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Talking G Suite Security with Cobry’s Rowan Manson

This week, we cast our memories back to the Google Cloud NEXT London event where we were lucky to sit down with Rowan Manson, Technical Lead at Cobry to talk about the importance of safety to G Suite users, the benefits of major IT infrastructure and the importance of security at Cobry itself. Keep reading to hear more about our discussion, check out the full video above and don’t forget to like, subscribe and share!

Opening up our discussion, Rowan highlights that security often forms one of the first talking points when onboarding new clients at Cobry. “You can talk about collaboration, productivity, all of those things - that is, whenever you have addressed the question of security”. Indeed, he highlights that especially within the age of GDPR, the issue of security has become even more pertinent. “We try to lead with that topic, and why Google is so secure. You’d rather have a big company looking after your IT infrastructure than just yourself, for example - the resources are on another level. The viability is another thing, with 99.9% uptime. And, that’s not to mention some of the awesome AI that is powering it”.

The Benefits of Major Infrastructure

The benefits behind Google’s massive IT infrastructure are vast. However, alleviating some of the pressures on IT administration staff is a major strength of G Suite - something which is aided with the simplest of features, such as a spam filter. “It catches 99.9% of spam, and commits its AI to tracking down the remaining 0.1%. That kind of innovation, you just aren’t going to find within your own company’s infrastructure,” claims Rowan. Indeed, he highlights that Cobry never recommends using a third party spam filter. Why, after all, should your firm opt for second, third or fourth best in the market?

Reflecting on recent years, Rowan can recount a number of incidences where clients have been ‘duped’ by the social engineering behind certain products. “We had a big company move to Google, and one guy remained on Outlook - just one guy. We tried our best to get everyone off Outlook. A spam email was distributed, and staff saw user warnings highlighting the message. The guy using Outlook didn’t see the warnings, sent off his details and ended up getting phished. That is a really clear example of the difference!”

Rowan highlights that Google’s security features are deeply embedded across each of its products, including Docs and Sheets. “You can’t get Ransomware for example - it's impossible. But some of the controls are awesome too, like shared drives. That differentiation, those different levels, it’s just fantastic. Maybe you want to give access to a contractor, for example. They can add files and edit, but can’t delete or mess up the folder structure. That sort of stuff is brilliant.”

The Case for a Granular Approach

Fintan highlights that a user case exists for a more granular approach to sharing within shared drives - currently one of the biggest demands of G Suite users. Rowan agrees that this would form a welcome addition to Google’s ever-expanding armory of user features. However, Google’s current approach is understandable, offering a top-down interface that offers a simple view of user access. Rowan argues that even a ‘first level’ folder would be of benefit, which would offer a nice balance between viewability and management capability. 

Discussing that granular approach brings the discussion back to third party solutions, with Rowan’s suggestion that solutions such as GAT (General Audit Tool) could help in this regard. “Something like GAT would help a lot, as you can see individual access, you can even change it,” says the Technical Lead. Fintan agrees, and highlights that Robert Baker has left his former business interests to focus exclusively on GAT, which is projected to expand exponentially over future years. “Some of their new stuff is brilliant. You can control stuff in Chrome, setting differing access for different IPs. Fantastic stuff, we were really impressed,” adds Rowan.

Back to the topic of security, Rowan highlights Google’s constant efforts to improve their security features, with the admin console constantly being added to. “Some of the context-aware stuff is fantastic. You can access gMail wherever you want, but you can’t access Drive from another country,” he shares. Fintan recalls the earlier days of the admin tool, when features were that simple that training could be completed in under an hour. “Now it's like a half day, and it's more useful now to ask the client what they actually need to know about.”

“When you offboard a user, what do you do?” asks Fintan. The Damson CEO highlights that some obvious steps are taken, including data backup and account suspension. What happens to all that information, and what happens if that account receives an email, for example? All of these challenges are where third-party companies can add real value. 

“People don’t just want to hear that they are secure. They want to see real security controls - and that is something that is offered by G Suite,” concludes Rowan.

More About Damson Cloud

Fintan and the team at Damson Cloud send a huge thank you to Rowan for taking some time out of the busy event to talk to us. Visit our blog for more discussion on changing the way we work. And, of course - don’t forget to like, subscribe and share!


As a longstanding member of the Google Cloud Partner program, Damson Cloud specialise in bringing people and ideas together through new ways of working. We champion change management and digital transformation using some of the internet’s most trusted solutions, including G Suite, Happeo and Jamboard. To find out more about our services, check out our library of tutorial videos or our blog

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