I’ve written before about Cloud Sherpas, a cloud computing systems integrator and application developer. They’re a Google Apps reseller that also created SherpaTools for Google Apps, a free app that gives more administrator functionality to Google Apps users.
Only a few days ago, Cloud Sherpas raised $1 million in funding from Hallett Capital and other investors and, somewhat unusually, one of the investors in the round has taken over the CEO role from Michael Cohn who is becoming VP Product and Marketing.
The focus of the funding is an acceleration of Google Apps enterprise adoption and a release today will help with that. The enhanced version of SherpaTools is focused on helping enterprises protect and preserve end user data. Google Apps admins can now delegate access to fellow IT staff, such as help desk workers, without providing the company’s master username and password credentials. Using a dedicated pin number, a help desk worker can reset an end user’s password, for example, but he or she would not have access to a broader spectrum of employee data. While a seemingly minor improvement, this gives a degree of granularity of user control that is important to enterprise users.
An interesting new feature, and one that I’ve previously had a real need for, involves the ability to quickly and easily preserve the data of terminated employees. Usually with Google Apps, all of an employee’s data (spreadsheets, presentations, emails, etc.) are deleted once they’re removed from the system. In our case, when an employee left we’ve got around the issue by suspending rather than deleting a user from the system. We then went into the account and manually removed/archived/reassigned the data files we wanted to keep. Not at all user friendly! With the new release of SherpaTools, IT admins can automatically delegate all of a terminated employee’s files to his or her manager or another user in the system.
Cloud Sherpas is moving beyond it’s free tool and will soon introduce a paid version. In an interesting twist however, users who buy their Google Apps licences directly from Cloud Sherpas will get all the SherpaTools premium features for free – a nice little inducement if ever I saw one!
In terms of where Cloud Sherpas are at now, they’re reporting around 2100 businesses users serving nearly 300,000 workers. I’ve said before that I think tool like this serve a dual purpose – firstly to drive customers to CloudSherpas service offerings (deployment and migration to Google apps) and secondly to get the attention of folks like Google for a potential future trade sale – let’s watch and see what happens in Cloud Sherpas’ case.