For Google Apps administrators and users, the move away from legacy systems can be challenging. Google Apps have seen some success in
Here are five add-ons to help you manage and take control of Google Apps.
FlashPanel is a security and management tool for Google Apps administrators, created by BetterCloud, for organizations using Google Apps. Administrators get to view their Google Apps domain data, batch edit users and files, and create and maintain user policies and workflows.
FlashPanel already has had over 31,000 domains that have installed the product, including Lycos and Buzzfeed. According to their site, the tool is to help administrators discover issues such as potential exposures, usage trends, and missing information; then, take action and create policies based on the action they have taken.
David Politis, founder and CEO, said that they wanted to put the controls and visibility in place that customers are used to having in their legacy systems to help users get on board quickly.
"Our goal is to help organizations with the adoption of Google Apps; with all elements of the Google Apps suite," Politis said.
FlashPanel offers a free basic plans and an enterprise plan that costs $10 per user, per year. They also have separate pricing plans for education and non-profit organizations.
Two of the main concerns for organizations considering Google Apps are security and data loss. SysCloud offers protection against both data loss and the exposure of sensitive data. The goal is to protect against user error, hackers, or access from stolen devices.
"Organizations are able to backup data from the full Google Apps suite, using either our cloud or on-premise application, to restore data on both the file or account level in the event of loss," said Chris Bassolino, SysCloud president.
While the product is mainly focused on backup and restore, Bassolino mentioned, "backed files can be exported through the management console for local download." So, it is not a file-sync application like Dropbox, but you can work on an offline file if you need to.
Pricing varies based on the options you want, but they offer free trials for each package. They offer separate packages for Google Apps backup, security and compliance, and Google Apps migration.
Booking a meeting or consultation is typically an easy process, but sometimes it can be difficult to share your availability with a client. YouCanBook.me turns your Google Calendar into a client-facing appointment book where clients can see your availability and book you for your time.
The product connects to your Google Calendar and displays your free and busy times in a grid that clients have access to. When someone books an appointment, you receive an email alert and clients can receive email or SMS reminders to cut down on no-shows.
Some of the non-standard accounts let you link to multiple Google Calendars, custom configure your appointments, list your services, and even take payments. Users can also set repeating events and pad their appointment times in case an appointment runs over.
The standard account is free and there are three paid options at $13, $39, and $115 a month, per account, respectively.
Sometimes it can be hard to keep your track of your contacts. Rapportive is a Chrome Extension that gives you access to more details about how you know that person. You can see their picture, what they do, and where they are based. It also shows you their latest status updates on social and whether you are connected to them or not on your social networks (if you are logged in via Rapportive). That's where the magic is.
Rapportive works with Gmail to give you eich contact info, which often helps you establish context in an email thread. Rapportive is free and you can download it directly from the Chrome Web Store.
Right now the education market is hot for Google. Last year they claimed 20 percent of the K-12 market, and the increased deployment of Google Apps for education means there is a need for Google Apps management in those schools.
The Teacher Dashboard is a management tool for Google Apps that is geared toward educators. The dashboard is made by Hapara, and allows educators to track and manage student calendars, organize Google Drive for their students, and track sharing.
When Google first entered the classroom, the main challenge for teachers was to manage the volume of information that was being shared. Hapara structures Google Apps based on enrollment, adding folders and groups for certain classes. According to Hapara founder Jan Zawadzki, the company's goal is to empower teachers.
"Teachers have typically not had access to some of the workflow and organizational tools that are available to businesses, and we're here to change that," Zawadzki said.
The Teacher Dashboard is the main product offered by Hapara and it costs $4 per student, per year. You get help setting up the dashboard and 24/7 support from the company. Purchase of the dashboard gives the user access to the parent portal, and they can extra for the Remote Control and Response to Intervention modules.
Conner Forrest has nothing to disclose. He doesn't hold investments in the technology companies he covers.
Conner Forrest is a Senior Editor for TechRepublic. He covers enterprise technology and is interested in the convergence of tech and culture.