality. Fire burns the building down, No problem. Email everyone in the company from your phone as you watch the Firemen put out the blaze. You still have email capability, your emails, contacts, calendars, are all safe off site in the cloud.
Take the next step and get involved in the Postini services offered by Google and you can have your email archived and search able as well. All while still being off site and protected by an immense network designed to deal with multiple site failures! So if you have requirements for holding information for years due to your business, it can be safely archived through Postini.
Now for those paranoid types out there (yes you) there are concerns about hosting your business or personal data in the cloud for fears of theft or exposure. Some think that Google readily capitulates to the government and other requests for data. I read through the privacy statements and checked on the links for the report on number of requests for information http://www.google.com/governmentrequests/ .Google got a lot of requests for data (about 10 a day) for a year period last year. But as stated in the FAQ provided at the site
"They don’t indicate whether we complied with a request for data in any way. When we receive a request for user information, we review it carefully and only provide information within the scope and authority of the request. We may refuse to produce information or try to narrow the request in some cases. "
What I am trying to get to is that Google does care about your privacy and your data. This is mentioned on most of the Google Apps pages. Google seems to have a greater respect for privacy than Facebook, and look how many people still use Facebook.
So if email is critical to your business success and having it go down for even a few minutes makes a difference in a good day or a bad day, then Gmail is a budget friendly option. It will give you access to a great email service with a zero downtime RPO/RTO while maintaining security of your information. And let’s face it; Google isn't going to go under anytime soon. I think that Google has reached that "Too big to fail" status for the world. So it will be there, and you data will be too.
People tell us all the time that they’re getting more and more mail and often feel overwhelmed by it all. We know what you mean—here at Google we run on email. Our inboxes are slammed with hundreds, sometimes thousands of messages a day—mail from colleagues, from lists, about appointments and automated mail that’s often not important. It’s time-consuming to figure out what needs to be read and what needs a reply. Today, we’re happy to introduce Priority Inbox (in beta)—an experimental new way of taking on information overload in Gmail.
I don't know about you, but I hate getting email. Well, maybe just from certain people. This feature has finally rolled out to the masses, including that of Google Apps users. It's a dream to use.
If any conversation comes in that you'd prefer to be grouped into the Priority Inbox, you can just hit the yellow icon and then conversation will now be shown as such. If you get inundated with messages and you find it hard to sift through the not-so-important ones, this is completely idea.
Shh, Domino's Pizza deal just came into my Priority box, success!
by Jon Pentecost
When properly configured, Postini is the best protection available for businesses from unwanted items introduced through E-mail. Among many other benefits, the top two things that Postini can immediately protect business from are SPAM (unsolicited commercial E-mails) and viruses.
Postini has SPAM filtering that is second to none. It is able to correctly filter many items that would make it through other filters and also has significantly less false-positives (incorrectly labeling a desired E-mail as SPAM) than other SPAM filters available. Granted, no SPAM filter is perfect and some E-mails are marked as SPAM that are not and other SPAM E-mails do make it through the Postini system, but there are also ways to prevent these from happening with the same types of E-mails. You are able to add an E-mail address as a “Safe Sender” in the Postini settings of your E-mail account so that it will never be blocked. You can also submit the headers of an E-mail that is SPAM that makes it through to increase the filtering capabilities of Postini for prevention in the future of that type of SPAM of getting to your Inbox.
Viruses are also blocked with excellent success. If an E-mail has a known virus in it, you may never even see it (depending on the settings your Administrator has set for Postini). You still need to have anti-virus software installed on your computer because E-mail is not the only way that you can receive a virus, but with the Postini service, your chances of getting a virus through E-mail is drastically reduced. Similar to SPAM, no filter is perfect and you could receive a virus in an E-mail sent to you but your chances of getting a virus without Postini is much higher than getting one that is not correctly filtered.
Besides your own personal settings for E-mail, there are also settings that your Administrator can configure for your entire E-mail domain. You may not even realize how much SPAM and viruses are even blocked because your Administrator can place additional filters that will keep E-mails from even reaching your personal Postini account and are rejected immediately. Along with setting additional filters, your Administrator has many other things that can be used for protecting your systems from unwanted E-mail. In order to see additional information about Postini or to see about adding Postini for your E-mail system, please visit the Mosaic Technology website at http://www.mosaictechnology.com. Better yet, Trigon Technology can complete the implementation for you with our trained Engineers that provide IT Support to the Greater Philadelphia Area.