Image: Andy Wolber / TechRepublic
Every edition of G Suite adds administrative capabilities to Google's collaborative tools. Of course, Google Docs, Sheets, Slides, and Keep, let people work together in real-time. G Suite adds an Admin console that allows a super administrator to create accounts and manage settings for an organization.
G Suite offers several editions: Basic, Business, Enterprise, Teams, as well as ones for specific sectors (e.g., nonprofit, government, and education organizations). Here's an overview of some key distinctions between these editions, with additional insight provided by Andrew Stillman, G Suite product marketing lead.
G Suite for Teams
With G Suite for Teams, you can use G Suite's core collaborative capabilities alongside an already deployed email and calendar solution.
"Purchasing G Suite is generally driven by IT, especially in larger organizations," Stillman said in an email. "But sometimes an individual team in an organization is trying to have a more collaborative experience than emailing Office files back and forth. They want to use apps like Drive, Docs, Sheets and Slides but don't want to go through the hassle of verifying domain ownership (which would generally require IT assistance)."
Essentially, Team edition is G Suite minus Gmail and Google Calendar. As of November 2017, it's priced at $10 per user per month.
G Suite Basic or Business
The three main editions of G Suite are Basic ($5 a user per month), Business ($10 a user per month), and Enterprise ($25 a user per month). Each lets you use G Suite as your organization's core email, calendaring, and office collaboration solution. Unlike the Team Edition, you'll need to verify your domain and modify several domain name records.
Three major differences between Basic and Business are storage, search, and compliance capabilities. Basic limits storage to 30GB per user, while Business delivers unlimited storage (assuming you have at least 5 user accounts). Business includes Cloud Search, for Google-style intelligent search of your G Suite data — and works on the web and with a mobile app. Business also adds Google Vault, with data hold and archiving capabilities for policy and legal compliance management. (For most organizations, I recommend G Suite Business. I think that the increased storage and enhanced search capabilities are worth the added monthly cost over G Suite Basic.)
"The features of G Suite for Education are generally similar to those in G Suite Business (with some exceptions), while the features in the government and nonprofit editions are largely identical to G Suite Basic," Stillman said.
G Suite Enterprise
"For larger organizations who want advanced functionality like enterprise-grade meetings, security key management, and data loss protection, we would recommend looking at the Enterprise edition," said Stillman. Enterprise edition also allows 30 people (up from 25 in Basic or Business) to participate in Hangouts Meet meetings, and allows for those sessions to be recorded and stored to Google Drive.
Different people, different licenses
You can also purchase and assign different licenses to users, based on different needs. For example, you could assign Enterprise edition to people in one organizational unit, and assign Business edition to people in a different organizational unit.
"Many organizations choose to assign a mix of licenses to different users in their organization, and we fully support this scenario," Stillman said. "Admins can assign different licenses for different organizational units, or even for specific users."
Your organization + collaboration
Google now offers editions to meet a variety of needs. All of them put collaborative capabilities into the hands of people in your organization.
If your organization has deployed G Suite, which edition do you use? If you use a mix of licenses, how do you choose which edition to assign a user? Let me know in the comments or on Twitter (@awolber).