Keeping your Admin Console Healthy and Secure

One of the most popular questions I get after completing the audit process with our customers is, We are trying to figure out your accent. Where are you from? Well, I am from Rhode Island, so my accent is a mash-up of Staten Island and Boston with a hint of Jersey Shore. I did grow up just a few miles from where Paulie D from MTV’s Jersey Shore grew up.  

The second most popular question I get, and the reason for this blog post, is How often should we Audit our Google Workspace environment? Our recommendation is every 3 years, but there are occasions when you may want an audit sooner.  

First and foremost, if you never audited your Google Workspace for Education environment, what are you waiting for? Now is the time! You don’t know what you don’t know!  

Secondly, Google has put in place a number of changes and improvements to help accommodate fully remote instruction. 

Next, we’ve seen lots of movement in IT departments of the many schools that we work with, for example; new directors, new Admin console managers, more usage of Google Workspace, a migration from another platform to Google Workspace, etc. Instead of digging through the hundreds of settings inside your Admin console, having the Google Workspace for Education audit creates a good baseline and road map of where you stand with the educational best practices we recommend, in addition, the audit review call is very informative and can be used to answer any questions you have about most anything inside your Google Workspace environment.

Another theme we see with schools across the US and Canada is a huge influx of new Chromebooks to their domains or re-purposing devices from classroom carts to 1:1. This large change in device use is a great reason to have CDW Amplified for Education audit your domain. For some schools, this is their first time managing Chromebooks, others are adding more, a lot more! 

We’ve seen in many of our audits that some confusion happens between device settings and user/browser settings. This is more true for the Google Workspace administrators that are new to managing Chromebooks and are used to an Active Directory environment. I, myself, fumbled through this learning curve when Chromebooks were introduced to the district that I worked for. After going through an audit, you can be more assured that by following the recommendations included, the Chromebooks are ready for student and staff use.

Finally, we understand, firsthand, that Google Workspace for Education administrators wear multiple hats and don’t necessarily have time to stay current with the changes that Google makes on a daily basis. Their day-to-day lives include managing Google Workspace, phone systems, copiers/printers, Wi-Fi access points, Student Information Systems, content filters both on-premise and off-premise, Apple devices, Windows devices, and the list goes on… 

The best resource to stay current with Google Workspace for Education changes is to be part of our North American Google Technical Collaborative (NAGTC). The Google Workspace for Education Audit is your foundation and roadmap baseline and then the NAGTC is there to keep you up to date and afloat between audits. The NAGTC includes monthly live streams with all the updates Google makes packaged up and presented by our highly talented and extremely entertaining Technical Professional Development team here at CDW Amplified for Education. It also gets you access into our collaborative community where we have almost 2000 members in this community and every one of those members are Google Workspace for Education administrators. The power of that resource is immeasurable and saved the day for me numerous times while I was working for my school district. 

Other ways to stay on top of the changes Google pushes out include:

  • Subscribing to the Google Workspace updates blog
  • Keeping current with the Chrome Enterprise release notes
  • Adding the Google Workspace release calendar to your calendar
  • and our favorite, just finding new settings in the Admin console that appear without any newsletter, blog, or release notes explaining it. Stumbling on new settings typically happens while working with customers and is always fun navigating through a revamp of an interface. I’m looking at you, new devices interface.  

While not a complete list of the reasons to go through a Google Workspace domain audit with CDW Amplified for Education, it hits the high points. If any of these scenarios fit you or your domain, now is a great time to have an Audit.

 


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About the Author

Fred Aldrich, Google for Education Technical Consultant
Before coming onboard with CDW Amplified for Education, Fred worked in one of the largest districts in the smallest state, Rhode Island. He worked there for 17 years with combined time in the classroom and in the technology department. His mastery in the Google Admin console earned him the reputation of being the Google Guru in his district. At CDW Amplified for Education he puts that knowledge to the test as he supports school districts across North America.

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