Google Cloud Next ’20: OnAir: Half Time Round-Up
We are half-way through Google Cloud Next ‘20: OnAir, and have already seen lots of exciting new content and product updates. The first 4 weeks have covered Industry Insights, Productivity & Collaboration, Infrastructure, and Security – and we are excited to see what the next 5 weeks will bring!
In this blog post, we have highlighted some of the stand out sessions that we have found insightful. See below for just some of our highlights and find out how you can access the on-demand content.
Week 1: Industry Insights
In Thomas Kurian’s opening keynote, we were given a first look at updates such as the upcoming new interface in Gmail, the release of BigQuery Omni, and we got an insight into how companies have been able to adapt using Google technologies during the pandemic. Read our blog: Netpremacy Next Insights: Week 1 Industry Insights for our top highlights from the opening week.
Week 2: Productivity & Collaboration
As one of the UK’s leading Google Premier Partners, specialising in business transformation with G Suite, we anticipated this week would be full of exciting and valuable content for us, and our customers. We weren’t wrong! Here are just some of the sessions we thought really highlighted the value of G Suite and how you can use it to power your organisation.
G Suite’s Vision: Your Future Workplace
Ever since the sudden and global transition to a remote way of working, more than 6 million businesses have chosen G Suite as their partner in digital transformation, and billions of people are using it to stay connected. This could be the catalyst that will accelerate the shift to a more flexible work culture.
Giving employees more flexibility is helping to prepare us for the future. It has other benefits too, like saving businesses money and reducing their carbon footprint. Google is cloud-native, so G Suite tools were engineered with flexibility in mind. Noise cancellation and low light mode in Google Meet was just one of the many updates Google announced to help with the challenges of remote working, where often your environment isn’t that predictable.
Google Meet is now free for everyone, so more people can enjoy secure and reliable video meetings. Google also announced earlier in the year that G Suite Essentials, for businesses, will be free until October 2020. The better home for work update was another exciting new feature, which will integrate the main G Suite collaboration tools to work even more seamlessly, helping users better manage the pace of work.
Watch the full session here and learn more about Google’s first step in their long-term vision of what the future workplace could look like.
Power Your Business with Search & AI in G Suite
This session looks at some of G Suite’s incredible capabilities that help with employee efficiency, by improving meeting experiences, simplifying tasks, and turning data into insights:
- Google Calendar is able to automatically suggest the time and place of a meeting, based on the number and location of participants.
- Gmail and Google Drive use powerful search and assistant features to enable you to find the files you want, quickly.
- Machine Learning (ML) is used in Gmail (and now Docs) with smart compose, allowing you to write more quickly and accurately – powered by world-class Google search technology and ML models.
- Deep learning signals are used to learn and utilise these behaviours, delivering relevant and highly intelligent results.
Watch the full session here to learn more about the intelligent features in G Suite you should be using in your business.
Communication in G Suite: The Future of Gmail, Chat, Meet, and More
In this session, Google announced the key features, tools, and updates they have made to make it easier for people to work remotely.
- Extended tile view layouts in meetings
- “Guest Access” – collaborate with external partners on Google Chat
- Forward to inbox – makes it easier to follow up on specific chat messages
- Ability to edit messages in Chat
- Voice and Chat now available in Gmail
- New home for work – access everything you need straight from Gmail
Personalisation in Retail
Consumer behaviour in retail has been changing for years, but the sudden closure of brick and mortar stores highlighted and accelerated the importance of digital strategies. Now, the customer journey is much more complex, but behaviours online can be tracked and used to personalise experiences. Data science, AI, and ML models are at the forefront of implementing these strategies in an intelligent, scalable, and automated way. AI is fuelled by consumer demand, so it’s more important than ever to collect and analyse data properly. You can then make better decisions, such as delivering personalised product recommendations based on products they have previously viewed, and with Google’s powerful ML models, you can suggest products based on what other consumers have bought.
Watch the session here to learn how you can use this technology to deeply understand your customers.
Week 3: Infrastructure
Infrastructure is a vital part of any business which is why we need to ensure that it is protected and working to the best of its ability to keep businesses running efficiently. There was a range of interesting updates, and below are just a few that we felt stood out, and that will make a big impact on the way that businesses work going forward.
New Transatlantic cables – Grace Hopper cable system
Google already has a deeply impressive private network, including many different sub-sea cable investments. However this week, Google announced the new transatlantic cable that they will be building, named after the famous Grace Hopper. This cable will be linking the US, UK, and Spain and will provide extra bandwidth to this key connectivity route. People will be able to share, search, send, and receive information more than ever. After all, in today’s day and age reliable connectivity is more important than ever before to ensure business continuity. The new transatlantic cable will provide even better resilience for the network that underpins Google’s consumer and enterprise products. Read more about the new cable and all the others here.
New private service connect
Private Service Connect in alpha, which allows you to connect and consume first and third-party as well as customer-owned services easily and privately. It creates service endpoints in consumer VPCs that provide private connectivity and policy enforcement, allowing you to easily connect services across different networks and organisations. Private Service Connect abstracts the underlying infrastructure for both the teams consuming and delivering services, making it easier for you to use value-added services. With Private Service Connect, traffic stays private and secure over Google’s global network. See the overview video, or Read more here.
Google Cloud Armor
There has been 3 stand out Google Cloud Armor updates over the infrastructure week that will have a large impact on many businesses across the globe. Google has simplified the way you can use Cloud Armor to help protect your websites and applications from exploit attempts as well as distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks. Here’s a quick overview:
Cloud Armor Managed Protection Plus
This is a subscription service with a predictable, enterprise-friendly monthly pricing model that mitigates cost risk from defending against a large L7 DDoS attack. Leveraging the edge of Google’s network, as well as a set of products and services from across Google Cloud, Cloud Armor Managed Protection Plus can help protect applications from DDoS attacks and targeted exploit attempts. Businesses can now benefit from the same scale and expertise Google employs to protect applications and critical services from malicious activity.
Named IP Lists
Named IP Lists are now in beta. These are Google-curated rule sets containing a pre-configured list of IP addresses that can be referenced and reused across policies and projects. Google is starting with providing Named IP Lists that have source IP ranges for common upstream service providers that many users would want to allow through their Cloud Armor security policies.
New WAF rules: RFI, LFI, RCE
Google is also making RFI (Remote File Inclusion), LFI (Local File Inclusion), and RCE (Remote Code Execution) rules available as a beta. Collectively, these rules contain industry-standard signatures from the OWASP ModSecurity Core Rule Set to help mitigate the Command Injection class vulnerabilities while enhancing the out-of-the-box coverage for OWASP Top 10 vulnerabilities as well.
Week 4: Security
Security is something that is on everyone’s mind. At Netpremacy, we want to ensure that our employees and customers are safe, especially with so much of the world working remotely since early 2020. Google has introduced a range of new security measures to ensure that everyone’s new normal is safe. This week Google made sure to speak about security to people on every level, from introductory sessions all the way to advanced sessions.
Google also shared with us some of the recent resources, features, and products they’ve been working on in the Security space:
With Security being at the forefront of organisations minds, Google has collated lots of information, whitepapers, and blog posts relating to the best practices and key considerations across a number of workloads. It’s a central place to go to ensure you’re meeting your compliance and security needs in Google Cloud.
Google’s BeyondCorp methodology is one of the most innovative parts of Google’s overall security posture. By using the principle of Zero-Trust, Google enables its own employees to work and access internal systems from anywhere in the world. BeyondCorp Remote Access is a solution built on top of Google products (Cloud IAP and Cloud Identity) that enables organisations to adopt the BeyondCorp methodology for their own applications and employees.
Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) and certificate-based authentication are one of the most popular methods of securing networked devices and services. But Google recognises that there is a significant problem – it’s hard to set up Certificate Authorities (CA), and even harder to do it reliably at scale. Google has announced that they are releasing the Certificate Authority Service: a highly scalable and available service that simplifies and automates the management and deployment of private CAs.
Google has widely documented its security controls, governance, and policies and is completely transparent when it comes to their usage of data. However, Google still recognises that there are organisations that need extra assurances that their data is secure while on Google Cloud. At the present, Google encrypts data at rest and in transit but must decrypt it for processing inside of its servers. Now Google is announcing a new product category called Confidential Computing, with its first product – Confidential VMs.
Like many Google products, Confidential VMs are based on the open-sourced framework Asylo and ensure that data is encrypted at all times, including during processing. And the best part is that enabling this technology is as simple as creating a regular virtual machine – just check the box during creation and let Google take care of the rest. Confidential Computing could truly be the next frontier in data protection in the cloud.
Confidential VMs are in beta, and you can read more about the service here.
These are just some of the announcements and links to the new content that Google Cloud Next has pushed out over the first 4 weeks. To see the full announcements and updates, head over to Google’s blog. Week 5: Data Analytics is available now. To book on, head over to the Google Cloud Next website.