At BETT 2018 Google announced two exciting bits of news. The first part applies to all G Suite for Education customers, the second is a preview announcement of something coming to the UK hopefully later this year.

What will these updates actually mean for a current G Suite for Education customer?

1 . New G Suite for Education Features

G Suite for Education has a number of new features. Most prominent are the security features they’ve taken from their Enterprise product and added into their standard (free) education offering. These include:

1.1Data Loss Prevention (DLP) for Google Drive gives admin greater control and visibility in protecting their sensitive school data, and the ability to protect users from accidentally sharing confidential information externally.

Utilising rules to search Drive for certain file types by setting triggers and conditions on a template. Documents the rule picks up will have actions set that decide what happens. These can be set at different levels within the domain meaning students and teachers could have different rules set.

These rules can be set to discover:

  • sensitive content (personally identifiable information),
  • custom wordlists (could be used to pick up sensitive documents or identify documents for safeguarding),
  • regex expressions - these are regularly used expressions which can be used in a few different ways
    • Exact phrase only
    • Words or phrases in lists
    • Words with different spellings or special characters (M1cros0ft for instance)
    • Domain suffix on email
    • IP Address in a range
    • Alphanumeric format (for instance your schools PO number format)

We’ve spent plenty of time collectively across RM helping schools get their file and mail security in order, so this is a welcome addition to the education suite.

1.2Enterprise-grade access control with security key enforcement gives an additional layer of security for user accounts by requiring a physical key.

With 2-step verification, admins can opt for their school to use Security Keys, which are both easier for users and more secure against common (phishing) attacks than other methods. Security Keys plug directly into a laptop or pair with a mobile device using Bluetooth or NFC, instead of receiving a code via text. This will be a fantastic option to add to teacher devices for that extra layer of security.

1.3Hosted S\MIME for Gmail an option to digitally sign and encrypt emails.

While emailing from Gmail to Gmail is already secure through their industry-standard authentication methods. When emailing from Gmail to another solution it’s hard to be sure how secure that data will be as it passes through various mail servers. S\MIME means you can apply your own certificates to emails, administrators will be able to apply these rules to certain organisational units so that anything sent is encrypted as it’s in transit to the intended recipient.

These updates to the platform offer far more control over your schools data and should answer a lot of questions as we countdown to the launch of GDPR. We attended a partner update at BETT where Google made it clear their commitment that G Suite for Education will never be chargeable still stands.

2 . New core service

While all of this was happening, Google sneaked in some very exciting news for teaching staff, Jamboard is now a Core Service!

I’ve had numerous meetings discussing how to use Interactive Displays and Whiteboards with Chromebooks. Part of this is down to teachers having built up years of lesson plans in SMART Notebook the other is how do you offer the same level of interactivity. The first half is answered by SMART Learning Suite Online. Jamboard answers the second half of this question.

Originally designed for business this collaborative interactive display is certainly a very cool bit of kit. It also comes with a significant price tag at around £6,000 per device at last check. This prices it out of most of the education market but what most people don’t realise is you can download the app and use it for free.

Here is an exert from TeachTechPlay’s web show where Dean Stokes does a demo slam of Jamboard.

Incidentally, TeachTechPlay is a great resource for teachers. Also we work with Dean’s company AppsEvents to deliver training on Google.

3 . G Suite Enterprise for Education

Google have also announced they will be releasing an Enterprise product for education. This delivers more features including lots of security analytics tools and enhanced features for hangouts (a fantastic bonus for establishments split across multiple geographical locations).

In terms of UK release, it will be through selected resellers sometime later this year. Google are keen to make sure they get it right first time so are trialling it with a select set of customers in the US first. This announcement should give Secondary Schools and Multi-Academy Trusts another reason to have a serious look at G Suite and what it can do for their establishment.

To find out more about any of the above or how we could support you with Google, please drop an email to google@rm.com




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