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Conservation International – A BetterCloud Case Study

BetterCloud Monitor

April 16, 2013

3 minute read

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Last year, Conservation International was faced with a decision – upgrade their existing Exchange server or move to the cloud. After evaluating both Google Apps and Office 365, the nonprofit made a decision to ‘go Google.’ Read the case study to find out why.

conservation internationalEmployees: 900
Founded: 1987
Industry: Nonprofit

Conservation International was founded in 1987 in order to alter the way society thinks about conservation. Rather than focusing on keeping places “intact as relics of the past,” CI works to ensure people can live in harmony with nature. By building on a strong foundation of science, partnership and field work, CI “empowers societies to responsibly and sustainably care for nature, biodiversity and the well-being of humanity.”

Since its founding, the DC-based nonprofit has empowered communities around the globe to make conservation a part of their livelihoods and has formed critical partnerships with companies like Patagonia, Starbucks and even Wal-Mart. By working with some of the world’s largest corporations, CI is helping to make conservation a critical part of the business model. Conservation International has also helped governments in Costa Rica, China and beyond make conservation a core component of national policy.

CI believes that every person deserves a healthy environment and through its work, Conservation International is helping to make this a reality.

Staying Connected Around the World With Google Apps

Last year, restrictive mailbox storage and skyrocketing costs left Conservational International looking for a better way to manage mail and productivity tools. “It was either upgrade our Exchange 2003 server to 2010 or look for something else – we took that opportunity to look for something else,” said Alexandre Dinnouti, CI’s Director of IT. The organization ultimately chose to evaluate both Google Apps and Office 365.

“Office 365 offered the typical plans – E1, E2, E3 or E4, but with Google Apps you either have the entire suite or you have nothing. The pricing plans were unclear and ultimately, choosing 365 over Google Apps would have extended our enterprise agreement with Microsoft – something we wanted to get out of,” explained Leo Pineda, CI’s Senior Director of IT. “There also wasn’t a great answer from any of the Microsoft resellers on how to proceed,” added Pineda.

Conservation International ultimately decided to go with Google Apps, with the help of Cloud Sherpas, a leading Google Apps reseller. “We have offices in 40 countries and even those with low bandwidth can readily access Apps,” said Pineda. Now with Google Apps fully implemented, Google Talk and Google Hangouts have become key to collaborating with colleagues around the globe.

Going Beyond the Control Panel with FlashPanel

Looking for a better way to manage users and secure Drive documents, CI’s IT team led by Dinnouti and Pineda chose to install FlashPanel. According to CI, the following FlashPanel features give the organization “tools and access the Control Panel can’t.”

Google Drive Security

Now that CI is using Google Drive, the ability to share has never been easier. While Drive’s one-click sharing makes collaboration easier, it also makes it easier for employees to share something improperly. “Better safe than sorry,” said Pineda, who uses FlashPanel’s Drive dashboard and auditing features to view how and with whom documents are shared. “We want to be proactive,” Pineda added, noting that CI will occasionally reach out to a user to alert them to improper sharing.

Email, User and Group Tools

Apps Butler

CI has rolled out Apps Butler to give employees an easier way to access the staff directory. Best of all, Dinnouti says, “With Apps Butler, users can access the Google Apps directory from their mobile phones,” something key to CI’s field employees.

Inbox Delegation

The organization also uses FlashPanel’s inbox delegation feature noting that “it’s much easier to delegate an inbox through FlashPanel than changing a user’s password or walking a user through the setup process.”

User Provisioning and Deprovisioning

CI’s IT team appreciates FlashPanel’s user provisioning and deprovisioning workflows, which make it easy to onboard or offboard employees, reassign document ownership and more.

Group Management

Lastly, CI manages Google Groups using FlashPanel’s group management features claiming the interface in FlashPanel is far better than the Control Panel.