Five free programs for Google Apps you should check out

Spanning Stats for Google Drive offers you various insights into the ways your employees are using Google Drive such as file types and data age. I didn't have any files in Drive, so I uploaded a few hundred samples to test with. After installing Spanning Stats via the usual methods (start by clicking the "Add it now" button) I launched it and it scanned my test domain while displaying the following cool graphic. (Figure Q)

If (like me) you've sold your soul to Google, you have a lot of important information floating around Gmail, Drive and other Google Apps. And if (like me) you want to be sure that data sticks around even if you do something dumb, you may be interested in channel partner opportunities for protecting Google Apps data. Here's a look at one initiative involving the Spanning Backup platform for Google Apps.

As described by Spanning Cloud Apps, the company behind the backup platform for Google Apps, the tool "provides backup and recovery of the complete Google Apps suite: Gmail, Drive, Sites, Calendar and Contacts. The solution features a secure cloud-to-cloud environment for protecting Google Apps data and SSAE 16 Type II audited processes that ensure its integrity. Spanning also provides constant monitoring of data backup, allowing administrators to correct issues before they become problems."

Spanning Cloud Apps is making it possible for administrators and trusted advisors to monitor Google (NASDAQ: GOOG) Apps domains from any iOS or Android device with the launch of its first mobile app. Audit Log for Google Apps alerts admins when changes are made to their domain settings so they can monitor their domains on the go and in real time.

Focused on providing cloud-based backup and recovery with Spanning Backup for Google Apps, the vendor tripled its funding last month to build out its direct sales team and its reseller channel. Although it has been trying to make a name for itself since its launch in 2010 as a cloud-based backup and restore service provider, Spanning also provides log management and monitoring through its Admin Audit Log Viewer, which is the technological basis for the new mobile app.

Spanning Cloud Apps has raised $6 million, in part from The Foundry Group but primarily from an undisclosed strategic investor. One thing is for sure, Google is not the one investing. That is if Spanning CEO and Founder Charlie Wood was speaking the truth at SXSW when I asked him if he’d accept an investment from the search giant. The new round brings the total capital raised to date to $9 million.

More than 5 million businesses use Google Apps, but industry analysts say only a sliver of them protect their data.
That can result in big trouble. Although Google offers disaster recovery services from their end, Google Apps doesn’t provide a way to restore data that’s accidentally or maliciously deleted.
Austin startup Spanning says it has a solution. The two-year-old company sells Spanning Backup for Google Apps, a backup service for Gmail, Google Drive and other Google cloud-based apps.
The company has signed 2,000 paying business customers, and it will announce Wednesday that it has raised $6 million for further expansion.

The competition in the Google Apps backup market is steadily ramping up, with more than a few contenders jumping in lately to have a piece of this newfound need. Just two months ago, I wrote about my (mostly) positive thoughts regarding Apps backup provider Backupify. But in order to do the competition justice, I decided to give the other popular alternative Spanning a run for the money.

Spanning Cloud Apps, makers of (you guessed it) cloud-based applications, released its latest product, Spanning Backup v4.0. It’s being described as the “most complete cloud-to-cloud Google Apps data protection product on the market.” What it does is similar to what the average consumer would expect from CrashPlan, Carbonite, Mozy, etc. — it backs up and secures your data, specifically for Google Apps.

Targeting the full suite of Google Apps, including Gmail, Google Drive and Docs, Google Calendar, Google Contacts, and Google Sites, Spanning Backup will allow users to download all of their content over to a secure location without needing to worry about any bureaucracy from Google.

Spanning, a provider of cloud backup for cloud applications, announced that it appointed Jeff Erramouspe as its new CRO.

The Austin-based startup is best known for its flagship product, Spanning Backup for Google Apps, the highest ranking service in this category on the Google Apps Marketplace. The firm has not released any specific numbers, but says that monthly recurring revenue has increased by 800 percent in the past 12 months, and that it expects revenue this year to be 10 times more than what it made in 2011. Spanning has every intention of holding on to this momentum, and the latest hire underscores this goal.


Spanning Adds New Revenue Officer

Spanning Cloud Apps has added Jeff Erramouspe as its chief revenue officer.
Erramouspe will oversee the company’s marketing and sales activities. Previously, he served as president of Manticore Technology, which merged with SalesEngine International. Before that, Erramouspe held leadership and executive positions at StoredIQ, Digby, Vignette and Compaq.

Austin-based Spanning Cloud Apps Inc. has named Jeff Erramouspe as its new chief revenue officer.

Erramouspe previously held positions at several Austin companies, including Manticore Technology Inc., software maker StoredIQ Inc., Digby, and Vignette Corp., company officials said in a Tuesday news release.

Google rolled out its Cloud Partnership Program this week, marking territory for a massive enterprise play. Plenty of partners have already signed on, anxious to leverage the portfolio of tools powering some of Google’s most successful programs, Apps and services. But even as Google rolls out more features and support around its cloud offering, there’s an important responsibility for each customer when it comes to cloud maintenance and security, especially when you have an end user to consider.


The Best Google Features You’re Probably Not Using

Ever wondered what you actually spend your time doing in Google Docs? Spanning Stats is an app that breaks it down for you in a graph. For most people this means you'll see a breakdown of what's taking up space in your Drive. Advanced users will benefit from graphs that show you the volume of documents created by week, month breakdowns, and more. You also get a nice visualization of the times you typically create new documents.

When you use Google services, you trust Google with your most sensitive information: Emails, contacts, calendars--the works. What could possibly go wrong As it turns out, quite a bit. Google is not infallible, and even if it were, users can make mistakes. Spanning Backup ($3 per month for regular Google accounts users) is a cloud backup service that keeps a copy of all of your Google data and lets you restore it selectively should important data ever go missing.


Editorial Review of Spanning Backup

Spanning Backup gets a lot of things right: The price, the easy setup, and the brilliant Gmail interface. If that same visual simplicity makes it to the Calendar, Contacts, and Docs restoring interfaces, Spanning Backup would be a truly exceptional service.

Spanning, which already offers a backup service for Google Apps, is now riding the coattails of Google Drive, promising to help people see, “What’s in your Google Drive?”

Two days after the Drive announcement, Spanning released a free tool called Spanning Stats that analyzes your Google Drive account. The company says its report provides data including the percentage documents in your Google Drive by type, the 10 newest and oldest files, how much of the total storage quota you’re using by file type, the 10 biggest files, and the 10 users using the most storage space


How To Undelete Lost Google Calendar Events

Google gives us email, calendars and all kinds of other stuff for free, and we're not supposed to look a gift horse in the mouth. But sometimes that horse swallows our stuff. Google Calendar, in particular, is notorious for making events disappear.

It doesn't offer much help for getting events back, either. If you deleted an event on purpose, you have a few seconds to click 'Undo,' and then it's basically gone forever. If it disappears due to a glitch, tough luck.

But it doesn't have to be this way.

Google Calendar’s been dealing with a bug that suddenly deletes entries, with no hope of recovery. The issue’s since been solved, but it wasn’t Google that fixed the problem. Now live in the Google Marketplace, Spanning Undelete is an application that will recover your data and prevent you from losing calendar entries for good. This is only part of the salvo of tools that Spanning will release in the coming months.

Austin-based cloud apps startup Spanning, which provides a backup service for Google Apps, just launched a new version of its service (Spanning 3.0) which includes a feature I.T. admins are sure to love: a health monitor for Google Apps. The new dashboard shows the status of a company’s Google Apps system, including problems, errors, possible causes and suggested fixes. Day-by-day reports are available, too.

Cloud storage is no longer in the early adopter phase. Businesses have adopted Google Apps so wholeheartedly that it only makes sense for Google to capitalize on this chunk of the market.

All the hype and excitement aside, Google will need to overcome some serious challenges if it’s going to succeed. Here are five things Google needs to do to make GDrive a success and to tap multiple markets in the coming year.


How Spanning built a backup based on clouds

Austin, Texas-based startup Spanning has embraced the concept of cloud computing so much that its product is a backup service for Google Apps — completely hosted and run from Amazon Web Services. The idea of backing up one cloud service via another was intriguing enough that I asked Mike Pav, the VP of engineering at Spanning, how he does it

Although Google Apps might seem like a simple platform, it’s definitely one of the most prevalent cloud options as it is used by over four million companies worldwide and counting. Thus, a group of seven independent software vendors have formed an alliance, which they boast is “a first among Google Apps Marketplace vendors.”

Officially dubbed as the Cloud Alliance for Google Apps, the group is comprised of a series of business and technology partnerships designed to make it easier for Google Apps users to select and implement complementary business applications.

The seven aforementioned vendors consist of Cloud Sherpas, Expensify, Insightly, Okta, RunMyProcess, Smartsheet and Spanning.

Austin startup Spanning Cloud Apps didn't plan to seek venture capital, but the buzz surrounding cloud technology changed founder Charlie Wood's mind.

"We wanted to grow the company organically, but we realized it would take us years to do that, and in the meantime the market would pass us by," Wood said. "So we decided to raise money and step on the gas."

Now, thanks to a $2 million investment in April from Foundry Group of Boulder, Colo., 1-year-old Spanning Cloud is hiring engineers, sales people and marketers, with a goal of doubling its 10-person staff by year's end.


A VC: The Cloud

I wrote a blog post yesterday about my move to the cloud. It has gotten 234 comments so far and another 49 on Hacker News. It's pretty clear from reading the comments on both places that moving to the cloud is something many have done, many more are doing, and a few are resisting. It's also clear to me that it is the future

Fred Wilson recently posted about his move to the cloud and the freedom that having his data always available has given him. More and more people and companies are freeing themselves from the constraints of desktop software and captive data stores in favor of cloud based applications and the freedom of readily (and always) available data. We recently went through a similar move at Foundry - although we haven't completely moved to Google Apps for all of our documents and spreadsheets - and it's been incredibly liberating.

James Fallows at the Atlantic writes a terrifying and personal account of what it’s like to lose one’s entire Google archive to a hacker. Fallows’ wife’s Gmail account was hijacked by a spammer, who not only stole her identity and tried to phish money from her personal contacts, but also vandalized the account by permanently deleting everything in it. She eventually regained control of the account using Google’s standard protocol for these situations, but:

When my Microsoft Office applications are acting up, Google Docs is always there to save the day. Earlier today, I tried sorting files in my Google Docs and was quite surprised to see that I have actually stored several files that are non-native in this platform—literally becoming an extension of my hard drive rather than an avenue for collaboration. Imagine how terrified I was when it went suffered downtime and momentarily crashed last week, leaving me wishing for offline functionality.


Day 25: Don't Lose Your Google Docs Data

Now that I have spent the last 24 days prolifically cranking out 30 Days With...Google Docs blog posts and feature articles on various subjects, I have a fair amount of content built up in Google Docs. So, the question I inevitably ask myself is "hey, what happens if Google crashes and my data disappears?"


Spanning Backup for Google Docs and Gmail

We've written before about, a backup service for several cloud-based apps such as Google Docs, Facebook and LinkedIn. A new service from Spanning Backup that does the same for corporate Google Docs accounts launches today.

Google Apps has gained a foothold in many organizations: it's an easy solution for managing email, calendars and documents. It can be rolled out in a matter of minutes and requires little training. But one of the biggest dilemma that Google Apps users face is how to appropriately back up their data.

Products to do this exist but are not widely used. There's Spanning Backup, for example. As of this week, it backs up both Google documents and e-mails. It's designed to rescue users from their own inadvertent changes of deletions of files, but it could also be used to restore files if Google Docs itself suffered a catastrophic failure.

Austin, Texas-based startup Spanning launched a new version of its Google Apps backup service today, which now includes business-grade backup for Gmail. Previously, the company provided backup for other Google Apps products, including Google Calendar, Docs, and Contacts, but, says, Spanning Cloud Apps founder and CEO Charlie Wood, “Gmail backup has been, by far, the most requested capability from our existing customer base.”

But Google Apps is already in the cloud – why do you need to back it up?

According to the company, even a company of Google’s size can have issues leading to data deletions. And not all data deletions are Google’s fault – sometimes, the end users themselves are to blame. Then what do you do? User-deleted data isn’t Google’s problem, so it can’t (and won’t) help you recover.

Spanning on Tuesday will roll out its latest backup service for Google Apps and add Gmail to the mix. With the move, Spanning is positioning itself as a business class Google Apps backup service aimed at enterprises.

The Austin, TX-based startup has a highly rated backup service on the Google Apps Marketplace, but CEO Charlie Wood said customers were frequently requesting Gmail backup. While Wood’s company competes with Backupify in areas, Spanning is going deep with its business focus while its rival is more horizontal.

“We are targeting businesses,” said Wood. “The larger the company the more sophisticated they are. They recognize the need for backups.” Specifically, Spanning is eyeing companies with 1,000 to 4,000-seat Google Apps accounts.


Charlie Wood Interview

Charlie Wood, CEO of Spanning, talks about protecting against user error (the silent killer). Charlie talks about the ways that his product backs up Google Apps and lists many lesser considered elements of backup.

Those who use Google Apps probably assume data is safer in a cloud than it is on a laptop, prone to being dropped and spilled upon. Spanning Backup says otherwise, offering data protection services against data loss on Google's end. The service, priced at $3.95 a month or $39.95 a year after a free 30 day trial, will backup your calendars, contacts, and Google Docs files in case of a cloud catastrophe.


Backing Up Your Google Apps Data

I find it endlessly entertaining that people say things like "I don't need to back up my data anymore because it's in the cloud." These people have never experienced a cloud failure, accidentally deleted a specific contact record, or authenticated an app that messed up their account. They will. And it will be painful. I became a believer in backing up my data when I was 17 years old and had my first data calamity.