Archives for Blog

Device Management Updates to Google Apps Admin console

Some new device management features have been added to the Google Apps Admin console:

  • Admins can now place lost or stolen devices in a disabled state and display a custom message on the disabled device screens.
  • The search feature in the device list now accepts partial matches for serial numbers.
  • A new user policy is available to determine which users have permission to enroll new or deprovisioned devices. Devices that are on the forced re-enrollment screen can still be enrolled by any user in the organization.
  • Deprovisioned devices are no longer blocked from enrollment, now that there is a user policy to control enrollment permissions. As a result, there is no longer a need to place
    devices in the “Pending” status in the device list.
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Power BI for iPhone and iPad introduces data driven alerts and annotations

The Power BI for iOS app, is now publicly available on the App Store and offers an easy, intuitive, touch optimized experience for monitoring your business data on your iPad or iPhone.

You can easily view your Power BI dashboards, interact with charts and tiles, explore additional data by browsing through Power View reports, and share insights with your colleagues for immediate action.

The new Data Driven Alerts capability from your iPhone app allows you to create your own personal data alerts in seconds and be notified when something interesting happens such as a significant change in a key metric.

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Google Groups for Business data now available in Google Takeout

Google Takeout is a fantastic way to export user data. Takeout creates an archive of data from a user’s Google products. This can then be used for backup purposes or to migrate to another cloud solution. Google Takeout is already available for many Google services including Gmail, Drive, and Calendar. Announced today is the addition of Google Groups for Business.

The addition of Groups for Business to Takeout allows group owners to download a JSON file containing a list of member email addresses for each group that they own when using the Takeout service. This includes any groups created in the Admin console as well as those created in Google Groups for Business. As of yet, this does not allow for the download of messages from the groups directly.

Google Apps administrators can enable or disable the Takeout service via the Admin console at: Apps Additional Google Services. If you cannot see Google Takeout in the list of services, click on the filter icon and uncheck Show top featured services.

You can learn more about Google Takeout in the Help Center

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OneNote for iPhone update adds notification center widget

OneNote iPhone widgetMicrosoft have just released a new update to the OneNote app for iPhone. This release takes advantage of the ability to install widgets in the Notification Center, a key productivity enabling feature which was released in iOS 8.

The OneNote widget allows you to quickly glance at your most recent notes in from the Notification Center, as well as allowing you to perform quick actions such as creating a new note, list or image capture.

This release also coincides with updates to the new updates for the iPad and Mac OneNote apps which predominantly focus on bug fixes and performance improvements.

You can learn more about these updates here.

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Google for Work improves protected sheets and ranges in Google Sheets

Protected sheets and ranges improvements in Google SheetsThe Google for Work team are launching a number of improvements to the protected sheets and ranges functionality in Google Sheets, providing faster and more fine grained controls for locking down sections of content in spreadsheets.

Key improvements include:

  • The ability to lock down all content in a sheet except for a particular cell or range.
  • Quicker set up with the ability to re-use the same permissions previously used on a different set of cells.
  • The ability to lock down a sheet or range to only a single person, a small number of people or a domain.

This is rolling out to rapid release today and scheduled release in two weeks time.

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Google for Work updates mobile apps for Docs, Sheets and Slides

Group Objects In SlidesThe Google for Work team have just announced Android and iOS updates for Docs, Sheets and Slides enhancing worker productivity when mobile by enabling greater content creation capability, increased security and improved accessibility. The new features include:

  • Real-time spell-checking in documents.
  • The ability to hide rows and columns in spreadsheets.
  • Enabling shapes to be grouped in presentations.
  • The ability to unlock Docs, Sheets and Slides app with Touch Id on iOS.
  • Screen-reading support for TalkBack on Android and VoiceOver on iOS in Docs, Sheets and Slides.
  • Improved screen magnification support on both iOS and Android.

These updated are rolling out now to both app stores so look out for update notifications on your mobile devices.

You can learn more here.

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What’s new in Information Security and Compliance with Office 365

In this video, Asaf Kashi, the information protection engineering lead for Office 365, explains the key principles of data security and compliance along with the controls that are available for administrators, end users and compliance officers. He discusses how the built-in controls in Office 365 for Data Loss Prevention – including the new document fingerprinting functionality – can help inform end users of policies and prevent data from being compromised. Asaf also discusses the capabilities of Office 365 Message Encryption and demonstrates how encrypted and branded messages can be used by anyone.

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Why Damson Cloud is attending Web Summit 2014

Dublin Web Summit

A little about us

I have worked in the IT industry in Ireland for over a decade. When I started my career, dial up modems were still common, cloud computing wasn’t a buzz word and Paddy Cosgrave hadn’t invented the Web Summit yet.  Over the years our business has gone through many phases, from humble beginnings in my bedroom to managing in-house servers around Dublin and now a pure cloud business with over 200+ customers around the world.   Its been a journey and not always a smooth one but we are still here and growing every year.

Putting Dublin on the Map

Over this same time I have watched Dublin change too and become a hub of the tech community both in Ireland and internationally.   We have seen tech giants like Google, Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin put Ireland on the tech map.  We have seen the startup community grow from small beginnings with incubators like the Guinness Store House and in more recent times, Dogpatch Labs and Wayra to name just a few.  Finally, events like Web Summit have focused the spotlight on Dublin and proven that startups don’t just happen in Silicon Valley and that although we may not have the weather, Ireland is a pretty cool place to put your startup.  Plus we’re always up for a bit of craic and a pint.

Why is this our first summit? 

Like our own business Web Summit started off as something else, in fact it even had a different name and logo.  As it has matured its grown into an event that everyone can be part of.  From a personal stand point I have wanted to attend Web Summit for the last few years but from a business point of view it made little sense with Web Summit’s main focus being startups and investors.  This year however I was delighted to discover that Web Summit would be expanding once again and adding more strings to its bow.  With the addition of Enterprise Summit, Sports Summit, Food Summit, Surf Summit and more it was obvious that Paddy and the team wanted this to be an inclusive event that everyone had a reason to attend.  Finally we were thrilled to also hear that our most important partner Google would be involved in the Enterprise Summit this year as well.  Further cementing our belief that Web Summit can be of value to organisations within the enterprise space.

For me as an Irishman and Dubliner I am proud of what has been achieved from our little island and capital.  I am excited to finally see for myself what Web Summit has to offer and that the Damson Cloud team will be attending for the first time.   I look forward to three days of inspiring talks, open debates and discussions on the future of a diverse range of technologies and industries and being part of the next phase in Web Summits growth.  If you would like to grab a coffee or pint over the next few days feel free to reach out to myself or one of our team we’d love to chat.

Fintan Murphy

@fintanmurphy

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This Month in Google Apps For Business – April 2014

 

This month I was delighted to be invited as a guest on the This Month in Google Apps Hangout on Air which is run by James Kimbley  of Kimbley IT and Owen Kane of KRS Multimedia Solutions.  We also had Robert Baker, well known in the Google Apps community for developing General Audit Tool join us as well.  We had some great discussions on a variety of topics ranging from add ons for Google Apps to the Windows XP end of life situation and how to get a FREE Regus Gold Card!


Ways to add value to Google Apps

–  General Audit Tool for Google Apps – https://generalaudittool.com
-  Better Cloud’s survey: These 40 Stats Will Change the Way You Think About Google Apps.   
–  Becoming a Premier partner and building a relationship with Google
-  End of Windows XP – XP special offer from Google


New Features

–  Free GoToMeeting – http://free.gotomeeting.com
–  Chrome Browser Policies on mobile – http://youtu.be/V9jgiYHQeeQ?t=14m20s
–  Softwatch tool – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UYGyWy06FTg

Best Practices

–  Add on such as General Audit Tool, Flashpanel, Backupify
–  Security and sharing policies
–  Synergyse eLearning environment and change management

End of Show Tips

–  Building a network of partners to help your customers leverage the most from the Google Enterprise ecosystem
–  Get a FREE Regus Gold Card with Tripit Pro – https://www.tripit.com/pro/features/vip

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Add-ons for Google Docs & Sheets

add-onsmenuYou already use Google Docs and Sheets, but from today, Google gave their productivity suite a whole lot more bang for your buck.  Add-ons are new tools created by developer partners giving you even more features in your documents and spreadsheets.  To take a look, simply select “Get Add-ons” from the Add-ons menu in any open document or spreadsheet.  Once installed, it immediately becomes available across all your existing documents or spreadsheets and you can take full advantage straight away.

To give you a small taste of what’s new; here are a few examples of how these tools can help you do more:

Get approvals from Docs and Sheets
Get your documents and spreadsheets reviewed and approved without paperwork and emails, with the “Letter Feed Workflow”.  The innovative tool allows your documents to be circulated to the appropriate people and adds a simple “Approve” button right inside the document or spreadsheet.  You receive notification as soon as your document is approved, and you can then publish the final version with a single click.

Send customised emails
It’s never been easier to create a newsletter or bulk email list.  Using “Merge” (by Mailchimp) you can create and send customised emails right from Google Docs.  Simply pull the relevant data from a spreadsheet using “merge tags” and insert into your document.  Once merged, all you have to do is hit send.

Google Apps Script
You can now create your own, bespoke add-ons with this clever tool.  Whatever your organisation can dream up – you can now build it with Script.  If you would like to talk to one of our Google Apps Script experts then get in touch.

USEFUL TIP: If your Google Apps admin console is set at Scheduled release, the add-ons will come through in a couple of weeks. Switching to Rapid release will enable you to see the add-ons immediately (note: you will need to have the recent release of Google Sheets to see the add-ons).

Source: Google Enterprise Blog 

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The Google Global Partner Summit 2014

Global Partner SummitDamson Cloud headed off to the second annual Google Global Partner Summit, which proved to be extremely informative, engaging – and also quite exciting.  With over 700 delegates in attendance from across the world, this was a truly global experience; and Google took this opportunity to reveal some significant announcements.  Google Apps Partners now exceed 10,000 including companies from Japan, Latin America, Australia, the USA, UK and Europe.  To manage this growth, Google is introducing a “technology track” for the Google Apps Partner Program, which will reap huge benefits for all Google Apps Partners.  We thought we’d share some of our highlights from the summit in the short video below:

On a more personal level, the summit provided a unique forum for networking and discussion amongst our peer groups.  Many stimulating conversations were held during the summit and we are looking forward to continuing these discussions and nurturing new strategies and development as the year progresses.

There is no doubt that we are excited about what 2014 will bring – not just for Damson Cloud, but for the entire partner ecosystem.  Every business we transform with Google Apps is a win for every partner who has invested time, money and expertise in the Google products.  Thanks to all the partners who made the event such a wonderful and motivating experience, and we look forward to seeing you all next year.

Fintan Murphy, CEO, Damson Cloud

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Damson Cloud extend SMB reach with acquisition of Curious IT

Curious IT Acquisition

Damson Cloud is pleased to announce the acquisition of Curious IT, a Google Apps partner based in Ireland. Having experienced significant growth during 2013, we felt it was strategically expedient to strengthen our European SMB presence, and extend and improve our capability in both the SMB and Enterprise sectors.

History
Two years ago, Damson Cloud merged with another top Google partner, Catalystic, which gave the company a strong foothold in the UK market and an off-shore development team based in India.  Since then, we have secured a larger market share and several international clients including Shazam and STA Travel.

This new acquisition positions Damson Cloud to expand its reach in the European market, and boosts the team to over a dozen staff across Ireland, the UK and India.  CEO, Fintan Murphy believes “the UK market, in particular has reached the tipping point in cloud computing adoption and we anticipate that this trend will only accelerate. As the adoption of cloud computing in the UK matures, we are seeing businesses leveraging the capabilities that a cloud platform delivers to their organisations in terms of innovation, accessibility and productivity.”

The deal enhances Damson Cloud’s capacity to operate at an international level, an important factor given the recent report from IDC which estimates that companies in Western Europe will consume approximately $18 billion in public cloud services by 2016.

Benefits of acquiring Curious IT
This acquisition has enabled Damson Cloud to attain a Google Premier Partner status and see’s it poised to extend its operations into the larger, Enterprise clientele without adversely impacting existing commitments to SMB.

Curious IT, with its SMB sector experience and strong leadership team, will continue to deliver exceptional expertise to SMB focused solutions throughout Europe; and indicates Damson Cloud’s continued commitment to SMB.

Existing and future clients will profit from newly dedicated resources focusing on developing Apps for SMB, Enterprise, Google Cloud Platform and the rapidly growing Google Chrome ecosystem.

The Future
As a Premier Google Partner and established provider with over 200 successful Google Apps deployments to date, Damson Cloud is well positioned to take advantage of the increased demand for cloud-based solutions and interest in Google Apps.  We are committed to sharing our knowledge and expertise with our growing client base, and believe that Google continues to be the most innovative Cloud provider in the industry.  With the Curious IT team on-board, we can work alongside more businesses as they Go Google.

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FlashPanel Webinar October 2013

BetterCloud’s community manager Eli Winderbaum will take you through the different stages of managing users in FlashPanel, the essential admin tool for Google Apps. Whether you need to provision new users, configure email settings, setup Drive sharing policies, or deprovision users when they leave, FlashPanel has you covered and makes all of these tasks easier.

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Barnsley Hospice delivers efficiency with Google Apps

Barnsley Hospice Logo


At a Glance

What they wanted

  • Manage communication across multiple sites
  • Migrate to a cloud-based solution
  • Improve accessibility whilst maintaining security

What they did

  • Deployed Google Apps
  • Deployed Google Docs
  • Deployed Google Sites

What they accomplished

  • Organisation-wide communication
  • Improved efficiency
  • Secure sharing and collaboration across 11 sites

Barnsley Hospice is a charity that provides specialist palliative care and support to hundreds of local people and their families each year.  Formed in 1985, their key objective is to achieve the best possible quality of life for patients with a life limiting illness, whilst supporting their families, during the period of illness and bereavement.  As a specialist care provider, the range of skills offered include, pain and symptom management, emotional support and end of life care.

The hospice is able to provide a comprehensive, seamless service to its patients through its close working relationship with Barnsley Hospital and community based palliative care providers such as Macmillan nurses, district nurses, and general practitioners.  It has developed links with physiotherapy, occupational therapy, dietician services and the Social Services Department to further enhance the overall provision of care; and also provides an ‘out of hours’ telephone advice line for service users.

Challenges
As a non-profit charity, Barnsley Hospice has to raise over £2 million each year just to keep its services running.  This entails not just employing specialist nurses and doctors, but also to manage fundraising activities, retail staff, plus some 400 volunteers – making it a hugely complex organisation.

The hospice was looking for a flexible, sustainable and economical solution that would enable their 500+ staff and volunteers access to information from any location across the UK.  They also wanted guaranteed uptime with minimal ongoing maintenance and operational costs.  Ian Carey, Chief Executive of the Barnsley Hospice said: “There is a lot of flexible working, the hospice operates 24/7 and the healthcare regulatory framework involves a lot bureaucracy. The hospice needed a solution that would make it easy to share information and encourage joint working on projects.”

The key challenge was not only to provide a financially feasible and robust system for the hospice, but to enable the organisation to truly collaborate and share information across 11 sites.

Solution
After a detailed consultation, the hospice chose to deploy Google Apps for Business as its solution, as it would not only allowed them to standardise their email, implement a robust anti-spam and malware functionality, but also enabled the business to organise itself more productively using calendars.

Damson Cloud was on hand during the implementation phase, assisting on site with the safe migration of data and setup of the new system.

Change Management was imperative to the success of the project, particularly as many of the staff within the organisation lacked technical skills.  “Some of our staff had never had email”, the Chief Executive admitted, adding “The easy to use Google Apps interface made our transition smoother.”

Result
Barnsley hospice is now using Google Apps for Business on a daily basis, having rolled out the system across all 11 of its sites.  The initial pilot scheme which began in 2009 was initially focused on providing email and calendar functionality; now however, Google Apps is the first choice for all documentation and spreadsheet creation within the business.

With over 130 users, some of which are regular home workers, collaboration and sharing of documentation has both improved productivity and quality across the organisation.  Whilst the development of a hospice intranet, using Google Sites, has resulted in a significant improvement in terms of communication across the business: allowing internal news and policies to be more accessible than ever.  Google forms are being increasingly used to capture important data, and the in-built analytics has proved to be highly beneficial to compiling and reviewing this information.  Performance indicators and the hospice’s financial management accounts are now all done using Google Spreadsheets and can be shared securely and quickly with just a few mouse clicks.

The Chief Executive, Ian Carey was impressed with the immediate and long-term results, stating: “All the development has been done easily in-house, resulting in more resourced being devoted to patient care, which for our patients is very important.”

 

 

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Smart Solutions employ smart Google Apps

Smart Solutions Recruitment Logo


At a Glance

What they wanted

  • Rapidly scaleable IT system
  • Improve efficiency of infrastructure
  • Improve accessibility whilst maintaining security
  • Reduce IT operational costs

What they did

  • Deployed Google Apps
  • Deployed Google Docs
  • Deployed Google Apps Script

What they accomplished

  • A system that can grow with them
  • Increased productivity through better collaboration
  • Improved Email uptime and reliability
  • Significantly reduced their IT spend per capita.



Smart Solutions Recruitment is one of the UK’s fastest growing independent recruitment companies.  Its reputation for creating bespoke staffing packages for their service sectors has earned them a place in the “Wales Fast Growth 50” list for the last three years.  The company is managed by a team of highly experienced recruitment specialists and senior operational staff, many of whom have worked within the industries in which they now recruit.

Challenges

Having experienced rapid growth over the past 3 years, Smart Solution Recruitment’s existing IT infrastructure was struggling to keep up with its 130+ users across 17 sites.  The organisation was suffering with reoccurring email outages, causing a severe loss in employee productivity.  “When I joined Smart Solutions, they didn’t have an IT department, but did have an unreliable MS Small Business Server” reported Mark Williams, IT Manager.

The company was also hindered by a lack of a secure site to site means of communication, such as VPN; meaning that sharing documents electronically was performed via email or fax.  Inevitably, this resulted in issues with multiple master documents throughout the ever-expanding business, and a need to have a facility to enable true collaboration across the organisation.

The challenges were to provide a solution that would allow the entire organisation to share documents, email, calendars, as well as provide protection from spam and malware.  The business wanted low overheads in terms of staff administration and low implementation and operational costs going forward.

Solution

Smart Solutions Recruitment felt that Google Apps offered their business the flexibility that their growing company needed.  “Google Apps fitted the bill perfectly,” explained Mark Williams, “with Google Apps we were able to expand our email requirements at short notice, without the worry of upgrading our hardware.”

Damson Cloud oversaw the deployment of Google Apps for the business, ensuring a seamless transition from their old system.

Result

The business has reported an increased level of collaboration through its use of Google Apps, as well as a decrease in the total cost of ownership for an enterprise email solution.  Documentation is now shared using Google’s cloud platform, dramatically improving accessibility for staff across all sites.  With a 99.99% uptime over the past 3 years, Smart Solutions Recruitment has not had to worry about downtime, server maintenance or upgrade costs.

Google Apps Scripts have proved to be a particular benefit to the business, with the business now automating numerous workflows using Google Spreadsheets and App Scripts – with help from Damson Cloud.  Mark Williams, IT Manager has reported “increasing productivity” as a result of leveraging this added functionality from Google Apps.

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Google Apps delivers data in the field for Visual ID

Visual ID Logo

 


At a Glance

What they wanted

  • Improve accessibility to information
  • Ability to collaborate effectively from multiple locations
  • Improve data backup facility

What they did

  • Deployed Google Apps

What they accomplished

  • Secure access to data from anywhere
  • Ability to share and collaborate on documents
  • Eliminated data backup concerns

Founded by Pier Kuipers and David Mc Donnell, Visual ID is Ireland’s market leader providing Digital Asset Management solutions to its clients since 1998.  As an independent supplier, Visual ID has no ties to advertising agencies, printers or publishers and is impartial to the creative content or intellectual property rights associated with their clients’ resources.

Visual ID offers businesses a secure and reliable, fully customisable product that provides an efficient storage, management and distribution system for digital files.  Visual ID’s cloud technology provides effective digital brand management for their clients, with the capability to manage the production of promotional material and literature at Head office, Store, Agent or Franchisee level for print and digital use.  They specialise in on-line solutions for industries with world-wide memberships, networks and franchisees.

Challenges

With many of their employees spending time in the field; travelling to client locations to provide both training and attending customer meetings, improved accessibility to information such as email, calendars and documents was crucial.  The ability to easily collaborate on documents from anywhere in the country is also a vital element of their business and Piers Kuipers, CIO said “Collaboration and remote access to our information was a key factor in deciding which system to use.”

Solution

As a supplier of software themselves, Visual ID knew exactly what they needed.  Google’s cloud solution would enable them to reduce the cost of ownership, and benefit from large storage and enterprise security features.  This made Google Apps a natural and easy choice for the company.  “Damson Cloud made the transition seamless,” remarked David McDonnell, Managing Director, adding “they deployed Google Apps in an afternoon and provided on-site training for our staff as well as after-sales support.”

Result

Visual ID has already begun to reap the rewards of deploying Google Apps.  Employees can now work from home or from any location, just as easily as from the office.  Sharing and collaborating on documents has become an effortless part of daily working life – having transformed the way the company communicates.  Data backup is no longer a concern, thanks to their Google cloud platform solution; ensuring that all their information is accessible, secure and always there when they need it.

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