Migrating to GSuite

We (I) have just successfully migrated the club over to Google’s GSuite. This was the third email migration for the club.

TL:DR; removal of complexity and reliance on individuals is a key consideration for clubs, and I wish we’d migrated sooner.

Update: only 1 person received the email notifying them of the new account details – reason for migration justified, but also something to check before starting the switchover. 

Club Mail History
The club originally started with 1 email address, which was shared amongst all committee members (I think the password was Rugbyball69).

When I became secretary a number of things quickly changed (the first being that awful password). (I will do a seperate post on the need for ‘corporate’ email accounts for clubs).

The club already had a domain name and hosting, so I created mail accounts for the committee members, and made them generic. This means your secretary will always be  secretary@yourclub.com, your treasurer will always be treasurer@yourclub.com and so on. This bit of foresight made any transitions of committee members painless, especially as your AGM will land in the busiest part of your committee calendar.

Another thing I did which was key to the success was used Apple Configrautor to create profiles to install on macOS and iOS devices that would automatically configure the email. Without these committee members would have been struggling with mail hosts, protocols, port numbers, and encryption options. This profile would then be posted to a password protected directory on our web hosting provider.

When we changed hosting provider, I used my local mail client to manually move emails between accounts. The new details were sent out via the profile message.

Why Change ? 
It could probably be described as a perfect storm. Like any good IT administrator I put reports of people not getting emails down to being user error, but a few weeks back I witnessed an email being sent that was never received (again, I put it down to a bug in their system). This was then followed by an incident where email that I sent was never received by a third party.

At the same time Apple mail was being obstinate about the mail server security certificate for mail server addresses (hosting provider had changed them, old ones still work for now, and I haven’t got time to deal with support), some new committee members had new phones, and the existing (reflected) ones were now encountering profiles that had removed themselves due to a planned expiry date.

Webmail was also cumbersome to access and use.

Lastly the ability for future committees to function relied on too much technical skill from one person which could not be guaranteed. This presented a risk to the club. Alongside this committee members were reliant on someone else to be able to get email set up on devices.

What were your requirements 
We needed a mail solution with

  • Custom domain name.
  • Big hosted email provider experience.
  • Configurable through the wizards of most email clients by entering just a username and password.
  • So i evaluated the options, wrote a paper, and took to the next committee meeting.

Why Google ?
Price and Google Apps. £3.30 per user per month for hosted email with own office suite. Microsoft online exchange was £3 per user per month, but with no offfice suite.

How did it go ?
Amazingly well.

The steps were:

  • Create users in Gsuite. They automatically get sent an email with instructions.
  • Edit domain record (you are told what to put)
  • Done – email now goes through to the google account.
  • For migration you configure a ‘role’ account in Gsuite which is used to test connection settings.

You then specify for each user the mailbox you are migrating from, supply the password, and wait.

Users (including those using Android) can now use a username and password to setup the mail account on their device. The same details can be used to access webmail.

The webmail experience is much better (it is Gmail), and can easily be accessed via a memorable URL.

Calendars and documents can be shared, and creation editing detail is now set to the user who made the edits, not just one user.

Would reccomend to any club. The expense soon mounts up, but the benefits to both end user, club, and admin are real and should not be underestimated.

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