While more and more companies are switching to Google Apps for business purposes, a substantial portion of the professional market still belongs to on-premise services such as Microsoft Exchange. Now Google is employing a service that may just be one of their most clever marketing approaches yet: providing an effective backup utility for Exchange known as Google Message Continuity.
As showcased on the Google Enterprise Blog, this new service is simple in nature but can lead to tremendous company savings. Message Continuity allows users to backup and constantly synchronize their Microsoft Exchange data (including messages, calendars, and contacts) to Google Apps. Having the cloud-based backup would allow companies to easily log into this alternate interface should their Exchange servers experience downtime or fail altogether.
The design of Continuity is such that users of Exchange can quickly and intuitively get into the Google Apps interface, using all of the standard apps (Gmail, Google Calendar, etc.) to remain productive. The usernames and passwords even remain the same, making the transition as simple as possible.
This also provides a chance for Google Apps to expose a slew of new users to their Enterprise Apps interface, and makes a full transition into Apps much faster and easier than before; users will know the interface, have login information, and have all their data imported already.
However, while it’s likely to boost their appeal to businesses, this isn’t just a marketing opportunity. According to research cited by Google, downtime and server failures can cause annual losses of up to $90,000 for a company with 500 employees — something the low-cost service aims to prevent completely.
The service costs $25/year for new users, or $13/year for existing customers of Positini Message Security (the Google-owned company powering Continuity). A full price list and comparison data is located on the Postini site.