Even before the astonishing events of the past year, cloud computing had firmly established itself as the future of computing, for a number of reasons. Cloud computing refers to services (apps) and storage that exist in the “cloud”, i.e. in the servers of a third party, rather than on a company server or on the hard disk of the individual user’s computer.
There are a number of advantages to this computing paradigm, some of which have been brought into sharp focus by the pandemic. These include data security, i.e., companies and individuals no longer have to worry about protecting their own servers, and also data can be re-downloaded at any time from the cloud if it becomes corrupted or has been attacked; economy, as the prices charged by large companies or cloud resellers are generally a fraction of the amount it would cost to maintain and protect company servers; and, most valuable all during the pandemic, the capacity for company workers to access data and work collaboratively from any device and any geographical location.
In order to maximise the potential of cloud-based computing, it’s crucial that the correct services are chosen; one of the advantages of Google’s workplace solution is that it allows all workers to be on the same page in terms of the apps and storage they are using, so there is no clash between home computers and devices using different software and file types. Google Workspace adoption (formerly known as G-suite) has increased during the pandemic, as it is a cost-effective and relatively simple way of bringing all company workers together under a single cloud solution.
The digital transformation Google Workspace offer comprises a number of storage solutions and apps to facilitate online collaboration: it includes Gmail for shared email communication, Google Drive for sharing data, Google Docs for collaborative working on the same document, Google Calendar to synchronise schedules, and a number of others.
Once a decision has been made on Google Workspace adoption, clearly companies do not wish laboriously to transfer all data piecemeal; fortunately there are many excellent Google Workspace migration tools that can seamlessly transfer data across to the new services. It’s important to choose the correct one for your needs, as some users have found that certain tools can make Workspace migration very slow, and you don’t want to stand down your workers for any lengthy period whilst data is migrated.
Once you have chosen your preferred tool to undertake your Google Workspace migration, matters should be relatively simple. You can designate any data (e.g. address lists, calendars, documents) that you want to be uploaded to Workspace and it will be automatically downloaded for you. For example, if you have been using Microsoft products, you’ll probably want to undertake a Workspace migration for Microsoft Outlook and for all your Microsoft Office documents: Google provides the facility for this in their own toolkit. You can also bring in any Google services you are already using, for example you might wish to undertake a Gmail to Workspace migration, uniting a number of Gmail accounts in your Workspace.
At present these Google Workspace solutions are only taking a small share of the market (as of April 2020, 6 million business users, compared to the Microsoft Office 365’s 200 million), but as awareness grows of the potential of the advanced Google Workspace, and as more and more companies switch to permanent remote working in the “new normal”, it is expected that these numbers will rise rapidly.