Google is selling the features a la carte and they can be used for any email system you use: from Lotus Notes (IBM) to Microsoft Exchange to Novell’s Groupwise. Prices for Google Apps Premiere for all the features start at $50 per user per year, but you can add just what you need by going here. You can sign up online. It’s ideal for the SMB space that must comply with complex federal regulations, but often have less resources to keep up with the requirements.
The three features include message filtering, message security, and message discovery (or storage). Part of email security includes policy management tools so network admins can more easily manage the network. They keep the network from being clogged with large YouTube videos or mass emails. More important is keeping viruses off the email server and for the user, speed. Most users, including me (until I worked at Cymphonix), are fairly clueless about these issues. We just expect email to be dependable and quick. I became very sympathetic to the plight of the network admin who makes sure that’s how things run.
Google Apps has low-cost tools including email services (a Microsoft Outlook competitor), Google Docs(TM) (a Microsoft Word competitor but online and it saves your work every few seconds), spreadsheets and presentations (like Powerpoint), Google Calendar(TM) shared calendaring, and Google Talk(TM) instant messaging. These are free but in the Premiere version comes the extra security features (here’s a handy chart). Google is sweetening the deal with a free 30 day trial of Google Apps Premiere.