Setting up Google Workspace for a small business – part 7

Email for the servers and scanners

As well as user accounts we have emails being sent from servers and scanners. Google have a help page that says how to do this through SMTP relay. However, I also want to be able to see what has been sent. Up until now we’ve set the scanner to use the shared email account which means if someone replies to a scanned email we see the reply – useful for when we send orders to suppliers. (yes, we still scan paper. I’ve yet to work out an all electronic process that works as well. Maybe when I replace our MS Access database).

I’m not sure if the SMTP relay service will keep the sent email in the shared mailbox but I’ve time to experiment so I’ll try SMTP relay first, and if that fails I’ll have to setup the scanner to used the shared email with an app password.

Solved – activate Comprehensive mail storage “When you have the SMTP Relay service enabled, user mailboxes will keep a copy of the message in the sent folder  (for example, when sending mail from a scanner) if comprehensive mail storage is enabled. This might cause accounts to exceed storage limits if your account’s edition has storage limits”

SMTP relay needs a static IP Address, which we have. When we change ISPs (maybe once every 5 years) I’ll have to remember to update the IP address here.

This took me about 1 hour to get the scanner working. It was a typical error of one setting being wrong – I forgot to change the “sender address” from to on the scanner.

After that, another hour setting and testing the various servers that send emails.

Setting up Google Workspace for a small business – part 6

Making my new email address my default email address

Things are starting to work. I have my new email address on my phone. Now I want to start using it as my main email address and tell everyone else in the office how to make that happen too. I need to:

  • Import all my old email
  • Import my old calendar with all future appointments
  • set my new email to collect email that arrives in my old account.
  • Import files saved in Google Drive

I’m looking to move domains in the least disruptive way I can think of. That means I’m not going to tell anyone and I’ll just start using the new address. I’ll have emails sent to the old address collected by the new address. Over time people will notice and start using the new address and I won’t miss any emails.

I’ll gradually start changing login email addresses to use the new email address too but I’m not losing access to the old email address so I’ve no time limit to do that in.

If my suppliers change email domain and their accounts department starts using it I always phone them to confirm they’re not being impersonated, just as I do when they change bank accounts (never trust a letter or email changing bank account details! Always phone and check with real people it’s genuine).

This page on migrating data into workspace looks useful for giving tools and instructions for migrating data. I mention it as I’ll pick one of these but you might find the others more useful.

Forwarding new emails to the old mailbox to the new mailbox

So far, these instructions are pretty straight forward

I’m going to set up forwarding now. There are two approaches to this;

Method 1 would be to have my new email address collect the email from my old email address.

Method 2 would be to forward all email that arrives in the old mailbox to the new mailbox.

I thought about the pros and cons of each and I’m going with google suggestion of forwarding all my emails. Forwarding can be hit and miss as many spam filters treat forwarded email as potential spam. Forwarding also has a problem in that it happens AFTER the google spam filters have run. I often see real email in my spam box so I’ll have to keep a check on the old account for a while. Collecting email is also becoming less straight forward as 2FA is not possible for POP/IMAP (the protocols used to collect email from another mailbox) so some services dont allow it or you have to set special app passwords.

One more thing though – in the longer term I will have the option of changing my old email to be an alias domain of the new email so I won’t need the forwarding for too long… i hope.

Summary instructions:

Old mail box > settings > Forwarding and POP/IMAP > Add forwarding address
Confirmation email in new mail box to confirm before it can be used
Return to old mail box > settings >forwarding and POP/IMAP, select new email address. I choose to immediately archive the original mail, so I only see old mail in the old account and new mail in the new account.

OK, now for calendar events.

Calendar > Settings >Import and Export > Export

This should export ALL the calendars I’ve access too and the Zip file contains each calendar as a file. All I need to do is select just my Calendar as the other calendars I’ll resubscribe too (other people at Roots)

Unfortunately the export isn’t working and I get a 404 error. I’ll have to come back to this.

So, change of plan. Each user can go to Google Takeout, select calendars, just their calendar and export that to re-import it. At first I had an error message to say it failed but then I saw all my appointments past and present appear in my calendar.

Contacts import (easiest part so far)

Export from old account: Contacts (from the 9 dot menu at top right) > Ctrl + A (select all contacts) > More Actions (the 3 vertical dots) > Export > Export as: google CSV

Import to new account: Contacts (from the 9 dot menu at top right) > Import Contacts (it’s empty so that option is on the front page) > select the file.

Getting the old email into the new accounts

There are to methods for this too.

Method 1: Use the data migration service

Method 2: Allow users to import their old mailbox

Part of me things users doing their own is simple enough (there are only a few of us) but I also think if I get the migration service working for me then it will be easier for me to trigger it for everyone else giving them less to do. So, Data migration service it is!

You definitely want to be reading the full instructions for this. I’m summarising here for my own benefit later.

My notes: Nothing to add, it was all as I expected but I need each user to generate an app password for me to access their account.

Google Drive files

Now for the transfer of these. We don’t use drive files much but I’ve a few notes in spreadsheets that I want to keep so I’ll transfer.

It seems the simplest way to do this is Google Takeout selecting just Drive files. The others can do the same if they’ve files to keep. I don’t think it will copy links to files that are shared with us but we’re still able to see them in our original accounts and I’m sure can get access to them from the new account if needed.

Almost forgot!

We have an intranet which is a google site. It’s where we keep procedures and things, so I’ll need to migrate that too.

Setting up Google Workspace for a small business – part 5

I gave up with the Google Workspace Collaborative Inbox.

It had a number of problems for my use case, including:

  • I couldn’t get the custom footer working
  • Replies to the originator go as CC: instead of TO: as the group address is always the only TO: address.
  • Sending an email from the Groups web view, you always have to click CC: to add an address (we want to send emails from our collaborative inbox as well as process incoming emails).
I got this as a CC’d email instead of and I don’t like this

On the plus side, it did allow email conversations to be assigned to members of the group but I didn’t get as far as testing if marking the conversation as ‘complete’ also allow it to be hidden from view by default.

So what now?

Option 1: Find a suitable helpdesk software platform

like Zendesk, FreshDesk, Gekko, HelpScout, FreeScout, uvDesk or osTIcket (and that’s the shorter list of all the platforms I stumbled upon).

I mentioned before I like to keep overhead to a minimum. These are typically charged between £4 and £40 per month per user and we have 4 users covering the shop email account, so thats £192-£1920 per year of cost. Some have limited free offerings but the limitation often includes a limited number of records being kept which is too limiting for me.

The exceptions here are FreeScout, uvDesk and osTicket which have open source editions. I can run those on my own server and the only cost is time to set them up and maintain them. I can also alter them to suit our needs and processes and I have full control and access to all data. There’s a good argument that an open source solution will cost me more than £192 per year to run but the hosted £192 option doesn’t include all the nice things I could do with open source. The cost of open source is relatively fixed and not dependant on the number of users I have.

I’ve also got the option of writing my own too. Our needs are not too complex so processing email into a database and having a web front end (viewed like an email client) allowing our users to assign and reply and attach things is well within my technical capabilities but currently outside of my available time to implement.

Ticketing solutions also start edging into full CRM (Customer Relationship Management) and whilst I’ve been considering those for a while we’re a long way off yet.

besides, option 2 is far simpler and simple is good.

Option 2: Use a dedicated email address and give everyone delegated access

Which is exactly what we do now as our legacy account never had the Collaborative Inbox option. The downsides are:

  • Another user account to pay for (£5/month)
  • Having an account with another password (ok, that’s trivial, I’ll be the only one with the password and I’ll delegate access to everyone).
  • If you have a lot of users, knowing if someone was already working on a customer enquiry or a supplier request can get confusing – the app solutions in option 1 often had ‘collision prevention’ so two agents wouldn’t work on the same thing at the same time.

As we only have 4 users and a low volume of mail to our shared email, Delegated Access is the solution I’m using. There’s probably a limit to how many delegates you can allow to access your email, in one place I saw 10 as the limit and in another 100 so beware if you’ve lots of users of the shared email account.

Setting up delegated email

First, delete the group 🙂

Admin > Users > Add a user

First name = Hello, Surname = Roots, [drifts off remembering this post about names for users and how not every culture has a Surname]
email = hello@sroot

[Using an incognito window for the new account] Try to login, I can’t because 2FA is enforced, so Admin > User > hello roots (the user name) > 2 Step Verificatoin > get backup verification codes

Login with backup code, accept terms, set new password, enroll in 2 step verification, select phone prompt, then have to add the account to my phone usng another backup code.

Now, check users can allow delegated access (probably not by default). Unfortunately this change didn’t happen instantly for me, so you might have to come back to this point later.

Settings for gmail > User settings > Mail delegation (or search for delegation)

Add a delegate, instructions here but short version: settings > all settings > accounts > Grant Access to your account > enter the email address of the other user. They need to accept the invite.

These are my preferred settings for our shared account.

Once the invite is accepted a user can switch to the delegated email account (in this case by selecting it from the top right panel icon with their initial

Whilst I’m here, I’d rather have my photo on my profile than my initials but by default users can’t edit their profile. Admin > Users > More is where you can change that.

So, I now have users set up and shared email account for us through delegated access. It’s the end of the day so I’m stopping here. Next task from my list will be setting up the server/infrastructure emails like noreply@