No sane business owner should depend on Google

Brad Feld reports that Foundry has switch to Google mail for their internal mail system. While he is pretty happy about the switch, he does have some major cautions for the rest of us (not as well connected types):

We are lucky in that we have lots of friends at Google so when we need to do weird things (like – ahem – port my Google Voice number from my Gmail account to my Google Apps account) we are able to find someone to do the magic for us. Or when the Google Apps Migration for Microsoft Exchange tool crashes in the middle of the night on a mailbox migration that is 10 hours into its conversion, we can find our way to someone that actually works on this tool who makes some changes to the backend processor that fixes the problem. And, when this happens on another mailbox migration, we can get to them again to help us fix the problem while they debug the tool for our error case.

Now, there is a Google Enterprise Customer and Partner Site and there is plenty of Google Apps enterprise level help on the web. But that’s not the issue. At 7am, when the guy doing the migration checks in and sees a error message that says something like “Failure: While migrating Email for user=xxx@foundrygroup.com to Google user=xxx@foundrygroup.com Error:80041065? you kind of want to call 1-800-HELPMERIGHTNOWBEFOREANYONESHOWSUPATTHEOFFICE

OMG, yes. And sometimes even when you know someone on the inside “nothing can be done”. Case in point, ‘amplafi@gmail.com’ (I am the Founder of Amplafi) is unavailable because a former business partner created the account and then deleted it. Can’t get that email, “no solution”.

I am sorry, but an enterprise-level organization finds a solution to something this simple.

When given a choice, no sane business owner should rely on Google for a mission-critical app. Such a business has a serious risk exposure to Google, and minimal-to-no legal recourse. If that app is removed/deleted due to some mysterious ToS violation, or Google does an upgrade that breaks the business’ app, or just that Google suffers an outage, the business is helpless to rectify the problem.

Any number of problems could arise, including Google (or some other DMCA takedown law firm) deciding that the app violates the DMCA. Businesses need to have the escape routes to the single-supplier problem, especially a single supplier that will not take phone calls.

Do I use Google. Sure. I love gmail. But Google does not host my apps (I stay away from appengine for example), and them most definitely do not control my email domain. My email gets forwarded to gmail.

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