The Google Apps survey had 12 responses representing 11 different legal aid programs. Results were posted to the LSTech list and the Google Apps Group. Contact David Bonebrake (David@lsntap.org) or Eva Reffel (Eva@lsntap.org) for the survey results.
We’ll go through and do around an hour and a half of presenting and discussing Google apps this morning, but I think there’s a few important points that I’m hoping you’ll take away from the session: First, if you’re struggling keeping up with your current IT infrastructure – whether that’s because your existing tech staff is stretched too thin or because the economic downturn means you don’t have the resources necessary to put together a type of system you really need –then it really makes sense to at least give Google Apps a good look. 2. Although you definitely need to research thoroughly research whether Google apps makes sense for you before migrating over, I think it’s important to note that Google Apps is not just a fad and it’s not something that hasn’t been tested by the legal aid community. That’s part of the reason why we did the Google apps survey. It shows that there’s programs that have use Google Apps for close to two years and haven’t experienced any of the security issues, problems with data loss or data being compromised, that some skeptics predicted would happen to Google Apps users when Google apps initially launched.
Two videos (and one audio clip) on cloud computing: Cloud Computing in Plaint English: http://www.commoncraft.com/cloud-computing-video Google Apps Intro: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kJT3pagjd8s May 13 th NPR Piece: http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=126791939
One of the most compelling reasons to switch to Google Apps is the cost-savings As some of you may know, Google provides enhanced version of the Google Apps service free to 501(c)(3) nonprofits so long as they have less than 3000 users. that's a great deal for the legal aid community. [Survey info – all programs that have done a cost savings analysis cite some cost savings or significant cost savings.] That leads to the question, especially if you're just beginning to consider whether Google Apps is right for your program, is for how long will Google continue to provide the discount. We can't know with 100% certainty that Google will continue to provide Google apps for free, but we do know that when Google has been asked about it they’ve made some pretty strong indications that it's going to continue the discount for the foreseeable future. At the 2009 NTEN conference in California, representatives from Google Apps were asked about this during a session they moderated. There they indicated that they had no forseeable plans to charge nonprofits for the use of Google apps. Google Apps has been free for nonprofits since late 2007.
I sort of cringed after I submitted my proposal with the term coolness-factor, but I really think having cool technology products available to your staff is important. If people like a product and are excited about it, they’re going to explore what features are available and get the most out of it. They’re also going to tell other users about and promote better use of it across the organization. I think that’s something that can really happen with Google. Google has usability down, so people understand how to use a product and enjoy the experience of using it. The other part of what makes Google cool is innovation. Users really like well-implemented innovations in their product, and again, I think Google does this really well. Because the Google service is hosted on Google’s servers, they can have very quick innovation cycles. You don’t have to wait for Google Apps 2011 or Google App Pro 2012 to get new features: they’re added to everyone’s system as soon as they’re ready. And for the most part this approach has worked out really well. I can say Google definitely seems more conservative with Google Apps than with the consumer products so they typically don’t add new features until the bugs are really worked out. They’ve never released anything into Google Apps that is dangerous or might cause data to be compromised. Compare that to Facebook that seemingly does that every week.
With GApps you get Gmail for your programs e-mail (and that can be accessed through the GMail Web client and also through desktop e-mail clients like Outlook and Thunderbird); you also get Google calendar (which again can be accessed through the Web and through desktop clients); there’s Google docs which is a online office suite that includes software to create documents, spreadsheets, and presentations – so think Microsoft Office Lite; Sites is a tool for creating wiki’s and other simple websites theat can be open to the public or entirely private for users of your organization or even just certain subset of users within the organization; Contacts keeps track of your contacts and allows them to be shared with different folks in your program; Start page is a lot like iGoogle if you’re familiar with that, the nice thing about the start page is that it’s completely customizable and extensible, so Steven will talk towards the end of our session about specific legal aid gadgets that have been developed and that integrate seamlessly into any Google apps start page to add some nice legal aid- specific functionality; and finally you have YouTube for you organization, so if you have things like recorded videos or recorded screencasts from training you’ve, you can post those to a private version of YouTube set up in Google apps that is only accessible by people in your organization.
Not surprisingly, Google apps does really well with search. Google uses its powerful search algorithm to return very accurate results within seconds. This is very useful within Gmail where you might be searching through gigabytes and gigabytes of emails, but there is also a powerful Google search for your calendar, any materials you’ve prepared within Google Docs, and your Intranet sites you prepare in Google Sites. The nice thing with Google Apps is that everything you add there is indexed by a powerful search tool. So the more documents you add, the longer you use Gmail and your calendar, the better search works. Very few of us have that type of search Google offers in our existing IT solutions.
Is there any better for online collaboration that Google Docs? Your email inbox was never designed to be a document collaboration tool. If you send a document to 3 different people, that creates potentially three different versions of the document. Then you run the risk of people editing the wrong ones. It can become a real problem. Google Docs stores one version of the document on its server. The person who creates the document just invites the collaborators in. They work online and then the new version is saved. The older versions are kept in case you need go back and revise. This works for documents, spreadsheets, and presentations.
One question we’ve received is whether you need to be a Gmail user in order to collaborate on Google Docs. The answer to that is actually no, you don’t. You need a Google Account but not a Gmail account. You just request a Google Account for your existing email address. When Google asks you to pick a screenname for your Google account and you choose “email@example.com” and then people can easily share Google Docs with you by typing in your existing email account in the share box.
SSL stands for Secure Socket Layer. It’s an encryption protocol that’s used all over the web to protect your information so that others cannot access your information as it’s sent from one point on the Internet to another. Data spying over an unsecure wireless network (like those often in coffee shops or hotels) is rather common. Using SSL helps protect data from being snooped by third parties and can be turned on automatically for all users in Google Apps.
Spam filtering is just fantastic in Gmail. NTAP was an early adopter of Google Apps, we’ve used it for 2.5 years. We have no one who has an extpertise on fighting spam – we have no budget for spam fighting – and we have essentialyl no spam ever. There are occasional discussions on the LSTech list about Barricuda appliances and paying annual feels to block spam. And the nice thing about Google is that’s absolutely free, included with your service and it works amazingly well. Out of sight, out of mind.
Google integrates very well with mobile devices, which is becoming increasingly important. The integration is effective on Blackberry, iPhone, and Android smartphones. It’s also a pretty robust integration. You can view and edit Google Docs through many smartphones. Email, calendar, and contacts all work very well.
Disaster recovery is a very important issue - if you are an LSC-funded program, you are now required to have a disaster recovery plan in place. Google Apps makes disaster recovery planning significantly easier. It does so because all data stored on Google Apps is stored offsite and backed up on duplicate servers. So if you’re on Google Apps and a disaster strikes, you should lose no data you’re keeping on Google. It’s also easy to continue operations because Google Apps is stored in the cloud. Just find a working internet connection and you will have access to your email, contacts, word processing, calendar, and other items essential to continuing operations. Make sure you backup your Google Apps data locally as an extra precaution.
Can we do better than Google in terms of security? Google Apps has a large team of very talented engineers working constantly to protect data stored on Google Apps. Google also has a very substantial interest in keeping users data secure – they want Google Apps to be a successful product that makes them lots of money. They must convince businesses and government to drop Microsoft and go Google, so they want to keep data secure. On the other hand, many legal aid programs employ 0-1 IT professionals working on keeping our data safe. Even if they have more, they’re often being asked to do a whole lot.
Google Apps employs some nice, simple features to avoid basic user security mistakes. Advanced Password Settings, in the GApps control panel, allows an administrator to see the password strength of every user's passwords. You can force resets for passwords that aren't secure. This avoids the &quot;123456&quot; or &quot;password&quot; type passwords. You can also set password length limits. So up to 7 characters is what we did. It could be more.
See the Google Apps agreement: http://www.google.com/apps/intl/en/terms/education_terms.html
This portion of the presentation is designed to show how easily you can begin with Google Apps for your organization
Google Apps comes in several flavors, for business, for education, for individuals, and for non-profits. A non-profit with fewer than 3,000 employees can get the educational version for free. It closely mirrors the Premier Edition and is free. To begin, all you do is click Get Started.
The first step is to enter your domain name.
Next you fill out contact information for you and your organization. You will need your taxpayer ID number to verify you are a 501 (c) (3) organization. If you cannot verify this, you will get the Standard Edition instead, which is free but more limited in functionality and storage space.
At this step you will create your administrator's account.
Google needs to verify that you actually control the domain. You can do this in either of two ways, by uploading a file that Google will specify later or by changing the CNAME record for your domain.
If you choose to upload a file to the domain's website, this tells you what the name of the file should be and specifies its contents. Once you have created the file and uploaded it to the domain, you click to indicate this is done. If you want to do this later, you can so indicate.
Once you have followed these simple steps, Google Apps is setup for your domain. You will administer Google Apps from this central dashboard. This setup was merely for this presentation. Now I'll switch to the dashboard for my domain, Lablovers.com, which has already been moved to Google Apps Premier Edition.
You can see the various areas of Google Apps you can configure for your users: Email, Calendar, Chat, Mobile, Docs, Sites, and Video. In this presentation I will concentrate on email and docs. Google provides a very detailed, easy to follow setup guide indicated on this slide.
If you follow this guide, you should have no trouble migrating to Google Apps. The following slides will show the simple steps you will follow to move your organization's email to Gmail.
Before we look at those steps, you might ask &quot;Why should we move to Gmail?&quot; Or even more likely, your executive director will ask you that. You should be prepared to answer that question. There are many reasons, some of which have already been covered earlier in David's slides, such as remote access, good spam filtering and disaster planning. Another reason is cost. Here is a calculator Google provides to help you compare the total cost of ownership of Gmail vs. Exchange. This example assumes you are using the Premier Edition. Since you get these features for free as a non-profit, your TCO for Gmail would be even lower since you wouldn't have the licensing costs used in the example. For the three years listed for this 130 user organization, the savings then would be $138,595. I have not verified that the figures used by Google are correct. You may get special pricing for your Exchange licenses. This is here for an example of how to figure you savings if you decide to pitch a move to Google Apps.
This first step show you what you will need to do to move to Gmail.
This page of the guide lets you choose whether you are committed to moving and are doing it all now, or if you are starting with a pilot.
To make this switch, you will need to change the MX records on your current host. Google provides instructions on how to do this for many common email providers. When I went to Dreamhost to do this for my domain, they had a button set up for the move to Gmail and all I had to do was click. Your move may not be that simple, but the instructions provided by Google are very clear.
Here is a view of my email in Outlook before I made the move. I used Outlook as the client and MS Exchange as the host. I thought I should contrast how my email client looked before and after the switch. The next slide shows how it looked after I moved my domain to Google Apps. We all know how the legal aid community, and particularly lawyers, take to change. You should be prepared for them to cry out because of the differences.
SURPRISE! Google Apps will let you still use Outlook as your client. As you can see, all of my folders are still intact, along with my calendar, contacts, and tasks. There are some features of Exchange that don't translate to Gmail. They will still work in Outlook, but won't be visible from the Gmail interface. Google provides a detailed list of these differences.
Here is the same mail account in Gmail. As you can see, Outlook folders are converted to Gmail labels. This works from Outlook to Gmail, but not the other way around. If a user associates an email with a label in the Gmail interface, it does not automatically go to an Outlook folder when it syncs. If users had rules to automatically move messages to folders set up in Exchange, the will need to recreate those after the move.
If you are moving from MS Exchange, Google provides a free Migration tool to help you. This will guide you to moving user names and message stores en mass. Google provides a similar tool for moving from Lotus Notes, too.
Google provides a free Sync Tool for Outlook so that users can have Outlook at work, yet still get to all of their information with the Gmail interface from home or on the road.
This is a look at how the tool functions. It takes some time to run it the first time, but after that, the synchronization is very quick. If a user makes changes through the Google interface, the next time they log in with Outlook, those changes are all reflected in the local copy of Outlook.
You may decide to start you move to Google Apps with email only but, if you decide to move forward with Google Docs, users can import documents very easily. Even if users won't be using Google Docs exclusively, this is a good way to back up important documents, especially as part of a disaster plan. To start, a user just clicks Upload.
The first step is to select the files to upload.
User can import more than one document at a time, but can only import to one folder at a time. You don't have to pick a folder, you can just upload them, then label them later. You can pick files of different types all at one time.
You are limited to 1024 MB of storage for documents not in the Google Doc format, but you can convert your documents as they are upload, thus making sure that you do not bump up against this limit. If you do not convert them, they cannot be edited online. There are limitations on the size of documents you can upload. For example, .doc files cannot be larger than 500K.
So get excited about Google Apps and see how it can work for your organization. Don't forget you can do it as a pilot, implementing it for some users only, or with some features only. You could decide to start with Google Sites and use them like wikis for your organization. But dig in and get started. You can't beat the price!
Google Apps in Legal Aid - Part 1
Should Google Apps Power the Next Generation Legal Aid Office? Analyzing the Cost-Savings, Coolness-Factor, and Controversy May 13, 2010
Today’s Panelists <ul><li>Glenn Rawdon, Program Counsel at LSC </li></ul><ul><li>Steven McGarrity, Associate Director of Community Legal Aid Services </li></ul><ul><li>Kathleen Brockel, Executive Director of LSNTAP </li></ul><ul><li>David Bonebrake, Project Coordinator at LSNTAP </li></ul>
Today’s Presentation <ul><li>Google Apps and the Cloud </li></ul><ul><li>Cost-Savings </li></ul><ul><li>“ Coolness-Factor” (Features & Benefits) </li></ul><ul><li>Controversy </li></ul><ul><li>Implementation </li></ul><ul><li>Google Apps as an Extensible Framework </li></ul>
The Google Apps in Legal Aid Survey <ul><li>12 responses from Google Apps users in the legal aid community. </li></ul>
The Takeaway <ul><li>If you’re struggling to keep up with IT, Google Apps deserves a look. </li></ul><ul><li>Google Apps is not untested in the legal aid community. </li></ul>
Google Apps and the Cloud <ul><li>Cloud Computing Explained </li></ul><ul><li>Google Apps Intro </li></ul>
Google Apps: The Cost-Savings <ul><li>Google Apps is free for US non-profits with less than 3000 users </li></ul><ul><li>Will it stay free? </li></ul>
The Coolness-Factor (And Why Cool Matters) <ul><li>Google has usability down - users get more out of products they know and like </li></ul><ul><li>Innovation is exciting </li></ul>
Google Apps Includes: <ul><li>Gmail </li></ul><ul><li>Google Calendar </li></ul><ul><li>Google Docs </li></ul><ul><li>Sites </li></ul><ul><li>Contacts </li></ul><ul><li>Start Page </li></ul><ul><li>Google Video </li></ul><ul><li>Talk </li></ul><ul><li>Google Apps does not include Google Voice, Google </li></ul><ul><li>Buzz, and Google Wave. </li></ul>
Benefits of Google Apps <ul><li>Powerful search </li></ul><ul><li>Collaboration </li></ul><ul><li>Cloud access </li></ul><ul><li>Spam filtering </li></ul><ul><li>Mobile integration </li></ul><ul><li>Disaster Recovery </li></ul>
Collaboration <ul><li>Is there any better </li></ul><ul><li>tool for online </li></ul><ul><li>collaboration than </li></ul><ul><li>Google Docs? </li></ul>
Collaboration <ul><li>Not just for Gmail users </li></ul><ul><li>Sign up for a Google Account </li></ul>
Cloud Access <ul><li>Users can securely access Google Apps from any location with an Internet connection, without using a VPN. </li></ul><ul><li>With the proper configuration, that connection can be securely encrypted from wherever the users accesses Apps. </li></ul>
Cloud Access and SSL <ul><li>Common Internet encryption protocol </li></ul><ul><li>http vs. https </li></ul><ul><li>Can be automatically turned for all users </li></ul>
Spam Filtering <ul><li>Fantastic spam filtering within Google Apps </li></ul><ul><li>It just goes away </li></ul>
Mobile Integration <ul><li>Displays very well on iPhone, Android, and Blackberry. </li></ul><ul><li>Includes support for Google Docs </li></ul>
Disaster Recovery <ul><li>Data is stored off-site on duplicate Google servers </li></ul><ul><li>Continuing operations simply a matter of finding a working Internet connection </li></ul><ul><li>Switching MX records after a disaster </li></ul>
Google Apps: The Controversy <ul><li>The Google Apps main controversy is over security and data privacy </li></ul><ul><li>Security and privacy are paramount concerns </li></ul><ul><li>That said, we need to be realistic in our assessments </li></ul>
“ Can We Do Better?” <ul><li>Attorney-Technologist Dennis Kennedy: </li></ul><ul><li>Make a realistic comparison of what you're doing now. Attorneys often worry about security and confidentiality issues with [cloud providers] while employing practices in their office that are all but laughably unsecure." </li></ul><ul><li>http://denniskennedy.com/blog/2009/07/working-in-the-cloud-lawyers-and-saas </li></ul>
The Weakest Link is in this Room <ul><li>Typically the weakest link in any security setup, whether on-premise or cloud-based, is the user </li></ul>
Good Password Policy Guidelines <ul><li>A password policy should have the following: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Maximum password age: 90 days </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Same password should not be used on sites like Facebook, Flickr, or Amazon </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Minimum password length: 8 characters </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Password must meet complexity requirements. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>The password complexity requirements are: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Not contain all or part of the user’s account name </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Contain characters from three of the following four categories: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>English uppercase characters (A through Z) </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>English lowercase characters (a through z) </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Base 10 digits (0 through 9) </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Non-alphabetic characters (for example, !, $, #, %) </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>It’s always a good reminder to set strong passwords and change them regularly between 90 -120 days, even if it means adding or changing the last character in the password. Source: http://crmhelpdesksoftware.com/google-apps-premier-edition-allows-better password-control/ </li></ul>
Additional Security Considerations <ul><li>Mitigates risks associated with lost laptops and thumb drives. Files are stored and worked on in the cloud. </li></ul><ul><li>Although it's important to keep our data private, it's not a high target. There is no great financial incentive to get our clients information. </li></ul>
What happens if Google is subpoenaed for my email records? Does Google just hand them over? <ul><li>6.3 Required Disclosure. Each party may disclose the other party’s Confidential Information when required by law but only after it, if legally permissible: (a) uses commercially reasonable efforts to notify the other party; and (b) gives the other party the chance to challenge the disclosure. </li></ul>
Ethics Considerations <ul><li>Bars have been quiet on cloud computing and Google Apps, but law firms are moving forward </li></ul><ul><li>NC Proposed Ethics Opinion: Cloud okay if you make efforts to minimize the risk </li></ul><ul><li>Due diligence is essential </li></ul>
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Client Data <ul><li>Most programs do not have formal policies for handling client data, but do store at least some client data on Google’s servers </li></ul><ul><li>One approach: only use client first name and last name initial. Refer to case # if necessary </li></ul><ul><li>Survey Answer: Yes. As a general proposition we are very comfortable with Google's privacy and security controls. In general, our concerns are not with client data being hosted by Google, any more than we would be with any other TP hosting service with proper privacy and security controls. The real issue is the users, i.e., assuring that they understand and properly use the Google Apps to assure client confidentiality is preserved. This is especially important given the ease with which Google Apps content can be shared </li></ul>