G Suite Essentials: How to keep your current business email system and add access to G Suite apps

G Suite Essentials gives your team access to Google Meet, Drive, Docs, Forms, Sites, and more and works alongside your current business email system.

How to keep your current business email system and add access to G Suite apps

Think of G Suite Essentials as Google's "bring your own business email," G Suite edition. Essentials offers G Suite collaboration tools to people in organizations who use another email and calendar solutions. Specifically, G Suite Essentials includes access to Google Drive, Docs, Sheets, Slides, Google Meet, and more, but omits Gmail and Google Calendar. Since Essentials editions exclude Gmail, that means an administrator doesn't have to manage an email migration before people can use G Suite applications.

G Suite Essentials might be of greatest appeal in two situations. Most obviously, Essentials makes sense when a set of people within an organization want to use G Suite tools, but the organization's leadership prefers not to switch to Gmail. In this case, the team might sign up for Essentials using only an email address. Unlike G Suite Basic, Business, and Enterprise, you can sign up for Essentials with just your business email address. 

Note: The email address must be for a registered domain name, not a consumer email address, such as @gmail.com, @yahoo.com, @aol.com, etc. Essentials allows a set of people within an organization to use G Suite applications without the need to consume IT staff time.

A second situation where an organization might choose to use G Suite Essentials is when an organization wants to give people access to a broad set of tools to deploy G Suite in addition to a suite such as Microsoft 365. For example, consulting firms often need staff to be familiar with a wide range of technology tools. 

SEE: Google Sheets: Tips and tricks (TechRepublic download) 

Adoption of Essentials allows people to use G Suite apps while continuing to use alternative email and calendar systems. When an organization chooses to deploy Essentials in this manner, your organization's IT team will likely want to verify the organization's domain during the G Suite Essentials setup process. With domain verification, administrators gain access to additional security, identity, and audit controls.

An organization may choose to upgrade from G Suite Essentials or G Suite Enterprise Essentials to a version of G Suite that includes Gmail at a future date. 

Is G Suite Essentials right for you?

G Suite Essentials is best thought of as complementary to an existing email and calendaring solution and it is priced as such: $10 per active user, per month. That's a bit less than the $12 per user, per month for the full-featured G Suite Business, which includes Gmail and Calendar (Figure A).

Figure A

Lists of G Suite Business and Essentials edition apps, with red X next to Gmail and Calendar in Business edition, and "bring your own business email" listed under Essentials edition.

G Suite Essentials allows your organization to keep your current email and calendaring system and gives people access to most of the collaboration apps in G Suite Business edition.

Image: Andy Wolber / TechRepublic

Google considers an "active user" to be someone in the organization with an Essentials account who opens a file on Google Drive or joins a Google Meet session within a month. 

Note: Currently, G Suite Enterprise Essentials pricing had not yet been made public.

Google launched G Suite Essentials in mid-May 2020 with an offer for people to sign up and use Essentials through September 30, 2020 for free. If your organization currently has a collaboration suite, such as Microsoft 365 and you're at all interested in trying G Suite tools, you could sign up for Essentials and test Meet, Drive, Docs, Sheets, Slides, and more for about four months (assuming you read this before the end of May 2020) for free.

However, if you need a collaboration solution that includes email, calendar, and collaboration tools, you'll want to look at G Suite Basic, Business, or Enterprise editions. Or, if you work with a nonprofit organization or educational institution, explore Google's G Suite for Nonprofit or G Suite for Education edition options, both of which offer free and discounted editions.

Your thoughts?

Has the necessity of domain verification previously blocked you or your team from using G Suite? Did the removal of this barrier prompt your team to try G Suite Essentials? Or, as an IT leader, does G Suite Essentials allow you to give your team access to an even broader range of modern collaboration tools? Let me know more about how your organization views G Suite Essentials, either in the comments below or on Twitter (@awolber).

Also see

Red action line with arrow, starting at "G Suite" continues through "+ Bring Your Own Business email" and points to "G Suite Essentials" within in a blue circle.

Image: Andy Wolber / TechRepublic