Using Google+ for Internal Company Communications

Using Google+ for Internal Company Communications

Many Google Apps enterprise users out there are scratching their heads about using Google+. “How can I use this in my organization?”  ”Is it secure enough for internal communication?”  Or simply, “What is Google+?”

Since this is a hot topic among our clients, it is worth reviewing Google+ Best Practices as well as Domain Security Considerations to see if it is a good fit for your organization and culture.

Let’s start out with some of the Google+ basics.  We think of Google+, not as another version of Facebook where people are posting status updates like what they ate for breakfast, but as a virtual meeting place, where colleagues can share ideas, info, and collaborate in real-time or on their own time, ultimately bringing people together to share knowledge.  And we all know that two (or more) heads are better than one!

On Plus, companies and users can create their profiles to introduce themselves to colleagues they may not have met yet, follow others who provide interesting content in their industry or just interesting content in general.  Associates can “hang out” on a video conference, while sharing screens or Google Docs, and even chat back and forth.  The cool thing here is that Plus is integrated into the Google Apps world that users are already familiar with, and it continues to become more and more integrated with the GA user experience, it’s not just another tool. And did I mention it is fun?

Now, before we get to the fun stuff, let’s review a few things from the domain security perspective.  First of all, it is important to note that Google+ is platform with public facing capabilities.  We usually hear from our customers that they have a lot of concern around the fact that Google+ is not a company-only platform.  This can be a showstopper for many organizations.  However, it may be helpful to think about this concern much like those of any other social media or  messaging platform.  The same risks for publishing internal content to the public exist whether the user accidentally sends an internal email to the wrong person, tweets about something internal, or posts about it in Facebook, as exist in Google+ today.  So using Plus, in fact, is no different from using the other tools, there are risks, but the company can do many things to prepare their users and preventing these risks from happening.

So, let’s learn how to practice safe Plussing, here is my list of Security Musts to mull over:

1. Review the Google+ Premium features for your domain.  You can prevent posts from being shared outside the domain by default, restrict Hangouts to your organization only, restrict access to Hangouts On Air, and see which users have Google+ profiles. Be careful here, as users will have the ability to override sharing their own posts and hangouts outside the organization.

2. Provide your users with Google+ Training.  Here is your chance to make sure that users understand how to use Google+ the way you want them to.  Your Training Team can come up with use-cases, safe posting steps, and “profile creation musts” to make sure users know what they are doing before they make a mistake.

3. Allow only trained Google+ users to have access to Google+ on the domain.  You can prevent untrained users from using Google+ by not allowing access to the service (from the Control Panel) until they complete the training.

4. Create a Terms of Use document for users to read and sign.  Your organization can create a policy for using Google+.  The best practice here is to keep it short and simple so that users will actually read it!  This could also be part of the training provided.

5. Enable the Google+ Premium features for the domain (after reviewing and understanding all implications).

Now that you have carefully considered the security musts and the organization and culture passes for a “fit” on Google+, we can move on to the fun stuff!  The next logical question you might have is “What can we, the organization, do to drive Google+ adoption?”

Check back next week for more Google+ tips and how to drive Google+ adoption with your organization.

Mariana McCready
Mariana McCready 4 Posts

Mariana is a Google Apps Collaboration Consultant at Cloud Sherpas, and has 7 years of experience in consulting and delivering web-based solutions for corporate and academic institutions. At Cloud Sherpas, Mariana specializes in delivering collaborative solutions to key enterprise clients using the Google Apps platform with the goal of improving the flow of information and ideas for organizations. Her collaboration projects span a variety of industries for medium to large enterprise clients.