BetterCloud raises $2M to make Google Apps better

BetterCloud has raised $2 million for its quest to bring better management and other capabilities to Google Apps(s goog). The funding comes from CEO David Politis and unnamed angel investors.

New York-based BetterCloud is also launching the beta of FlashPanel, a new service that helps admins better manage and maintain Google Apps for businesses. FlashPanel eases the standardization of email settings for groups of people and reports on their email usage.

“If a user hasn’t logged in for 30 days, the admin will be alerted. Maybe the user has left the company but the account was never suspended or deleted. We alert you to that,” Politis said.

BetterCloud already launched DomainWatch, a security tool for Google Apps admins. DomainWatch provides an admin dashboard and a policy editor that lets admins specify what material user can share outside their designated domains.

Politis has Google Apps experience from his previous position as VP for Cloud Sherpas, one of the largest Google Apps partners.

Google Apps for Business, which includes Gmail as well as Google Docs and other productivity tools that compete with  Microsoft Office(s msft), costs $50 per user per year. BetterCloud mimics that pricing model — DomainWatch starts at $8 per user per year for the base service and $15 per user per year for a premium version.

Google Apps customers include many universities, cities and government accounts (including Los Angeles and  Seattle.)  Other customers include Virgin America airlines and Genentech.

While Google Apps lacks many of the features of the Microsoft Office-Outlook combo, critics say many of those same features go unused and businesses have long chafed at Office’s pricing. That, and the fact that Google launched the cheaper Google Apps in 2007, prompted Microsoft’s hosted Office 365. While Microsoft and Google are the giants here, there are other hosted Office competitors include Zoho.

Photo courtesy of Flickr userakakumo