Whether you are in G Suite and planning a move to its replacement, the new Google Workspace platform, or if you are considering joining, what are the benefits of having a partner? There is no need to go through a partner as many Google clients deal directly with Google. While you can certainly do fine without a partner, there are several things to consider if you want to optimize your usage of the platform. Note that this is different than the ‘Google Partners’ program, which is geared towards advertising. Let’s start with the basics:

What is a Google Workspace Partner?

Firstly, if you choose the official Google option, the partner needs to be certified with Google. There are a number of companies that charge for this service, but you do not need to go that route. Once you opt to purchase the subscriptions for Workspace, they become your vendor. If you use a Managed IT Services company that provides Vendor Management, they will guide you through all aspects of adopting the platform, from migration to full security. Also, with this higher-level of service, they will manage the relationship with Google, not you.

What Qualifies you as a Google Workspace Partner?

These are the key components you need in a Google Workspace Partner:

1) A local IT company that you trust for a fast response. Much ongoing IT work is done remotely by the IT HelpDesk, but having the availability of quick onsite service is invaluable, not only for those issues which require in-person trouble shooting and repair, but face to face encounters build better relationships. Any client should visit the offices of their IT company at least once.

2) An IT team that is Google Workspace Certified. Simply put, you don’t want an IT provider that is learning at the same time you are. They should have a thorough knowledge of the Workspace Platform as well as G Suite which came before but should have productive relationships with their counterparts at Google.

3) An IT team that is dedicated for your office, that knows your business and your practices
You want the same technicians (or their dedicated alternates), whether remote or onsite, to
be the faces or voices you encounter. Every time. There is nothing more frustrating than a tech who
has to ‘get up to speed’ on your infrastructure and procedures. You need to know them, and they
need to know you.

4) Your IT specialists need to be capable of training your staff to use the Workspace Platform. Nobody loves a new learning curve. Within the IT Support Los Angeles Community, a top-notch IT provider knows that it saves you both time and money if they train your people well. You should never have a new platform like this just thrown at you with a feeble “Good luck!”

5) They will keep you updated on new features and changes to apps
Many of these updates come in the form of email notifications, but also by phone or even in person. Your quality IT provider doesn’t want anything to come as a surprise to you. Plus, since they know all
about how you do things, they know what new apps and features are going to best help you.

6) Your IT team MUST specialize in data-loss prevention and cloud security (an MSP does this), and specifically in G suite security, which is the springboard for Workspace. This is a MUST. Your data is the life’s blood of your business and must be protected with both reliable local and cloud backups. Since Workspace is a cloud-based platform, it is imperative.

It is highly recommended that you do employ your IT provider as your partner. If you find that they know little or nothing about this exciting new Google platform, you may want to consider what else they don’t know. If they are of no help yet you choose to keep rather than graduating to a firm with more comprehensive knowledge and experience, then you will be on your own dealing with Google, which is not a problem, but it’s certainly not as good as having someone you trust do it for you.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What is Workspace in Google Drive?

A:  It is a separate entity from the new Google Workspace Platform: workspaces in Google Drive are a handy way to organize files in one place for much quicker access – rather than searching Google Drive for them.

Q: What is G Suite SSO?

A: SSO (Single Sign-On) is available on paid plans only, and is set up by the workspace owners or highest level administrators to enable all members of a workspace group to sign into various apps using their G Suite accounts.

Q: How do I enable SSO on Google Workspace?

A:  This is an administrative function. Follow these steps (from HERE) as outlined by Google:
1) Sign in to your Google Admin console.  Sign in using your administrator account (does not end in @gmail.com).
2) Once on the home page, go to Security.
3) Click ‘Set up single sign-on (SSO) with a third party IdP’.
4) Click ‘Add SSO profile’.
5) Check the ‘Set up SSO with third-party identity provider’ box.
6) Enter the following URLs to your third-party IdP:
A) Sign-in page URL: The page where users sign in to your system and Google Workspace.
B) Sign-out page URL: The page where users are redirected to after signing off.
Note: All URLs must be entered and must use HTTPS, for example https://sso.domain.com.

Q: How do Google Workspaces work?

A: When you sign up for your new Workspace, you'll gain access to a set of integrated apps that work together seamlessly. For instance, you can receive a message in Gmail and instantly convert it into a Calendar event. The new User Interface (UI) basically allows you access all the apps you need while in any app within the workspace. Google answers many of the questions in their own FAQs.

Q: Can I convert my Gmail to G Suite?

A:  Yes, and it is easily done: Just follow the steps provided by Google Support HERE.