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Top Tips for Google Apps Admins


May 6, 2014

5 minute read

As of February 2015, FlashPanel is now BetterCloud for Google Apps. The items in this post reflect the product as it existed at the date of publication. Subscribe by submitting your email in the form at the top of this page for the latest content.


This is an ongoing series on Google+, where we post one tip per day for Google Apps administrators. Follow +BetterCloud to receive the daily tip, and check back for the full roundup.

1. Onboarding a new user? Fill in their profile, add them to the appropriate Org. Unit and Groups, and set their email signature using BetterCloud’s provisioning workflow.

2. Come up with a naming convention for creating new groups, location-department-role@ or newyork-sales-managers@, for example, to help users know exactly who they are emailing.

3. Create a secondary calendar listing organization holidays and share it with all users on your domain so everyone knows which days the office is closed.

4. Not sure when your users last reset their own passwords? Force a password change on the next sign in for everyone in your domain (or just certain Org. Units or users), then set a policy to require a reset every few months.

5. Need to clean up group memberships? Run the canned “All Groups and Their Members” report to export a list, then use BetterCloud to add or remove members.

6. Design and apply a custom email signature to all of your users for a consistent brand presence. Bonus: add social media links and promote upcoming events for even more exposure.

7. Often underutilized, Org. Units are the key to easier user management and turning Google services on or off. The three recommended configurations are by 1. department 2. location or 3. access level to Google Apps.

8. Want your domain to be on the cutting edge of new Google Apps features and updates? Switch from scheduled to rapid release in the Google Admin Console and users will have immediate access to new features.

9. Many organizations are adopting a BYOD (bring your own device) policy to allow users on-the go access to Google Apps. For security and control, use the Admin Console to approve, block, wipe, or disable devices and prohibit third-party apps from gaining access to your domain.

10. After your initial rollout, offer users continued Google Apps training to facilitate long-term adoption and success. Consider holding a monthly lunch and learn or encouraging users to subscribe to Google Gooru for free daily tips and training videos.

11. The average enterprise Google Apps for Business domain has 4,971 publicly shared documents. Use BetterCloud’s Drive Explorer to filter by Exposure > All Public Docs to find and correct those on your domain.

12. Curious which applications and extensions end users have installed and authenticated on your domain? Use Apps Explorer to approve or revoke access.

13. Use Google Sites to make an intranet for your organization, as a place to host training materials and resources. Then, use BetterCloud to audit Sites and make sure the intranet is only shared within the domain.

14. Does your entire IT team have super administrator access? For increased security, create individualized admin roles using BetterCloud’s access control feature. Restrict admin rights to essential areas of your domain, and even scope access further by Org. Unit.

15. In order to be immediately notified of suspicious activity on your domain, set up account activity alerts within the Google Admin Console. Receive an email each time an unusual event is detected, then log in to investigate and take action.

16. Still using a spreadsheet to manage external contacts? Upload contacts to BetterCloud, determine which users to share them with using tags, and sync contacts seamlessly with mobile devices and Google Contacts.

17. Curious which users are forwarding their email to a personal account or how many Docs are exposed publicly across your entire domain’s Drive? Use BetterCloud’s canned reports and reports builder to view this information and more.

18. Glad that your users are utilizing Google+ but spending too much time policing posts for inappropriate content? Using BetterCloud, build policies to determine how Google+ posts can be shared and what content they can contain.

19. Check the dashboard to see how many user accounts are suspended on your domain, then delete dormant accounts and recycle their licenses for new users.

20. Need a listing of all users and the groups they belong to? Follow these steps to generate a custom “All Users and their Groups” report.

21. Has one of your users ever left for vacation without setting up an out of office responder? Apply an auto-reply on their behalf so contacts can know when to expect a response.

22. Want to know which documents are shared publicly or externally, potentially leaking important data on the web. Schedule the “Docs Exposed Publicly” canned report to run every day or week, and determine which documents need to be brought back into compliance through BetterCloud.

23. Turn on user profile editing to allow end users to edit their own profile and the specific fields they are able to change, such as adding a new cell phone number or secondary email address.

24. Promoting an upcoming event or blog post? Add a link in your users’ email signatures for more publicity.

25. Make an access control for the manager of each department so they can keep up with administrative tasks, such as group membership and title changes.

26. Create email aliases on your users’ behalf so everyone can receive emails sent to their first name or a nickname–especially helpful for giving out an email address over the phone.

27. How many users are super administrators on your domain? Run the “Super Admin” Report, then evaluate and adjust those users’ level of access.

28. New hire? Navigate to the user profile of a team member in a similar role, then use the shortcut to “copy all groups to another user” to get the new user up to speed quickly.

29. Do your users keep receiving annoying spam messages? Push out a domain-wide filter to send those right to trash.

30. Can’t figure out how to do something in BetterCloud? Use in-app chat (in the bottom right of the application) and our support team will walk you through it.

31. Find out who–outside your organization–is sharing documents with your users by looking at “Externally Owned Docs.” Take action if you see patterns, such as a number of documents owned by a competitor.

32. Looking for a contact management solution? Share groups of contacts (such as vendors or contractors) with certain users via tags and make email addresses and phone numbers readily available.

33. Encourage users to take advantage BetterCloud’s end user view–especially helpful for looking up who belongs to a group before sending a message to everyone.

34. Don’t miss any important emails due to recent holidays–as an alternative to an OOO responder, set up an email pairing and delegate into a user’s inbox.

35. Overwhelmed by all of the steps involved in properly deleting a user’s account? Reset their password, set an auto-reply, transfer documents, calendars, groups, and more using our organized deprovisioning workflow.

36. Using Google Sites for client projects or class assignments? BetterCloud’s Sites Explorer allows you to view all sites on your domain and adjust the owner, collaborators, and sharing settings, ensuring that no sensitive information is accidentally public on the web.

37. Suspect suspicious activity on a user’s account? Set up an email monitor to discreetly receive a copy of all incoming and outgoing messages, as well as on the record chats.

38. Need to make several adjustments to Google Group memberships and access settings? Export your groups directory to a spreadsheet using BetterCloud and make changes in bulk, saving time and clicks.

39. Join our new help center community to ask questions and suggest new features to the BetterCloud support & product teams!

40. Curious why some users are nearing storage capacity? Check Drive Explorer to see how many photos, videos, and PDFs users are uploading.