One of the goals of our company has always been to keep as much of our data on the web as possible, preventing the loss of a single computer from hurting us, and making it simple for anyone to get up and running on a new machine in minutes. We’ve also always tried to have redundant backups of everything. However unlikely, it’s always possible that the worst case emergency scenario can happen.
Back in 2008 we migrated all of our email to Google Apps. Along with email, we also moved all of our documents and wikis. It’s almost impossible to quantify how well this has worked, between the time-savings, cost-savings, and collaborative features. I almost can’t imagine running an organization without it. Over the past few years the Google Apps Blog has done countless stories on large companies and organizations, including many governments and municipalities, who have ditched all of the costs of hosting their own email and documents in favor of Google.
For a long time we’ve been planning to upgrade from the free version to the Permiere version, which costs $50 per year per user, and offers features like more email storage, more business security features like forced SSL, a 99% uptime guarantee, and 24×7 support. These things aren’t necessary when you’re first starting out, but there comes a point where $50/year/user is a ridiculously cheap price to pay for those things. I’m a big believer in “you get what you pay for”, especially in business. You can only get just so mad when a free service goes down or temporarily loses a little of your data or doesn’t respond to a question you have. We’re at the point now though where we can’t afford to have those things happen. A day without email would be close to catastrophic, which is why we’ve now upgraded.
We also upgraded because we’re in the middle of a massive overhaul of how we do email, particularly how we handle customer service, in preparation for hiring a customer service employee soon. We’re planning on using even more of the Google Apps functionality in our day-to-day workflow, which just heightens the need for all of those things that the Premiere account offers.
Of course, Google and Gmail have had their fair share of outages and data loss, so we’ve also signed up for Backupify, which automatically backs up everything in our Google Apps (and Flickr and other services) for $19.99/month. In an absolute worst case scenario, like if Google ceased to exist, we could be back up and running in less than a day with very little data lost. Another no brainer for us at this stage in the game.
When I was completing the sign up process, I had a moment where I thought “I’m also happy that we’re paying because this is a way to pay Google back for all of the great free stuff they’ve made available to our business”. Of course, then I thought about all of those services and realized that over the years we’ve paid G a boatload of money for AdWords…so maybe I’ll just stick with all of those other reasons for upgrading.