5 Ways to Expand Team Capabilities With Google Cloud & Workspace

Posted by Danny St. Onge & Luke Gallagher

Oct 24, 2022

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The way we work continues to evolve, and improving productivity remains a top priority for organizations. Even with the abundance of gadgets and technology that exist, many of the tools people use are failing them. It’s not for lack of effort, though. Organizations are investing in and relying on multiple technologies for their day-to-day operations. The result: more time that employees have to spend switching between different platforms and tabs, which disrupts workflow and creates unnecessary stress. This scenario is also a common catalyst for shadow IT—where employees use hardware, software or cloud services that they feel more comfortable with or without the IT department’s knowledge or approval.  

Research indicates that workers are using three times the number of tools their employers know about, and an average of over 50% of IT spend is going to manage shadow IT.1

If you can drive operational efficiencies using incremental changes to your employees’ ecosystem of tools, then you can gain actual returns on investment rather than simply providing IT services that continue to enable the whims of the worker. 

Here are five key use cases that your company can leverage to drive greater security, productivity and cost savings:

 

1. Start with security: Zero-Trust model

Because there are so many services out there, many organizations wind up with a  patchwork of security solutions with multiple scales of authentication and no overarching trust model to secure it. That can drive significantly higher-than-necessary administrative overhead. But there is a way to both democratize and centralize security through Google BeyondCorp. By giving access controls to individual users, BeyondCorp enables them to work securely from anywhere without a traditional VPN.

That’s right, BeyondCorp doesn’t require a traditional VPN. Traditionally, companies have been hesitant to adopt democratized access—even if it meant putting up with slow and inconsistent VPN connections—because they felt it meant sacrificing a level of protection or control. But that’s not the case. To make security more convenient, BeyondCorp also allows for single sign-on, access control policies and access proxy and user- and device-based authentication and authorization. So you solve the authentication issues without the potential slowdowns of a VPN.

 

2. Make both time and cloud infrastructure billable

Just like time and materials, cloud infrastructure is a critical part of any business; it should be generating measurable and billable income. But how do teams measure the cloud resources used for accurate billing? Onix OnSpend transforms your Google Cloud use into a revenue center. It’s a billing analytics tool that efficiently and effectively manages your Google Cloud Platform and Google Maps account, budget and billing processes by visualizing your cloud usage and equating that usage to cost. Onix OnSpend allows you to bill with confidence that you are maintaining your margins.

To track real-time billing and insights and ensure projects don’t exceed budgetary thresholds, simply collect billing information in BigQuery to create visualizations of your budget burn that update in real time.

 

3. Corral and channel the Wild West of tool adoption

Democratized productivity is naturally difficult to track. It can be tough to get visibility on who’s getting more out of which tools and what the adoption trends are within your organization. By importing Workspace logs to BigQuery, you’ll be able to quickly see who within your organization is adopting which Google Workspace tools. You can also see which third-party tools employees are using to access your Workspace data. This will then help inform which tools to roll out, at what pace and to which business units. 

Concerned about gaps in training or availability? User acceptance testing can help. You can also quickly look at troubleshooting tickets to pinpoint identity and access issues that prevent users from using the services. This also helps ensure that there’s less overlap in tools and more optimal efficiency. In essence, you’re replacing a “deploy-and-hope” approach with “deploy-measure-and-adjust.” 

 

4. Unify your data loss prevention measures

Different organizations may have varying levels of fault tolerance built into their technology and processes. But no matter how tolerant your team is, data loss prevention (DLP) must be reliable, durable and manageable. You shouldn’t have to go from solution to solution to manage recovery measures for collaboration, then another for cloud. When you can unify DLP in a single platform, you combine and simplify administration responsibilities as well as the legal, regulatory, audit and other complex controls under a single location so a single entity can execute discovery rather than a cacophony of multiple teams. And when time is of the essence, a streamlined and simple process is the best way to fast resolution. Google Cloud DLP lets you:

  • Gain control over your data on and off the cloud.
  • See the sensitive data risks across your entire organization before they become issues.
  • Mitigate threats by spotting obfuscation and de-identification methods like masking and tokenization. 
  • Save time by seamlessly inspecting and transforming structured and unstructured data.

     

Read the minds of your users (or seem to)

Google BigQuery may not give you the ability to gaze into the minds of internal users, but by ingesting Google Cloud Search historical records into BigQuery, you can be more predictive and helpful in the content you create and publish to users. For instance, using BigQuery, you can see which documentation is being searched and viewed by more employees both externally and internally through Google Enterprise Search. With that information, you can make relevant information more available, or enhance it with additional material to push out. You’ll be answering questions before employees spend time asking, pondering and then searching. It’s not telepathy, but smart.

 

Bonus Use Case: Shorten and firm up your travel and supply chains

Not every organization manages vehicle fleets, deliveries and supply chains, but if yours does, then you’re probably already familiar with Google Maps. However, you may not have realized how ingesting route data into BigQuery can improve efficiency for everything from route optimization to fuel savings to delivery planning. And if you operate out of storage or hub facilities, BigQuery can help you refine remote warehousing by optimizing locations, facility scale and supply chain management. Through our own research, we’ve found that the demand for that last supply chain benefit alone has increased dramatically since the pandemic. 

The democratizing effect of Google Workspace and Google Cloud on workforces worldwide has been amazing even to those of us who work with it every day. Even if your key use case isn’t among the ones here, it’s part of the beauty of Google that the distance between imagining it and making it real is incredibly short. 

Find out how Onix can help your organization go from opportunity to reality in the infinite ecosystem of Google Workspace and Google Cloud.

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1. “Don’t Fear Shadow IT: Embrace It,” Jim Brennan, Forbes, May 18, 2022

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Danny St. Onge & Luke Gallagher

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