Ian Meikle – Senior Google Cloud Platform Engineer, Netpremacy
Google Cloud resources are easy to use and readily available, but to protect confidential data and limit costs, you should regulate who can access them. Google recommends applying the ‘Principle of Least Privilege’ – only grant the minimum permissions required for a particular account on a particular resource and no more. Within GCP this is controlled using Identity and Access Management (IAM). More specifically, by the setting and application of IAM Policy.
As a Senior GCP Engineer at Netpremacy, I regularly advise our customers on how to get more from their existing GCP setup by following Google best practices and applying what we’ve learnt first-hand over the years. Here I’ll explain how IAM works, how you can use IAM Policies effectively, and the best practices to follow. This blog is for anyone starting with GCP who wants to ensure they are granting the right permissions to their staff. Alternatively, if you already have existing GCP infrastructure, this article will guide you through making it more secure.
Identity and Access Management
Resources and Permissions
IAM is concerned with identity and access. It defines who can do what within your GCP setup. The ‘who’ can relate to a real person through a Google Account or a Google Group. However, permissions may also be granted to Service Accounts associated with apps or other compute resources. This is often done to allow automation. The ‘what’ is a resource in GCP. This can be one of many things, such as a GCE VM or a BigQuery DataSet. Every resource has a defined set of permissions that allow creation, administration, deletion or passive access. These permissions are then grouped into Roles, and a Role is assigned to an identity through an IAM Policy. Policies are then applied to resources within a project.
GCP infrastructure is organised as a hierarchy (see image below). At the top sits the Organisation. Below that there are (optional) Folders that are used to group Projects. Resources are collected within a Project. Permissions are inherited as you move downwards so that an identity with privileged access at the Organisation level will have the same access to all resources within the hierarchy. Privileged access granted to a Folder will similarly filter downwards to the folders and projects that it contains.
Permissions are closely related to API calls within GCP. As there are thousands of calls that can be made on nearly 200 different GCP services, permissions are grouped into Roles.
There are three types of Roles:
- Basic Roles These are Legacy roles that grant you Owner, Editor or Viewer control over a resource. Basic Roles are quite broad and should be used sparingly.
- Predefined Roles These are the most common type of IAM role and are usually associated with a specific service. For example, the roles/bigquery.dataViewer role grants 15 different permissions on a Dataset, Table or View within BigQuery that allow read-only access. Above this, there is the roles/bigquery.dataEditor, which includes permissions to create, update and delete Tables. Moving even higher is the roles/bigquery.dataOwner, which can create, update and delete Datasets.
- Custom Roles If there are no Predefined Roles that match your needs then new, Custom Roles can be created. These can be useful if you have specific compliance needs, for example. Be aware that GCP Service updates may change the set of permissions required for resource operations. Whilst Predefined Roles will be reconfigured automatically to match any change, the management of Custom Roles is your responsibility.
Assign roles to Google Groups, not users. Whilst it is easy to grant an IAM role to an individual user, this is not something we recommend. Consider what happens when someone leaves the company or transfers to another business unit. If their user identity is tied to a resource through an IAM policy then that resource can be left orphaned, with potentially harmful effects. Google’s recommendation (that we would endorse) is to assign roles to Google Groups and then manage group membership via the Workspace Admin Console. This makes the transfer of ownership much easier and dissociates service operations from user management.
Align permissions to job responsibilities. Projects are the ‘base’ unit within the GCP hierarchy. IAM Policies should be developed so that projects sit entirely within the remit of a team or business unit. In this way, permissions are aligned with job responsibilities. Cross-project working can be permitted through VPC networking, though that is not discussed here.
Use IAM Recommender to stay on top of resource access management. Access requirements change over time, so permission management is an ongoing process. Google has provided an IAM Recommender service that monitors how a resource is being used over time and suggests how to enforce the Principle of Least Privilege. Recommendations are based on recent service access and a Machine Learning analysis of how the role may need to access the service in the future. The Recommender can be used interactively as part of an IAM review, or automated. Whilst every effort is made to prevent unexpected service disruptions, automation carries the expected caveats.
Resource access has to be managed, and IAM provides the tools and processes you need to do just that. For optimum security and to enforce best practices, you should protect your GCP environment against accidental modification by users with elevated access permissions. A way to safeguard against this is to apply the principle of least privilege so that only the appropriate group of people make changes.
Google Groups helps you to create a clear distinction between user management and service operations. That means resource management happens in the right place without blurring the distinction between people and services.
Following the principle of least privilege is an ongoing process. Use IAM Recommender to help you stay on top of access rights and update permissions when needed.
For advice on using Cloud IAM or to book a GCP Health Check, contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org
To keep up to date on product announcements, updates, and events subscribe to our newsletter.
Save time with AI features
Last year, Google announced a better home for work. G Suite was given a revamp and is now Google Workspace. This reflects the new collaborative interface that has been adapted to a new, remote way of working.
We have discussed the collaboration and productivity benefits of Google Workspace many times, but the built-in AI features, that we take for granted on a daily basis, are what set it apart from its competitors.
2020 was about enabling remote work. Google’s latest productivity tools with built-in AI allow this remote work to be our best work.
Many of us may have heard about AI, but have not realised we are using it every day when working with Google Workspace.
These built-in AI features are what makes Google Workspace ahead of the competition, and save time when writing an email, as one example. Google has integrated Artificial Intelligence (AI) in their collaboration and productivity tools. Their goal is not only to increase individual productivity but also efficiency when getting your work done.
Below are some examples of the built-in AI features that you may not have considered:
Smart Reply on Mobile
Ever typing out an email on your mobile device and suggested words and phrases appear before your eyes? This is the built-in AI in action.
Smart Suggestions on Google Docs, Sheets, Slides, & Forms
Similar to the suggestions in email, this feature is also present in Google Docs, Sheets and Slides. As you are typing, Google will suggest words, saving you time.
Cloud search makes searching through your organisation’s data/documents easier. Cloud Search utilises Machine Learning to surface the most relevant suggestions or responses. What Google search does for the web, Cloud Search does for enterprise search and for your business.
Learn more about cloud search here.
If you want to understand these features, and how they can save your business hours of time, sign up for our upcoming webinar.
The energy and utility sector is something most of us take for granted. We pay them for warm showers and to heat our homes, and no doubt we will all be reaching for the thermostat over the long winter months ahead to keep us extra cosy. However, behind the scenes, these companies have to embrace digital transformation and harvest massive amounts of data in order to grow, evolve, and meet the demands of the future.
The industry is constantly up against challenges; from pressure to reduce emissions, increasing demand, and providing competitive prices to their consumers. Google Cloud has a wide range of industry-leading and energy-specific solutions aimed at helping these businesses digitise faster, and respond to these demands.
Why data is important for digital transformation
The most valuable asset many companies have is data, and in order to be successful, energy providers must adapt to change, stay current, and realise this. They need to be able to store, read, and analyse data properly, in order to gain a competitive advantage and solve complex business challenges.
Google’s BigQuery can help businesses bring different data sets together in order to gain those insights, and Google’s AI-powered solutions are the key to unlocking analytics capabilities within your data sets. In this case study, you can learn how Energyworx, an energy supplier in the Netherlands, uses GCP and smart analytics to harvest their data to better plan for future energy demand, and find ways their customers can save on their electricity use.
If you would like to learn how to use smart analytics to help your business grow and evolve, download our Smart Analytics White Paper here.
A deeper dive into AI and ML energy-specific solutions
Powerful AI models use data analytics to provide actionable insights, and these models can help inspections at scale. This is extremely useful for energy and utility companies who have large areas they need to monitor, such as energy grids, wind farms, or solar panels. Google Cloud’s Visual Inspection solution reduces inspection times without compromising on safety or accuracy and makes organisations more efficient and sustainable.
Businesses also have the ability to build their own custom Machine Learning model with minimal effort and little to no Machine Learning experience.
AES is a Fortune 500 global power company that distributes sustainable energy in 15 countries. Their asset inventory is phenomenal, with a value of over £33 billion. They use Machine Learning and drone technology in their wind farms to monitor, manage, and maintain their assets.
This was the perfect solution, as it was in keeping with their greener vision and they were able to massively scale using Google’s powerful infrastructure. Learn more about their custom made solution powered by Google Cloud’s AutoML Vision here.
For most modern energy and utility companies, contributing to greater customer satisfaction is also an important identifier for success.
AI models like Contact Centre AI allows agents to assist with customer requests more efficiently, leading to shorter call times and improved outcomes, with much quicker resolutions. Learn more about Google Clouds CCAI and how companies are using this technology to modernise.
A smart future for the energy industry
Smart meters are the latest innovation to tackle the biggest challenges facing the industry today. By 2024, almost 77% of EU households will have one installed*.
This new technology brings multiple benefits such as delivering automated, real-time readings, giving consumers access to their own data; and being able to identify faulty appliances, reducing downtime, and enabling repair staff to be efficient and effective with their time. They also improve the awareness of energy consumption, allowing individual households and businesses to reduce their energy use and generate savings.
Of course, with all new technology advancements, comes an influx of data. Energy companies need a scalable data warehouse to be able to import, process, and anaylse this data. Google Cloud’s BigQuery streams data in real-time and can predict business outcomes with powerful built-in ML models; plus it runs on Google’s infrastructure and is a managed service, meaning companies spend less time developing technology and can focus on their service instead. Read how Halsfund, the largest power company in Norway, uses GCP and BigQuery for the new smart meter network here.
Being a successful energy and utilities company today requires the right technology to solve big business problems. However, in order to truly succeed, you must make the right decisions for your business by making the most of the information you gather.
Now you know what you can do with your data, are you using it to the best of your advantage?
Speak to one of our data experts and we can help you implement this technology and show you how to use it. Contact us here.
We spoke to some key players in the retail industry, and here’s what they had to say…
At Netpremacy, we aim to create a community whereby people and businesses feel welcome to come and openly discuss industry challenges they may have, and come to us with questions they may have on Google Cloud. Recently, we created that environment and invited a specific few technology leaders in the Retail industry to “sit” at our virtual roundtable. We then had honest and open conversations about the challenges 2020 has brought and how they are looking to overcome them.
This was a successful discussion, our attendees were all given bespoke coffee hampers to start the morning off the right way – with a fresh pot of brewed coffee in hand. A must before any meeting can start!
We were joined by Becky Postlethwaite, Google Cloud Industry Manager in Retail at Google. A retail specialist with knowledge in the market and deep trusted relationships with Retailers in the Google Cloud space. Running the session was Ben Trood, Head of Business Development and Netpremacy retail specialist. Finally, the session was chaired by our Head of Customer Success and transformation guru, Martin Russell.
There were a number of topics discussed in this session, although it was noted at the end “and we haven’t finished yet, we could talk for hours”. However, some key challenges were highlighted and it was interesting to see how much businesses have had to adapt and react to change since the start of 2020.
This year has been a driver for change. Companies have been forced to move away from the office culture.
Is it now time to look at changing because of this?
It could cause minimal disruption to the businesses currently due to the current COVID situation. This could potentially be a great time to ignite the fire of changing the way you work within your business.
The meeting made it clear that the factor holding some businesses back from making change is how their workforce will react to it. This is a BIG factor when looking at moving to the cloud, and it’s imperative that correct training and change management strategies are put into place.
However, it was also highlighted that people are a lot more reactive to change than we think, some of the attendees mentioned that the current situation had made them “rip off the plaster” and had no choice but to create a remote workforce. It showed that Covid has proved that people are more open to change than we may think.
Blockers are something we don’t want to think about but are very real for many businesses. We spoke about the main things businesses were finding were blocking their path to move to the cloud.
Challenges when looking at moving to the cloud
• Fear of change from the top
• Focus on what it’s going to bring and how it’s going to change things
• The amount of time and effort it takes to upgrade
• The brief of change is expected thanks to covid, people understand that change does need to happen
• More stress on the technology team
Culture and transforming the way you work
We talk about transforming the way you work a lot. But what does that actually mean?
Well, at Netpremacy we perhaps take that for granted. However, there are still businesses all over the Globe that simply cannot begin to fathom working remotely as they are still stuck with an on-premise mindset and old school technology stacks to match. It can be hard to imagine working from any device, anywhere, anytime when you are so used to being hardwired into an ethernet cable that’s underneath your specific desk.
We spoke about how moving your infrastructure to the cloud has a dramatic effect on the way your business works.
We heard from 2 of our customers on why they decided to make the move, their main takeaways were:
Why Google Cloud?
• The need to modernise their desktop
• Wanting the ability to collaborate and share information easier
• Attracting talent – people were coming through the door and expected the best infrastructure and technology at their fingertips
• Unlimited storage
• Wanting to make decisions, fast and communicate better
• Wanting to bring everyone from different office locations together to become more unified
• Security and single sign-on
• More straight forward to use, and were so lucky they were on Google cloud when covid hit
• Google Meet interaction integration with the rest of the suite is second to none
The overall session was a great opportunity to have a frank and informative discussion on what challenges different companies are facing, and how we can work together to overcome these obstacles. It was interesting to hear stories from the field on how different people cope with change differently, and eye-opening to realise that with the right tools how easy it can be to become a remote workforce that is prepared for unprecedented challenges such as the whole country being sent home, to work.
Due to the success of this session, we will be running more intimate sessions such as these that are limited in numbers and exclusive to industry-specific topics.
If you would like to attend one of these sessions going forward or have topics you would like to discuss, please email Ben Trood, Head of Business Development directly at email@example.com
Is this the Biggest Proof of Concept in History?
We recently created a study on the effect COVID-19 has had on businesses, and here are the results…
Since the proliferation of Cloud and Software as a Service (SaaS), over the past ten years or so, the debate around allowing employees to live more flexible working lives through remote working has been ongoing. In recent years Google Workspace (formerly G Suite), Office 365, Teams, and Zoom are making it increasingly easier for businesses to mobilise their workforce, collaborate with their teams, and continue speaking directly to their customers from any location, on any device.
Despite this, progress has been surprisingly slow. According to the Office of National Statistics, the percentage of the UK population mainly working from home in 2019 was 5.1% compared to 4.3% in 2015 with only 30% of people having “ever” worked from home.*
That is until now, in June 2020 at the height of the Pandemic the ONS stated 49% of workers reported working from home at some point in the seven days to 14 June, up from 41% the previous week.* As we head into a second lockdown we would like to think that businesses will be better equipped to work from home.
Is this the biggest Proof of Concept in history?
If you asked the average Financial Services IT department 9 months ago to enable every member of staff to work from home tomorrow, or a retailer to close high street stores and transition to a 100% virtual shopping experience within days, they would have told you it can’t be done!. Yet this is exactly what they were asked to do. (and they did it)
These businesses- thousands of them, were forced into the biggest Proof of Concept in history. While many would agree “The Concept ” has been proven, we should now ask what we have learned and what we will do differently?
It’s time to ask yourself some questions.
How confident are you that the platform is scalable enough, secure enough, reliable enough, easy to use, cost-effective at scale? How prepared are you for when something like this happens again?
• How has this changed your business?
• Will this change your approach to remote working?
• Will you reduce office space?
• Does this mean you can now hire from a broader talent pool if the location is no longer an issue?
• Will you offer more flexible working options in the future?
Will we go back to how we worked before?
No-one knows for sure but I believe the short answer is probably not. In a recent Netpremacy survey of UK knowledge workers 82.6% said that pre – COVID-19 lockdown, they were expected in the office every day
Fast forward to now.
47.8% said that they would be allowed to choose how to split their time between working from home and the office.
39.1% said that they would now be working from home permanently. Leaving just 13% of the respondents having to go back to the office full time when the pandemic is over.
This is a big shift and if we listen to the 95.7% who prefer working from home and the 60.9% who felt like they were more productive, then, I believe the majority will have to offer more flexible home working practices in the future.
And those that don’t?…
Well, at the very least, now more than ever, they understand how SaaS and the Cloud platforms such as Google Workspace, Teams, and Zoom, can help prepare for an ever-increasingly unpredictable future.
In our whitepaper ‘Three ways Google Workspace helps business thrive and plan,’ we outline how our customers have been using Google Workspace to thrive throughout this pandemic as well as plan for an increasingly uncertain future.
Dan Sullivan is a Cloud and SaaS technology veteran currently working with Google Cloud Premier Partner and Google 2019 Work Transformation Partner of the year Netpremacy. With more than 20 years of technology experience, he has helped hundreds of businesses deliver game-changing business and technology transformations.
If you would like to learn more about how Google Workspace can help your company adapt and thrive, please contact Dan on: firstname.lastname@example.org
Why the retail industry needs to become more digital
Retail is always changing to keep up with current technology, and as consumer trends evolve over time, retailers need to continue to keep up. The biggest trend and shift in consumer behaviour at the moment is that more people are shopping online. Year on year, the number of online sales is increasing and the outbreak of COVID-19 has acted as a catalyst, which saw 32.8% of all UK retail sales being made online in May this year* – the highest since records began.
It is important that retailers adapt to the ever-changing environment, otherwise, they risk losing touch with their customer base and falling behind their competition. However, the technology we have available to us allows the adoption of new, digital strategies, much quicker than ever before. Now, the customer journey is much more complex, behaviors online can be tracked and used to personalise experiences, anticipate demand, and predict spend.
Adapting digital strategies with AI and machine learning
Artificial Intelligence (AI) and machine learning models are fast becoming an important part of how retail businesses should be run. These models can analyse big data in an intelligent, scalable, and automated way, and find patterns to help businesses understand what their customer really wants.
Analysing and understanding these patterns properly allows you to make important decisions, which can positively impact business outcomes. The powerful algorithms analyse consumer behaviour, such as items viewed, purchase history, what people search for, and the behaviour of similar shoppers. Machine learning takes this one step further and can predict a consumer’s behaviour often before they even know what they want themselves. Using this data allows you to place the right product, in front of the right shopper, at the right time in the buying cycle, which will ultimately increase conversions and your ROI.
Use AI to deliver exceptional customer service
The power of AI and machine learning work at all stages of the customer journey, and they are changing the way businesses interact with their customers. Whether that’s displaying products they might like or using Contact Center AI (CCAI) to increase operational efficiency and deliver exceptional customer service.
CCAI ultimately contributes to greater customer satisfaction; shorter call times improved outcomes, and much quicker resolutions. Machine learning models are able to find the answers to customer queries, so agents can assist with customer requests more accurately, and at a much quicker pace.
Learn more about Google Cloud’s CCAI and how customers are using this technology to their advantage.
Delivering the omni-channel retail experience
Just because online sales are increasing doesn’t mean physical sales should have less of a focus. Infact, retailers who deliver an omni-channel experience not only enable customers to convert on every channel, but all aspects of the customer journey is streamlined, leading to more sales and increasing engagement. This is known as the “halo effect”. Shoppers can decide what is the most important factor when making a purchase; convenience, speed, price, ease of return, or the in-store experience. This in turn contributes to brand loyalty, repeat custom, and improved customer experience.
AI and machine learning can determine how customers interact and move around the brand ecosystem. Retailers can now forecast behaviours across offline and online channels, which brings them closer than ever to predict business outcomes, giving them a competitive advantage.
Read our next blog post “Is your retail business ready for a surge in online sales?” to learn exactly how Netpremacy can help you implement Google Cloud’s AI and machine learning technology into your business.
*Internet sales as a percentage of total retail sales (ratio) (%) https://www.ons.gov.uk/businessindustryandtrade/retailindustry/timeseries/j4mc/drsi
Using Google Workspace to keep your data secure and business protected.
We use Google Workspace in many ways to keep our organisations thriving, more now than ever before. Netpremacy is here to support your Google Journey, and in doing so, we support the security of your operations. With this in mind, we have put together some guidance and information to help you optimise your security posture.
There is a global shift now in adapting to a new way of working, ensuring our employees are productive, collaborating, and driving business whilst operating in a secure environment all whilst working remotely. Securing cloud environments is what we are dedicated to providing.
By delivering Security Workshops, webinars, regular updates, and articles we are ensuring that our Google Cloud customers are utilising their cloud investment to the highest level. Enterprise-level security, such as DLP, endpoint security, MDM, and log analysis are all available with Google Workspace. However, many security failures have been a result of the person or the process and not the technology. With all this in mind, we are investing our time and resources into ensuring all points of failure are assessed and mitigated against using Google Cloud Technologies and our expertise, whether that is the person, policy, process, or technology.
If you are operating the newly transformed Google Workspace, you will be aware of the vast security features available at your fingertips. With the majority of our workforce now facing remote working as a somewhat permanent measure, we need to look at securing not only the perimeter but the user, the endpoint, the access control, and ensuring data loss is no issue. Previously, working from home policies seemed alien to most security pods, posing unmanageable risks. However, as we are heavily invested in enterprise-level cloud solutions like that of Google Workspace, these security concerns are met with mitigating controls and processes to ensure peace of mind whilst staying compliant to regulating bodies and guidelines.
As discussed, the user has been given a bad press in former years due to lack of due diligence, mistakes, or failure to provide multiple authentications leading to significant breaches. Ensuring your users have a seamless process to access the services and documents they need to fulfil their employment duties is a must. Overcomplicating authentication and access controls can lead to user dissatisfaction and shadow IT. Authentication is heavily used across all Google Workspace features, having a strong authentication process ensures that the right data is being accessed by the right person on the correct device.
2 step verification reduces this risk greatly, by using the features available in Cloud Identity you can ensure all your users are providing additional verification processes and lowering your risk of unauthorized access to your company data. Google also provides security key enforcement offering another layer of security. This is a physical security verification process and sends an encrypted signature that only works with the access that it is provided, helping G Suite administrators to manage and monitor security keys at large and without having to install many different types of security software.
Moving on from the user, we look towards securing the device. If organisations have not already, there has been seen to be a huge uptake on device management solutions. Solutions on the market that are available to ensure the safety of company data when employees are remote working or using devices that are not owned by the company themselves, such as a BYOD policy. Being able to control what applications a user can utilise, to be able to lock the device down and wipe sensitive content if the device is lost or stolen has provided another layer of security to those companies who can operate outside of the traditional network structure. Google MDM is available in both Business and Enterprise SKUs, with a significant feature enhancement when looking into Enterprise, this provides what is usually a heavy investment with an alternative MDM provider included in your license commitment. Google was named a 2018 Gartner Peer Insights Customers Choice for Enteprise Mobility Management Suites.
There are many other features that enhance your cloud security posture with Google’s Suite, however, whilst security features are fundamental, regulated organisations need these security features to adhere to strict guidelines so their business can operate and expand. GDPR and ISO27001 are by far the most commonly adhered to guidelines in today’s data society. Google Cloud is compliant to GDPR guidelines as in most commonly known cases the data processor. Customers that utilise either Google Workspace or Google Cloud Platform take the role of the data controller, owning the data and must adhere to the data controller guidelines. GDPR has in essence given data protection and privacy and a dual-action approach, ensuring that cloud providers give assurances that data is protected in their environments and on the other hand the data controller ensures that the security processes around that environment are compliant with these regulations.
Google has recently announced new security features, one of these features being data protection insights. This is a step forward in being able to classify data, the location of that data, and in turn be able to report on that to make informed decisions surrounding protecting your organisation’s data and can be of assistance when complying with regulations such as ISO27001. ISO 27001 is an internationally recognised data protection standard, which looks at all areas of data protection, from the virtual, physical, software, policy, and process. Many organisations wanting to work with the central government or organisations that hold extremely sensitive information will be asked to adhere to this framework. However, this is usually not light work, with some projects taking longer than 6/12/18 months to complete and become certified. When using any Google Service, you will adhere to these guidelines automatically and your data in that environment will be continually monitored and improved under the ISO 27001 regulations.
In addition, Google has also recently announced that Google Workspace has received ISO 27701 certification alongside their 27001 and alternate data protection and privacy certifications. This being part of the ISO 27001 family, aligns directly with data privacy and provides guidance for implementing, maintaining, and continuously improving a Privacy Information Management System (PIMS). This relays back to GDPR considerably when looking into data protection laws and guidance. You can read more about the recent updates and security certifications here.
Although this article merely touches lightly on some of the features available to you with Google Cloud Services, there are many more. We carry out regular Security Workshops with our customers to ensure their environments are optimised to the highest level of security standards available.
We will be discussing this further on our Google Workspace Security Webinar which will take place on the 12th of November, covering a variety of security topics that have been highlighted in this article. We welcome customers and non-customers alike to join us to discuss this further.
Please contact me if you have any further queries around security: email@example.com
Since the start of 2020, businesses across the world have dramatically changed the way they work. Work itself is transforming in unprecedented ways. For many of us, work is no longer a physical place we go to, and interactions that used to take place in person are being rapidly digitized. This was at first a shock to many businesses, but as we have adapted we have found that working remotely has had so many positive effects on businesses, people, and much more.
Amidst this transformation, time is more fragmented—split between work and personal responsibilities—and human connections are more difficult than ever to establish and maintain.
These are unique challenges, but they also represent a significant opportunity to help people succeed in this highly distributed and increasingly digital world.
Google is uniquely positioned to help here, given its history and product innovation:
- First, over 2.6 billion users choose G Suite. Google has spent decades building products that are simple, easy to learn, and anticipate users’ needs.
- Second, Google products are all cloud-based, so they can innovate with speed and don’t have to worry about maintaining legacy desktop apps.
- And third, Google’s global infrastructure helps deliver consistent quality & reliability around the world.
How Google is evolving to meet the need:
As a result of these changes, Google is building on these strengths and their vision for the future, by introducing some exciting new developments. Google has changed what was formerly (G Suite) to Google Workspace. This represents the brand accurately as so many changes have been made through 2020 to develop a platform that is easy to collaborate on, all through one interface.
Now, everything you need to get anything done, is in one place. Google Workspace includes all of the productivity apps you know and love—Gmail, Calendar, Drive, Docs, Sheets, Slides, Meet, and many more. Whether you’re returning to the office, working from home, on the frontlines with your mobile device, or connecting with customers, Google Workspace is the best way to create, communicate, and collaborate.
To learn more about the new changes that Google are making, read their full announcement here.
How does Google Workspace help?
Google helps you get more done at work and at home—with communication and collaboration tools known and loved by billions of users, thoughtfully connected together. It’s a place for shared interests, projects, planning, and group work, with simplicity, ease of use, and helpful features that make any kind of work a little more satisfying. And it’s designed from the ground up with industry-leading security and privacy controls built-in — and powered by the cleanest cloud in the industry.
Top 3 benefits of Google Workspace
- Flexible: Designed for flexible, fluid, and fast collaboration – when, where, and how you need it.
- Helpful: Address what’s important & let Google handle the rest with best-in-class AI and search technology that helps you work smarter.
- Simple: An integrated workspace that’s simple and easy to use, so you spend less time figuring out how to manage your work and more time actually doing it.
Our role as a Google Cloud Premier Partner:
Netpremacy are always striving to work closely with our valued customers to ensure that they get the best out of their investment. Our goal is to help businesses across the UK to transform the way they work, for the better. Since the start of 2020, we have helped many customers to adapt to a new way of working.
“Businesses are looking for streamlined ways for teams to collaborate, connect, and get things done remotely – both today and in the future,” said Carolee Gearhart, Global Channel Chief at Google Cloud. “We’re thrilled to announce Google Workspace to help customers transform the way they work, and we look forward to working with our partners like Netpremacy to help organizations build a more connected future with Google Workspace.”
When the lockdown was announced, the DFS group decided to immediately close down all operations, pause deliveries, and halt manufacturing. DFS was then left with just an online presence, and had no other option than to furlough 5,000 members of staff across the UK. Read more on how DFS and Netpremacy worked together to ensure that the business was able to stay online and to keep the business running smoothly when the UK was first put into lockdown.
It’s not just current customers that Netpremacy has helped. Due to the pandemic, we have seen new relationships form with businesses across the UK. We first began to speak to Loxam when they urgently needed 100’s of Chrome devices to ensure that their whole company was able to work remotely.
They were rolled out and deployed within 3 days of delivery, so 200 members of the LOXAM PAD workforce were now fully operational and could continue working remotely. This rapid delivery and deployment is a testament to the hard work and effort the team at Netpremacy put into providing the right solution for their customers, and another great example of how Google’s browser first solutions have a real impact when it’s needed the most.
Read more on how we worked to get LOXAM PAD up and running in days.
Since the start of 2020, we have seen so many of our customers have to adapt quickly to ensure that they can run successfully through such challenging times. Now we have since run webinars demonstrating the new Google Workspace interface, which has been well received by our customers. We are already seeing fantastic adoption throughout, and have seen how this collaborative interface is having a positive impact on the way businesses are working, for the better.
Get started with Google Workspace
To celebrate the new launch of Google Workspace we are offering free of charge, our Google Workspace express onboarding package to allow your organisation to fully realise the potential of Google Cloud. This will cover topics such as;
- Data Migration
- Security Configuration
- Change Management
- General Best Practices
Adapting to a more digital world – Top tips to ensure you are set up to take your work home
Businesses around the world have been working remotely in a more permanent way for over 6 months now. To put that into perspective…that’s half of 2020. Now, in light of the Prime Minister’s recent announcement, it looks like working from home will continue long into 2020. We are over the initial shock to the system, but we need to keep on top of keeping our employees happy and motivated and start putting into place measures that are more permanent.
Netpremacy was born in the cloud, and working remotely is what we teach to other businesses across the country. Which is why we wanted to share our experience and best practices with businesses that were not traditionally used to remote working. Office culture has changed dramatically, however, employees’ mental health and wellbeing is important, as is keeping business running as usual.
Working from home has benefits and struggles you should consider:
- Increased productivity
- Reduced travel costs
- Reduced office maintenance costs
- Good for the environment
- Increased flexibility
- Good for the environment
- Difficult to unplug from work
- Different working environments
- Distractions at home
- Affects mental health
- Hard to stay motivated
Do you have the correct setup?
When the UK was sent home to work, it was done overnight in a panic. Businesses didn’t have a choice and had to ensure their employees were sent home to keep them, and the rest of the country safe.
Now we have started to adapt, more businesses have decided that working from home benefits them in several ways. Businesses are making the decision to keep this a more permanent solution, and we need to ensure that our employees have the correct setup and working environment. This can have a major impact on a person’s physical, and mental health. There are some simple steps that should help you and your employees to work comfortably and effectively.
Ensure that when working from home you have somewhere comfortable to sit, that supports your back and neck. Yes, it’s a novelty working from your bed, but how much goodwill that do your back in the long run? The answer is not a lot!
Working from a clean, and clutter-free environment is another way to ensure employee happiness. Make sure the area you are working in is free from distractions such as the TV, and is a clean space, to keep your mind clutter-free, and to create a productive environment in which to work.
Having a consistent spot that you “go to” every day to work helps your brain associate that spot with getting work done. Choose the same spot for a few days and your brain will learn that when you’re in that spot, you’re focused.
Customise your working environment, so that you feel comfortable and at home- make it a place you WANT to go to – just like you would at your desk at work!
Ensure that your MDM is set up correctly
Mobile Device Management is essential when working remotely, which is exactly why employers need to make sure that this is set up correctly so that company devices can be managed no matter where your employees are working. Through Google’s single console, your company is able to manage the entire enterprise mobility. This provides comprehensive protection whilst being easy to manage.
G Suite admins can now define custom rules that trigger on device events and have associated actions. When an event specified in a rule occurs on a device within your organisation with a G Suite Enterprise license, the corresponding action you have set will automatically be executed by Mobile Management.
• Easy for admins to enroll all company owned devices for MDM
• Easily enforce device-owner mode on multiple Android company-owned devices
• Not be dependent on the end-user to enable device-owner mode
• Gather info on each and every Android device/app accessing G Suite
Read more on how to ensure your MDM is set up correctly, or contact a member of our team who will be happy to help you get set up.
Keep your teams secure
Security is important, no matter where you are located. Luckily, much of the Google technology we use has many security features already built-in (learn more here). But it’s always a good idea to have multiple security procedures in place to keep your employees, and data, extra secure.
The challenge of remote working, when it comes to security, is that if something does go wrong, your IT team is not there to fix any issues. However, by utilising the Google Admin Control allows you to manage devices remotely, which is useful in a time where everyone has been sent home to work. Another suggestion would be to allow only company approved apps to be installed in the work profile, so your employees are not using apps on the work profile that your business has not approved. It is also recommended to set up dedicated work profiles that are isolated from personal apps, and you should make sure data sharing is restricted. These simple steps can help to keep your employees and your company data secure.
Setting up employee devices correctly is a fool-proof way of making sure data cannot be accessed by people outside your company. The data is encrypted, and in case the device is lost or stolen, it can be wiped remotely. The new Advanced Protection Programme is an added level of protection for users who are more likely to undergo security challenges. This uses security keys which prevents unauthorised access to your Google account and protects the user from harmful downloads. New updates and security features are automatically added, so it’s one less thing to think about.
Employees are generally kept safe from phishing attacks, as Gmail has in-built features that cleverly identifies and flags them; however, it is good practice to train employees, making them aware of what to look for and how to handle these types of cyberattacks.
Adhering to these suggestions will definitely help to keep your mind at ease, however, if you have any further queries or questions our support and security teams are available to help.
Regular communication & human interaction
It’s important to remember that everyone is in their own unique environment, which may make working from home more challenging. Some will have a dedicated office space, whilst others are working in a one-bedroom studio. Whatever your situation is, you need to make sure it works for you, whilst being able to communicate with your teammates.
Regular communication is important to stay motivated, and to keep up the morale too. Schedule catch-ups with your co-workers, so you are on top of your workload, but also socialising with the people who you usually spend most of your working week with.
Probably the most obvious, but it does get overlooked more often than not – take your lunch break! It can be quite difficult to cut off from work when you are in your own home, so step away from the computer, clear your head, and refresh. If you can spend your lunch break outside, that’s even better.
Keep things fun
Office culture differs with each organisation. Distractions in the office may make things difficult to get things done. Equally, you may find it easier to focus in the workplace more than anywhere else. No matter what you are used to, this is your opportunity to make things fun and make it work around you and your workload. Perhaps suggesting an online office quiz, or meeting up virtually on a Friday afternoon for a virtual drink will help keep things fresh!
Being successful in a digital environment is not just about getting the work done. Balancing health, both physical and mental, whilst having the right technology to communicate, collaborate, and keep your data secure is the key to allowing your business to excel.
Contact us and speak to one of our experts today about the technology we use in order to thrive in a digital world and remember to look after your mental health in times of uncertainty!
Netpremacy – building an environment for innovation
Netpremacy is a company that, day in and day out, uses some of the most innovative and forward-thinking tools going. We also use these solutions to help drive our customer base forward, helping them to achieve their strategic goals as a business by using technology as an enabler.
One thing we are really proud of and are constantly looking to develop and improve is our network focused on innovation. We love being involved in new exciting projects where technology is being used as a driver for something different. Que our relationship with FinTech North.
Since the start of 2020 Netpremacy and FinTech north have been working together to help bring innovation to the masses, constantly educating each other’s network, connecting people to people, business to business, and technology to solutions.
We’ve run a number of webinars focusing on how Google is creating a community of Fintech leaders, where their cloud platform is at the heart of this…. Who knew technology could be such an enabler! These webinars have covered topics such as how Google is building specific Finance solutions, all the way to how some of the largest FinTechs, such as Monzo, have revolutionised the support desk systems using big data tools such as BigQuery, and they were a huge success.
Netpremacy as a Google Cloud Premier Partner is constantly advising its customers on how to leverage the Google ecosystem and use the tools available in the most optimal way. We are keen to constantly evolve our role in the Fintech space and this is something that has only been strengthened by our relationship with FinTech North. This is exactly what helped theme our next webinar in partnership with them.
On the 29th September Netpremacy & FinTech north are partnering once again to create a network for innovation. We are bringing together start ups, established companies and those with simply an idea together to hear them “pitch” their business to industry experts. This is a great chance for the FinTech community to get together (albeit virtually) hear some new and exciting ideas and see what’s coming next from one of the most forward thinking and disruptive industries.
We’ll be hearing from the likes of: