Everyone knows about Google Mail, aka Gmail.  But are you aware that Google offers a whole suite of online applications?  Known as Google Apps, this suite of applications can be just what your organization needs.  The suite contains email, calendar, documents, groups, video, websites, and Google+.  Why should you consider Google Apps?

First, Google Apps leverages cloud computing to provide organizations with communication and collaboration tools without having to maintain the infrastructure.  Companies can increase capacity or add capabilities without licensing additional software, additional employee training, or investing in new infrastructure.  Google Apps allows administrators to customize many settings to fit their needs.  Google provides backup of all data, 24×7 support, and a 99.9% uptime guarantee for Google Apps for Business users.

Second, Google Apps are secure.  Google Apps are Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA) certified and has passed a SSAE 16 Type II audit.  Google Apps offer two-factor authentication and single sign-on so that users do not have to login when switching applications.  Plus all connections use Secure Socket Layer (SSL) encryption.

Third, they are accessible from anywhere.  So if you have employees in multiple locations, or your employees travel frequently, they can access your information without being in the “home office.”  All that is needed is an Internet connection.

Fourth, they are accessible from a variety of computers.  You only need a web browser to use Google Apps.  Therefore computers running Windows, Linux, or OSX can use Google Apps.  This means your users can use whatever computer platform they are comfortable with.

Fifth, they are accessible from any smartphone using Google Apps for Mobile.  Google Apps for Mobile is supported on devices running Android, Blackberry, iOS, and Windows Mobile operating systems.  This means that your users can use whatever smartphone they prefer.

Sixth, Google offers their application suite in a variety of packages depending on your situation: Google Apps for Business, Google Apps for Government, Google Apps for Nonprofit, and Google Apps for Education.

If you are a CIO struggling with providing the computing infrastructure your employees need, you might want to consider Google Apps.  You might just save some money and get a little more sleep!

To learn more go to http://www.google.com/apps/intl/en/index.html