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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Find answers to common questions from businesses about Google Apps.

How do the Google Apps for Business pricing plans work?

There are two pricing plans available for Google Apps for Business customers. You will have the option to choose one during billing setup.

  • Flexible Plan: You have the flexibility to add and delete user accounts at anytime for $5/user account/month (a total of $60/user account/year). You only pay for the service that you use during the month and will be billed at the end of each month.
  • Annual Plan: You commit to Google Apps for one year and get a discounted rate of $50/user account/year. You can add additional users anytime and will be billed at the end of each month for a portion of the annual commitment.

One user account is considered to be one email inbox. The rates are not per domain. For example, if you’re on the Flexible Plan, two email inboxes (user1@company.com, user2@company.com) would cost 2 x $5 = $10 per month. User aliases and domain aliases are not charged as additional user accounts.

Which pricing plan (Flexible or Annual) is right for me?

The right pricing plan is based on your unique needs. When making a decision, keep in mind the differences between the Flexible and Annual Plans:

  • Contract term: there is a one year contract with the Annual Plan and no contract with the Flexible Plan.
  • Price: the the Annual Plan is $50/user account/year and the Flexible Plan is $5/user account/month, totaling $60/user account/year.

We have found that contract term is important for companies with a variable workforce. For example, companies that offer vacation services may double in size during the summer months. The Flexible Plan would allow these companies to provide temporary employees with Google Apps and only pay for the service while it’s used. User accounts could be deleted when employees leave at the end of the summer.

When do I pay?

With the Flexible and Annual Plans, you will be charged at the end of each month.

We do not offer discounts on volume or bulk purchases.

I'm upgrading from Standard to Google Apps for Business. Will I be charged for my existing Google Apps user accounts?

When you upgrade your domain, all of your Google Apps user accounts will become Google Apps for Business user accounts. You will be charged for all of your user accounts.

Do I need to pay for forwarding mail?

No, you don't. You only need to pay for user accounts within Google Apps. To forward mail for your domain, you can use our email routing feature. Email routing allows you to create a mail rule to forward mail for user accounts that don't exist in Google Apps. However, you would have to maintain a separate server or mail system to handle the forwarding mail which may cost as much as purchasing user accounts in Google Apps.

Why should I switch my business to Google Apps for Business?

We've listened to many businesses share what's important to them in building and growing a healthy business. What we've found is that businesses are looking for a low-cost, reliable, and secure messaging and collaboration solution that supports their business rather than challenges it. If your business finds itself identifying with some of these challenges, then you might be interested in considering the Google Apps solution for your business.

Take a look at the business advantages of Google Apps that our customers have found out for themselves.

Business challenges:
  • Cost and resource-draining IT challenges, such as unreliable servers, setup and maintenance expenses, and operating a multi-OS environment
  • Small email inboxes
  • Virus attacks, Spam and phishing
  • Compliance to internal and external policies
  • Consumption of disk space
  • Inefficient sharing and collaboration

How Google Apps solves these business challenges:

  • Dramatically lowers your total cost of ownership with an annual $50 fee for each user account. No hidden maintenance or upgrade expenses - since Google hosts your data, we absorb those costs so that you don't have to.
  • Boost employee productivity with 25GB of storage per user - your employees can focus on their work rather than on their email quota.
  • Lean on our 99.9% service level agreement for email to make sure your business is up-and-running.
  • Share information, don't send it. Real-time document editing cuts down the hassle of sending email attachments and version confusion.
  • You're actually safer with Google Apps. Since your data is hosted on Google's reliable and redundant data centers, you can stop saving your corporate data on insecure devices, a leading cause of data security problems.
  • Better message control over what comes in and what goes out of your company with Google Apps' message security and administrative management controls.
  • Access anywhere, anytime you have an internet connection - whether on your mobile device, laptop, or computer in a multi-OS environment (PC, Mac, Linux).

Why should I use Google Apps instead of an on-premise mail solution like Microsoft® Exchange?

Google launched Google Apps for Business in February 2007, and we have seen an incredible rate of market adoption, including more than 4 million businesses. We are signing up over 5,000 businesses per day on the Google Apps platform. And let's not forget that Google Inc. itself is running its company of 20,000+ employees on Google Apps.

Our customers continue to find that Google Apps for Business is a great alternative of a hosted solution to other alternate on-premise solutions, such as Microsoft® Exchange. Here are some of their reasons why:

  • Lower cost: Google delivers Google Apps to your business over the Web at a fraction of the cost of installed systems. This means that Google Apps can provide a significantly lower total cost of ownership (TCO). Mailbox redundancy, infrastructure upgrades and infrastructure scaling are all handled behind the scenes by Google, so your business doesn't need to budget time and money for these projects.
  • Higher quality: Google Apps offers superior security, reliability, and storage space than most organizations can accomplish with an on-premises solution.
  • Improved usability: Google Apps provides the simple, intuitive interface so that there's minimal training resources involved for end-users.
  • Leader in Innovation: Google continues to demonstrate its industry leadership in terms of web-based innovation. Driving this platform forward, we have the leading computing platform and have assembled one of the strongest teams of computer scientists in the industry. As a Google Apps for Business customer you get to experience that innovation first-hand as product enhancements are rolled out on a regular basis.

To help your business make the switch to Google Apps easier, we've enabled a smooth IMAP migration from other platforms to Google Apps; this allows administrators to migrate a handful or a few thousand user mailboxes from an existing mail system to corresponding Google Apps mail accounts. We currently support migration from Microsoft® Exchange Server 2003, Cyrus IMAP Server, Courier-IMAP, and Dovecot via the IMAP protocol. IMAP migration is only available in Google Apps for Business.

 

How is Google Apps different from a free @gmail.com account?

Our Google Apps solution for businesses is a packaged product of Google's best messaging and collaboration applications, among which include Gmail™, Google Talk, Google Calendar, Google Docs, Google Sites, and Google Video.

You may have had experience using many of these applications with your user@gmail.com account, and while these applications are similar, we have enhanced them in Google Apps for Business with these critical differences:

1. Google Apps is for your business

When you sign up for Google Apps for your business, you sign up with your own company domain name. So rather than having a user@gmail.com email address, you would create or maintain a company email address such as user@company.com. There is an IT administrative control panel that is built into Google Apps for your business where an IT administrator can manage and control the user accounts across your company domain.

2. Enhanced business-oriented features

Though our product engineers are continually enhancing our Google applications for our free consumers, they are also adding separate, enhanced features to the Google Apps applications that are more oriented for business purposes. Here are just a few things you can do in Google Apps for your business that's not available in our free consumer applications:

  • Increased Access Controls: Puts your company in control of how your information is shared and communicated outside of your domain.
  • Gmail: Saves all your corporate information with improved mailing list capabilities, and increased mail thresholds
  • Google Sites: Understanding that a company intranet and shared documentation is so critical to success, optimized to provide you with the right storage quotas to address your business needs
  • Google Calendar: Enables conference room and resource sharing, allowing you to schedule office conference rooms or other shared resources in your office.
  • Google Video: Share internal videos with your company quickly without the complex overhead of many other systems

How secure and private is my data if I switch over to Google Apps?

We understand that employees want to be able to work where they want when they want, to do so they are taking the data with them. Businesses are finding themselves in the position where more and more employees are burning corporate data onto CD/DVD, thumb drives, putting data on their home machines to work on in the evenings and weekends. This has created serious security concerns, because not only do these incidents expose the data to unwanted eyes but often times we lose the data permanently since much of data resides on laptops or desktops.

As such, we take the privacy and security of our Google Apps customer data very seriously. Security is core to our DNA at Google. Google products are designed with security considerations upfront, not as afterthoughts, and our Security team is comprised of some of the world’s leading experts in information, application and network security. Google’s infrastructure is composed of tens of thousands of identical systems, and they have custom built hardware. Google’s machines are built on a custom Linux software stack that is hardened and only has the necessary components and services to run the Google requirements, making it easy to uniformly update of all systems. Each single piece of data is replicated in multiple datacenters, so your Google Apps email is replicated to a primary and a backup data center that are replicated in real time. Google also undergo regular security reviews by third parties and SSAE 16 audits by an independent third party.

We fully believe in the security of our Google Apps environment that we store our own Google corporate data in the same environment.

Also keep in mind the following:
  • Google does not claim ownership of your data.
  • We don't share your data except as strictly outlined in our Privacy Policy.
  • We keep the data as long as you want.
  • We delete the data when you ask.
  • We allow you to take the data out of our system if you decide to switch to a different solution, or if you want to use your data in another application or integrate with other systems.

For more information on Google's privacy policy, please visit our privacy center.

To learn more about Google Apps security, explore our security overview or our detailed security FAQs .

What type of support options are available to Google Apps for Business customers?

For general questions or technical assistance, just send LNC an email or call us and we will be happy to assist you.

What about other business needs like customer management, accounting and payroll? Can Google Apps help?

In addition to messaging and collaboration solutions like Gmail and Docs, Google Apps also gives you access to a large variety of additional enterprise applications through the Google Apps Marketplace. These applications can help you with your most common business functions like sales, marketing and finance. Many applications can directly interoperate with Gmail, Calendar, Docs and contacts, helping you to do your work faster and more efficiently.

I want to help my company move to Google Apps, but I need to convince my company's IT decision-makers. What can I do?

LNC understands the importance of this decision and is prepared to send a team to come to your office with PowerPoint presentations and other resources to help convince  your company's decision-makers on the benefits, savings and cost of using Google Apps.

I want to sign up for Google Apps with my own domain name. Is this possible?

Absolutely. If you already have a company domain name, or need to create a new one, Google Apps can meet your needs. Each user at your domain will get a Google Apps account branded with your own domain name. Email addresses take the format 'username@yourdomain.com.'

Does Google host websites too?

Google Sites is designed to make it easy for employees to create and collaborate on internal sites for their projects, teams and departments. You can also make a public website with Google Sites, but most businesses prefer to go with a traditional web hosting solution for their public sites.

If you're looking for more dynamic or advanced web solutions for your public web site, you may want to run Google Apps in addition to a web host. Any web host that provides the technology or platform you need to run your services should work with Google Apps

How can I test out Google Apps?

To test out Google Apps talk to LNC so we can create a demo account with all the services which you can try out for 7 days after which the account will be suspended.  

Can I run an on-premise solution like Microsoft Exchange alongside Google Apps?

Businesses who want to run an on-premise email solution alongside Google Apps are looking to either:

1. Test Google Apps while running their existing mail solution as an interim transitional step between a on-premises email solution and a full hosted email solution.

2. Use Google Apps as a back-up to their on-premise solution, such as Exchange

Both scenarios are definitely possible with Google Apps. Google Apps for Business generally provides the flexibility to do whatever you need to do with your email, it's just a question of how much configuration you have to do on your end for your specific business needs. Once everything is in place, and incoming/outgoing email is being captured in Google Apps, you will be able to move over seamlessly to Google Apps should the need arise. We think that as you come to be comfortable with the cost, reliability, and convenience of Google-hosted email, you and your users will be able to transition over to Google Apps as a complete solution.

You can either :

a) route your domain's mail with an MX record change directly to Google Apps, and have it delivered to Google Apps mailboxes, and then passed onto your existing server,

or

b) set up an intermediary mail gateway that can dual-deliver mail to both Google Apps and your existing mail server. This should ensure that incoming mail is available in both systems.

For outbound mail, you will have to set up your existing mail system to send your domain's mail through Google Apps.

Google provide you with a directory sync tool via a Single-Sign-On (SSO) API so that your business' active directory integrates seamlessly alongside Google Apps. Google Apps Single Sign-on API lets you:

  • Integrate your own authentication or LDAP system with Google Apps and securely login your users to Google Apps based on your own security standards
  • Integrate with leading web single sign on systems, or facilitate authentication via Active Directory or other directory servers.
  • Integrate Google Apps with websites that have their own username and authentication mechanisms, eliminating the need for users to log in multiple times.

If you are interested in deploying Google Apps, but require SSO or LDAP integration, we recommend one of two solutions:

1. You can use the SSO API to sync users' names and passwords when a user sets them on your system. While this will not keep your users' passwords exactly in sync, it does allow our system to have the same password as your sso. This also allows for increased access to our system beyond the web interface.

2. Google Apps' SAML 2.0-based SSO integration allows you to hold all your users' accounts and passwords without the need for Google Apps to hold any user passwords.

*If you need direct technical support with this deployment scenario, explore the professional services offered by our partners in the Google Apps Marketplace.

Access requirements

You can access Gmail wherever you have an Internet connection via a PC, Linux, or Macintosh (Mac) computer. To take advantage of the newest Gmail features, you'll need to use one of the following fully supported browsers: Google Chrome, Firefox 2.0+, Internet Explorer 6.0+ (Google recommend Internet Explorer 7.0 for the best experience, and you'll need it to use Gmail labs and Themes.), Safari 3.0 The following browsers are not tested by Google, but believe they will work with all of Gmail's features: Opera 9.5+ You can also get access Gmail -- but you won't have some of the latest features -- with any of the following browsers: IE 5.5+ , Netscape 7.1+) , Mozilla 1.4+, Firefox 0.8+, Safari 1.3+ If you use a browser other than those listed above, you'll be automatically directed to the basic HTML view of Gmail. Basic HTML view works with the following browsers, as well as many others: IE 4.0+ , Netscape 4.07+, Opera 6.03+ Regardless of your browser type, you must have cookies enabled to use Gmail. If your browser supports it, also enable JavaScript.