Getting Started: A Guide to Google Apps and Gmail Migration
Google Apps is a subscription-based service that offers email and collaboration tools to take care of the most common business tasks. The setup process for Google Apps is easy and compatible with a lot of other services. In fact, Gmail and Google Apps is often considered the standard when it comes to email and collaboration tools – so much so that over five million businesses rely on these Google products. This is why many companies are gearing up to move to Google Apps and Gmail (if they have not already done so). Read on as we discuss the steps it takes to complete the process of a Google Apps and Gmail migration for your business.
Pick the Right Edition
Before you begin the Google Apps and Gmail migration process, you need to know the three variants that Google offers for businesses and nonprofits of all sizes. These include the following:
- Google Apps for Work: This version is a one-size-fits-all solution that can work for just about anybody – from self-employed professionals to startups to larger companies that might not need the advanced features that the other versions include.
- Google Apps Unlimited: This one is aimed at larger businesses and offers a few extra features in addition to what you get with Google Apps for Work.
- Google Apps for Education, Nonprofits, or Government: Google also offers this version of Google Apps, which is free to qualifying education, nonprofit, and government users.
Understand the Admin Console
The admin console is essentially the control center; it lets you oversee and manage your deployment. You can choose to add or remove services, modify billing, manage devices, create user accounts, set up your email, and perform other administrative tasks when using the admin console.
Make Your Domain a Google Apps Domain
Before you can use your domain with Google Apps, you need to verify that you own it. You can verify your domain by doing any of the following methods:
- Add a TXT / CNAME Record to your domain’s DNS settings
- Upload a file to your web server
- Add a <meta> tag to your website’s home page
Link Your Domain to Google’s Gmail Servers
Prior to being able to receive mail addressed to [email protected], you must link your domain to Google’s Gmail servers. To do this, you will need to verify where your DNS is hosted, access your account, and add new MX records pointing to Google’s servers. Alternatively, your DNS host might offer a preconfigured setting for Google Apps. If this is the case, all you need to do is select the “Google Apps” option and the MX records will be set up to work with Gmail.
Create User Accounts and Assign Privileges
When it comes to adding users to your Google Apps system, you have two options: You can either add them individually using the admin console, or you can add multiple users at once by uploading a CSV file. Below are some guidelines regarding how to create admin accounts and manage reports and logs.
- Creating Admin Accounts: Many businesses, especially larger ones, will require many different admin accounts with specific role and permissions. Google Apps’ setup gives you the option to either assign Super Administrator status to a user to give them complete access to the admin console, or you can assign limited admin rights through predefined or custom admin roles.
- Managing Reports and Logs: Your admin console includes an account activity option that will show admins both domain-level and user-level data. Admins can check data security, app usage, admin activity, email metadata, and more. Additionally, you can set up alerts for critical events like suspicious logins or password changes.
Set up Security and Two-Factor Authentication
Before you continue with the Google Apps and Gmail migration process, you need to check your security settings. The following are the security items you should look at:
- Two-Step Verification: Two-step verification reduces the risk of unauthorized entry into your Google Apps system by making users enter a second password that is obtained either through SMS or the Google Authenticator app.
- Authentication: Check whether you have enabled DKIM and SPF authentication. This minimizes the chances of mail from your domain being marked as spam. If DKIM and SPF have been configured correctly, you might also want to set up DMARC email verification.
- Account Recovery: While the first administrator is covered against any risk of being locked out, you should also create recovery options for other admins to reduce downtime and service disruption should any admin ever get locked out.
If you are intimidated by the above process, beware – these are only the beginning steps in the Google Apps and Gmail migration process. If you are ready to dive into a new system and are nervous that it will be a long and complicated process, then it might be time to get assistance from a trusted managed IT support company like Contigo. We work hard to make your migration as seamless as possible so that you can avoid confusing buying options, complicated setup, and a significant learning curve. Contact us today to learn more.