Block Sending / Receiving Of Inappropriate Emails In Your Domain

For many Google Apps Admins, ensuring appropriate behavior in Gmail is one of the main responsibilities in their day-to-day lives. Until now, it has been almost impossible to stop inappropriate emails from being sent before it was too late.

Luckily, Google just released a new feature called Email Quarantine which allows Admins to define what is inappropriate in advance. Admins can then screen emails that violate that definition and decide whether they should be delivered to their intended recipient. This video will walk you through how to set up and manage an Email Quarantine on your domain so you can control the quality of the emails your end users receive or send.

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How to Create a Google Apps Domain in Three Easy Steps

Creating a new Google Apps domain isn’t as tricky as it may sound. Don’t believe me? Check out the three critical steps you need to know. Good luck!

Step 1: Sign Up for Google Apps

Just fill out this signup form to kick-off your free, 30-day trial of Google Apps. You can configure the rest after signup, including your choice of Google Apps for Work, or Google Apps Unlimited. (The latter is more expensive, but includes more storage and more compliance and auditing controls.)

Google Apps Signup Form

Step 2: Choose Your Name(s)

The next step in creating a Google Apps domain is choosing the domain name, and it’s not an idle choice. The URL you choose for your Google Apps domain cannot be changed, ever. If you’ve already got a domain name for your business – like the one you use for your company website – you’ll need to perform some very basic web server work to prove to Google that you own the URL. If you don’t have a URL, you can purchase one from any domain provider (like GoDaddy or Namecheap, etc.) and then prove your ownership.

Alternately, you can purchase a domain directly through Google and save yourself a few technical steps. Google domains are generally a little more expensive than URLs from other providers, but having Google manage your annual domain renewals and DNS hosting does simplify matters a bit.

Google Apps Domain Purchase Form

You’ll also want to pick a username for the Google Apps Domain Administrator. The classic admin@mydomain.com is always a good choice. Finally, you’ll need to have a non-Google Apps email address handy to list as the point of contact for the domain. This should be an alternate, company-controlled email address that belongs to the administrator account, not personally to the administrator. If the admin leaves, your organization will still want access to this outside email account.

Step 3: Launch the Google Apps Domain Setup Wizard

If you’re a first-time Google Apps administrator, the smartest thing you can do is use the Google Apps Domain Setup Wizard. The Wizard will walk you through the basic steps of rolling out a domain. If you want a little more personal hand-holding before you roll out a Google Apps domain, you can sign up for a Google Apps Setup Webinar, and a trained Google support tech will answer your questions.

Google Apps Admin Console Start Setup Wizard

During the course of the Setup Wizard, you’ll be asked if you want to add users immediately, or wait. It’s often easier to use the Setup Wizard to create the domain with just one user – the primary administrator – and then circle back to create the rest of your users once your domain is configured to your liking.

At whatever point you decide to add users, you’ll have three methods at your disposal to add them:

  • Manually, wherein you create users one at a time by completing a web form
  • In bulk, where you upload a CSV file to create a large number of user accounts all at once
  • Via invitation, where an email is sent to a potential user and he or she can opt to join your domain

Google Apps Setup Wizard Add Users

The Google Apps Setup Wizard moves from creating users to activating Apps. There are four core Google Apps: Gmail (which includes Google Contacts), Google Drive, Google Calendar and Google Sites. Just select the services you want to include and move forward.

When you activate Gmail, you’ll be asked whether you want to route mail through your own servers or Google’s. Unless you are an experienced mail server administrator, it is not recommended you try to route mail to a standalone email server. Similarly, novice mail administrators should not attempt to “spoof proof” their domains via DKIM or SPF settings.

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If you purchased your domain name from someone other than Google, you’ll need to modify some MX records to allow Google to handle your mail traffic. Not to worry; the process is fairly simple and the wizard walks you through it rather painlessly.

Activating other core Google Apps is much more straightforward; the Setup Wizard will suggest the simplest options for getting your domain up and running quickly. While the wizard will ask you if you want to add third-party apps from the Google Apps Marketplace, it is again a best practice to configure your domain first, then circle back to add Marketplace apps.

Once you’re through the Setup Wizard, you’re ready to dive in and custom-configure your Google Apps domain. For that, we recommend the free Backupify Guide To Setting Up Your Google Apps Domain – Download Here For Free

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Google Inbox Coming Soon To Enterprise

You may already be familiar with Google’s major change to their Gmail look and functionality titled Google Inbox that was released in October 2014. The mobile friendly, bundled, and swipe heavy interface is soon to be available for those using Google for Work as well.

Google is currently looking for businesses to join an early adopter program. This would require the businesses to use Inbox as their primary form of emailing for all their employees and to be in communication with Google regarding usage and potential case studies. For this early adopter program they are looking for businesses that  heavily use mobile apps.

If you are interested in being a part of the early adopter program and believe you would be a good fit submit you application to Google here!

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gCON 2015 Admin Roundtable

 

Roundtable Participants

Kevin Mourey System Engineer at Clear Choice

Andy Serwatuk Applications Administrator of Google Apps at Cadillac Fairview

David Malone Google Apps for Education Deployment Architect in the San Francisco Unified School District.

Andrew McGonnigle The Gooru

 

Why did you decide to move to Google Apps?

David Malone-  Our district transitioned to Google a year ago.  It was a slow roll out.  We gave accounts to all students and staff in the district, so about 67,000 seats total.  We then manually enrolled about 700 chromebooks in a week to make them compliant.  There were very few problems.  Now the District has upwards of 3,600 devices at 63 schools.  Since the beginning of 2015 we’ve rolled out 3,000 devices.  Having the Google platform that isn’t device specific that allows for a continuity of experience is very key in the success of this program.  Access anywhere allows students of all income brackets to work on the same level.

“Access anywhere allows students of all income brackets to work on the same level.”

Andy Serwatuk- The driving force behind the switch is that they wanted something cheaper than the current system, Lotus Notes.  Our offices are spread all over the country and maintaining servers at each location didn’t seem feasible, so Google Apps was the perfect solution. I wasn’t here when the decision was made but if I were I would have made the same decision.

Kevin Mourey-  In 2011 we switched to Google Apps from Microsoft Exchange. At the time, our Exchange was sitting on some failing hardware and the cost of replacing that hardware was significant, so we explored other options. Google Apps came up as the prime alternative to our current system. The features were enticing and the price point was fantastic.

Did you go Google Apps to help manage the device roll out or did you decide to go Google Apps and roll out the devices to encourage the usage of Google Apps ecosystem?

David- I wanted to encourage collaboration and there is no other tool out there that is geared towards that as much as Google Apps For Education. The Chromebooks were a great way to transition into Google Apps ecosystem. Students and teachers take to Google Apps so naturally that it makes it easy to scale and expand upon quickly.

What has been the biggest success or challenge since starting the implementation?

David- We only have Gmail turned on for intra-communication but we cannot email outside the domain. It is difficult to deploy on this scale without email, because the more accounts people have to check on, the more complicated things get.  The Gmail hurdle has been difficult for end user buy in. Even with this hurdle, we have 12,000 active users on a weekly basis which is about 20%.  Once we address the Gmail thing and get everyone an account, adoption will go through the roof.

Andy- Adoption. Google does things differently; starting from the interface and even how they roll out changes to the platform.  End users were used to things being done a certain way, so there was some adjustments. Many platforms are starting to make the change but Google is the driving force in these changes. It is very new to people who have been working a certain way for a very long time. However, the younger generation picks it up very quickly – many have used it in school because Apps for Education is free.

The IT side is usually the last to adopt. They are very systematic, and may not initially respond well to the concept of rolling innovation and constant updates. It certainly takes some adjusting.

“In fact I can count on one hand the number of times we had people whose Gmail was not working, and that was over the last 4 years.”

Kevin- Our biggest success has been the uptime.  It’s a relief to not have to worry about whether someone’s email will be down. In fact I can count on one hand the number of times we had people whose Gmail was not working, and that was over the last 4 years.

The biggest challenge has been adoption and making users aware of all the features they could be taking advantage of.

How do you stay on top of Google’s rapid release schedule?

Andy- Google operates on its own schedule and you get accustomed to that.  Only experience will show you which features you’ll actually see soon and which will take some time.  You have to manage upwards with your internal management so you can have a roadmap for which features are upcoming.

What is the value of the Chromebook deployment already and what do you hope to see moving forward?

David- I have personally deployed 3600 Chromebooks in two months.  That’s incredible.  With any other platform that would present significant issues.  We have a 3rd party that does the whiteglove enrollment for us. So once I create the org unit structure with appropriate permissions then my job is done. The uniformity of experience across devices is helpful in training teachers. We are hoping to get 20% usage this year from the 67,000 students.

The amount of support requests for Chromebooks is so small – and when there is one it is usually someone forgetting to take it out of developer mode. Chromebooks are like pencils. It doesnt matter which one you pick up, it will pretty much be the same.  Teachers like that. The biggest success with a Chromebook is the focus on learning and collaboration and the ability to scale immediately with minimal resources.

“I have personally deployed 3600 Chromebooks in two months.  That’s incredible.  With any other platform that would present significant issues.”

What has Google made easier or harder in the deployment process?

David- I think the hardest thing to translate to people is the data sharing and the questions that come along with storage – how long should we store the data of previous students?  Things like that.  The great thing about Google is it is always improving. When I have an issue it is probably already in the timeline to be addressed.

What do you see yourself doing in term of training on Google Apps?

Andy- I’m in the process of building the strategy on how to manage the adoption.  I am taking two routes. The first is making sure there is a complete training program. It will walk users through the basics; this is your email, this is your calendar, and this is how they work.

A second level training program will transform users from being sufficient to proficient. This will go over best practices and more power user functions.

The third level will be selecting regional Goorus to ensure I am not the one to have to field every single question. The second part would be to interview employees, find what inefficiencies we can fix with Google Apps, and then create a marketing campaign based on that success. An example being a meeting where everyone has their own spreadsheet and are copying identical info into the spreadsheets. Then one person mails out the spreadsheet to everyone so everyone has 2 copies of the same spreadsheet. This is an inefficiency that is easily fixed by Google Apps.

“Everyone has their own spreadsheet and are copying identical info into the spreadsheets. Then one person mails out the spreadsheet to everyone so everyone has 2 copies of the same spreadsheet. This is an inefficiency.”

What is one thing you have learned being a Google Apps Admin?

Andy- Adoption is hard. People aren’t looking to change, so you have to give them a reason to. I have been at other companies where they turn on everything at once to see what sticks, and then they build from there. That doesn’t work – it’s too slow a process.  You really have to push for adoption and show people where they can benefit from using Google Apps.

Could you tell us about your rollout of mobile device management?

Kevin- We have 700 users and we don’t know how many of those users are connected to mobile, so we set up a test org with a few users. Everything went smoothly, so I started preparing for the actual rollout. I predicted it would take two months. I sent out multiple notifications and then launched it location by location.  I was surprised at how few support requests I received.  The entire rollout ended up only taking 2 weeks. The best part about mobile device management is that it was already part of the Google Apps admin console, it didn’t cost anything extra.  We were able to use our pre existing communications platform to integrate all the mobile devices.

The one challenge to keep in mind is that you should turn off pop/imap.  In iOS if you use Google on your native mail client it will use pop, so make sure to turn it off.

How are you controlling usage of 3rd party apps by end users?

Kevin- We are using FlashPanel to look at what is going on in our domain. We are looking into limiting what permissions our users can grant to 3rd party apps.

How are you leveraging Google+?

Kevin- We have started to use Google+ and circles to communicate relevant updates that we didn’t really need to send emails for. Although we use sites as an intranet platform, we have found that communities works as a great internal communication board and it is a much faster method. We can use it to train, schedule events, take polls, and more. It allows for a much deeper collaboration.

What is the difference between how your teachers are using sites and classroom?

David- Adoption is difficult and incremental so it is important to manage expectations. Classroom has a less complex feature set than the full Google Apps. It allows us to get them from zero to paperless in about an hour.  It models social networks they are already familiar with and as we get more devices in student’s hands, it is beginning to take off.

“It allows us to get them from zero to paperless in about an hour.”

What is the biggest challenge for users who are coming over from Microsoft?

Andy- Sorting. Being able to sort things easily by date or by sender. I address this by sending them a cheat sheet on how to use the advanced search features in Google.

Can you give any advice on moving large number of users from one primary domain to another?

David- Migrating data can be difficult.  There are third party apps like backupify that can help with this. In some cases the student data isn’t critical so you could focus on transferring teachers.

What auditing tools do you use for sharing with everyone in the domain or publicly?

Kevin- FlashPanel allows you to look on a file by file or user by user basis who is sharing what with whom on Google Drive. You can also set policies that can control the sharing of users. I couldn’t speak highly enough of FlashPanel and what it allows us to do on this front.

How can you use Google Drive to replace typical file servers?

Andy- It is best to think of Google Drive as peer-to-peer file sharing.  It’s not supposed to be used as a file sharer.

How can Google+ communities be integrated with an intranet site?

Kevin- Google+ communities are part of Google+.  I don’t integrate them to an intranet site, that’s a completely different service.

What are best practices for Google Apps for Education settings?

Andrew- There are two fantastic Google Apps for Education Google+ communities where a lot of info is being shared so please check those out.

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The Perfect Mobile Device Rollout

In this clip from the gCON Admin Roundtable, Kevin Mourey details his initial fears leading into the rollout of mobile devices for his organization, Clear Choice, and the surprising realities of what it was like to complete the rollout.

Kevin discusses steps he took to ensure a seamless rollout and what he would have done differently if he were to do it again.

 

This is an excerpt from the recent gCON Admin Day.

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Create first page headers on Google Docs

Complying with MLA formatting guidelines using Google Docs just got a whole lot easier. Google just made a quiet update that allows for you to insert a header that only displays on the first page of a document while using a different header for all subsequent pages.

This video will walk you through the steps of utilizing this helpful update and how to remove the headers if necessary.

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The Difficulties Of Switching To Google Apps

In this clip from gCON Admin Day Andy Serwatuk discusses how to overcome the hardships associated with transitioning a business to Google Apps.

Communicating the platform to users of different skill levels and relaying the unconventional way Google releases updates are just some of the subjects he covers.

This is an excerpt from the recent gCON Admin Day.

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Ensure Users Are Not Sharing Credit Cards And SSNs In Google Drive

Try BetterCloud for Google Apps Free for 30 Days —–> Secure Your Google Drive!

It is very common for a business to have secure information such as company credit card numbers stored in Google Drive. It is essential that these sensitive documents are not shared publicly. However, the Admin Console does not provide a way to search through the contents of your domain’s drive to view the contents of each document.

Using BetterCloud for Google Apps, Google Apps Administrators can run a scan that will search all of your domains documents for a string of numbers that resemble a credit card number or a SSN and will notify you of which documents contain this information and how they are shared. You can then adjust the sharing settings of the documents to comply with your company’s policies using BetterCloud’s Google Drive Compliance tool.

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The Benefits Of Deploying Chromebooks

David Malone is the Google Apps for a 70,000 user domain that is in the process of moving to Google Apps.

He personally deployed nearly 4,000 Chromebooks to his students and teachers in less than 2 months. In this video he details the resistance he has met, the strategy he implemented, and the positives his domain has gained from this massive deployment.

This is an excerpt from the recent gCON Admin Day.

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Learn Keyboard Shortcuts From A Chrome Extension

Knowing Keyboard shortcuts can drastically cut down on the amount of time it takes to complete actions in Gmail. Mastering these will allow you to spend less time navigating Gmail and more time on your work.

KeyRocket is a Chrome Extension that teaches you Gmail shortcuts via helpful popups in the Gmail interface. This video walks you through the steps to set up and use KeyRocket to enhance your Google experience.

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