5 Things A Google Apps Admin Should Do When An Employee Leaves Your Company

A generation or so ago, it was typical for employees to work for the same company for 20 or more years. Now it’s common for someone to have worked for several different companies by the time they hit 30. All this job switching results in a lot of employee onboarding and offboarding for Google Apps administrators.

Google Apps admins are heavily involved in user lifecycle management and should ensure they have their processes nailed down for properly deleting a Google Apps user from the company domain. Below are 5 important things all admins should consider before deleting a Google Apps user.

1. Don’t Go About Deleting Willy Nilly

When it comes to deleting a user from your Google Apps domain, your instinct will be to purge the account as soon as possible. The longer an unwanted account stays around, the longer your organization pays an unnecessary license fee, and the longer the account presents a potential security risk.

However, hastily deleting a Google Apps user account can be equally as dangerous. Once an account is deleted, the data in that account cannot be retrieved by Google — ever. That means any vital business data — including information you may be legally required to retain for years to come — is gone forever. Moreover, if the deleted account also was the primary user for certain Google services like Google Analytics or AdWords, your company may lose access to all data in those applications as well. Professional Google Apps domain administrators must balance the expediency of deleting a user account with the obligation to retain data and prevent interruption to key business operations.

2. Identify the User

The first step in deleting a Google Apps user is to confirm the identity of the user. It seems obvious, but in large organizations (or even smaller family-run companies), there is a statistically significant likelihood that two users will have very similar names and usernames. (There are over 2.8 million people with the surname Smith in the United States alone). Be very sure that the jsmith@yourcompany.com account is the one you want to delete, not jssmith@ yourcompany.com.

3. Determine the Security Risk Level

Once you’ve confirmed the identity of the departing user, you must assess the security risk posed by that user’s Google Apps account. In the vast majority of cases, this risk is relatively low. So long as the user left the company in reasonably amicable fashion — and so long as the domain administrator was given timely (preferably simultaneous or advance) notice of that departure — you can take the time necessary to minimize the impact of the departure on your organization and your data.

If the departure was unplanned or less than amicable — as in, the employee was fired under protest and harbors ill will toward your organization — you may need to treat the account as a moderate security risk.

If the departed user was abusing company resources or using elements of the Google Apps domain to undertake criminal activities, this would represent a high security risk, and you would be best served to purge the user account as quickly as possible. Similarly, if an account was compromised by outside attackers to the degree that it is preferable to purge the account and give an employee an entirely new Google Apps identity, you would need to move with all due haste to erase the hacked account.

4. Change the User Password

By changing the user’s password, you prevent the departing employee from logging in again (to steal data, inflict damage or simply muddy up the deprovisioning process). Just be sure to retain the password for your records! You’ll need it to log in and perform many of the subsequent steps in the deprovisioning a user process.

5. Identify an Account “Executor”

Someone needs to take on the responsibility for dispersing all the vital organizational data hidden in the departing user’s account. This “Executor” of the departing user’s account will be responsible for the account until it is ultimately deleted.

There are obviously more steps to actually going about and deleting the user from your Google Apps domain but the five steps above make for a good starting point. There will be more steps if the user you’re deleting is a high risk in terms of security so always be aware of the potential security risk that the user poses to the company.


If interested in a handy guide that walks through a detailed checklist of all the steps an admin should take in order to safely and securely delete a user from Google Apps, check out Backupify’s eBook “How to Delete a Google Apps Account” – you’ll be glad you have it when Joe from accounting gives his notice.


Prevent Files From Being Downloaded in Google Drive

Sometimes sharing files in Google Drive can make people worried because they feel like they don’t have true control of the data. While that is no more true than attaching files to emails, we’ve put together a helpful trick to keep shared files from being downloaded from Google Drive.

Google limits this ‘Prevent viewers from downloading’ option to non-Google files, so you can make sure shared PDFs, Office files and images can’t be downloaded. To make sure your shared Google files can’t be downloaded you’ll need to first convert them to the corresponding non-Google format.


Add custom features to Google Forms with Add-ons

With Add-ons available for Google Docs and Sheets, it was only a matter of time before these custom tools made their way to other parts of the Google Drive suite. If you happen to use Google Forms on a regular basis, you have to be thrilled that Add-ons are now available there, as well.

According to the original announcement via the Google Drive blog, “Add-ons bring handy extras to your survey building experience, like setting a survey end date, sending custom emails based on responses, storing lists of choices that you frequently add to questions, and more.”

Just like Add-ons for Docs and Sheets, these tools are available from the new Add-ons tab in your tool bar and then clicking Get add-ons.


There are sure to be a number of amazing tools available shortly in the Add-on store, but here are a few the Google Drive team noted:

formLimiter: Close your survey automatically, after a maximum number of responses is reached, or at a date and time of your choosing.


Ultradox Trigger: Create custom emails, reports, invoices, newsletters, etc., based on information that people enter into your form.


Form Values: Store and pull from lists that you use regularly in Forms, like a list of staff, students, rooms, resources or anything you want.

There are plenty of reasons to be excited about Add-ons for Forms, but simple things like being able to limit the number of responses to a Form, closing a Form at a certain time and pulling in regularly used data are huge for power users. This update is another step (and a huge one) to make Forms a viable option for nearly any survey or data collecting situation.


Google announces Inbox, a brand new way to do email

Today, Sundar Pichai (SVP of Android, Chrome & Apps) announced a huge development for email as we know it on the Official Gmail Blog. The product is called Inbox, and it is a brand new way to approach email “designed to focus on what really matters.” Inbox will be a cross-platform solution (Android, iOS and the browser) and you can actually learn more at the official Inbox website.

Want to try out Inbox by Gmail before all your friends? Enter our contest here to win an invitation for FREE!

Pichai’s blog post covers a few really interesting features that will come with Inbox, which you can check out in the GIF below. Google will begin sending out invitations to try Inbox shortly, or you can request an invitation by emailing inbox@google.com.

Inbox from Google (2)

Here are some of the key features, as explained in the original announcement:

Bundles: stay organized automatically
Inbox expands upon the categories we introduced in Gmail last year, making it easy to deal with similar types of mail all at once. For example, all your purchase receipts or bank statements are neatly grouped together so that you can quickly review and then swipe them out of the way. You can even teach Inbox to adapt to the way you work by choosing which emails you’d like to see grouped together.


Highlights: the important info at a glance
Inbox highlights the key information from important messages, such as flight itineraries, event information, and photos and documents emailed to you by friends and family. Inbox will even display useful information from the web that wasn’t in the original email, such as the real-time status of your flights and package deliveries. Highlights and Bundles work together to give you just the information you need at a glance.


Reminders, Assists, and Snooze: your to-do’s on your own terms
Inbox makes it easy to focus on your priorities by letting you add your own Reminders, from picking up the dry cleaning to giving your parents a call. No matter what you need to remember, your inbox becomes a centralized place to keep track of the things you need to get back to.


Manage Revisions in the New Google Drive

If you’re using Google Drive to store and edit Microsoft (or any other non-Google) files, it can get confusing if you’re uploading different versions of the same file. By managing versions in Drive, you can delete a file if it’s no longer relevant and make sure your collaborators are only viewing the correct file.

Manage Revisions was available in the previous version of Google Drive, but it just now made its way to the new Drive. This is great for those of you working with Office files, as well as PDFs, images and much more!


How to Disable Auto Play Video Ads in Google Chrome

I think we’re all familiar with the annoying ads that automatically play video or audio whenever you visit a website. There are a number of great extensions to get rid of these ads, but there’s actually a really easy setting in Chrome that can get the job done too.

All you need to do is go into the settings section of Google Chrome and change plugins to ‘Click to play’ rather than ‘Run automatically.’ There are a couple of other things you should keep in mind when changing this setting, so check out the video to learn more!

To disable auto play video / audio ads:

  1. Open Settings in Google Chrome
  2. Click ‘Show advanced settings’
  3. Click ‘Content settings’
  4. Switch Plug-ins to ‘Click to play’ from ‘Run Automatically’

Thanks to /r/LifeProTips for this great tip!


How to Create a Works Cited with Google Docs

If your students are creating research papers in Google Docs, why not show them how to create works cited there too? With the EasyBib Add-on for Google Docs, students can easily create a bibliography and add it directly to their research paper.

EasyBib is one of our favorite Add-ons for GAFE because it makes the citation process so simple, ensuring that all sources are properly referenced. Students can search for books, journal articles and websites inside their Doc and format the citations in MLA, APA or Chicago style.

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Send Bulk Emails Through Gmail With Google Drive

We’ve covered Add-ons for Docs and Sheets in a lot of detail, but I want to go in-depth on one of our absolute favorites. Merge by MailChimp uses the power of Docs, Sheets and Gmail to send custom bulk emails.

Merge actually mirrors the functionality of a Google Apps Script, but brings it into a much more user friendly interface so anyone can use it! You can create your email in Google Docs and personalize it with merge tags from Google Sheets.

You can install Merge (and a bunch of other Add-ons) right inside your Google Doc. From there you can pull in information from a specific Google Sheet so you can send out dynamic emails in bulk.

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3 Ways To Get Support For Google Apps

Google has made a concerted effort to constantly improve support options for Google Apps, and that continues this week with the introduction of chat support. While this is only available for Admins, everyone else can get help inside of Google Apps with a really cool option covered in this video.

In addition to chatting with Google in their help center, Admins will soon have the ability to reach support by phone directly inside of Gmail, Drive, etc. And if you’re an end user just trying to figure out how to use Gmail, you can actually access popular support articles directly inside of your inbox.

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Spell Check in Google Sheets

When the new version of Google Sheets was introduced, many of us noticed that several features from the old version were not available. Several of those features were slowly introduced, but Spell Check has finally been added to the new Google Sheets.

Spell Check with Google Sheets behaves just the same as it does with Docs or Slides. The information is pulled in from the web so it’s always up to date, and you can add words to your dictionary so you don’t repeatedly get asked to change words.

In this video you will learn how to Spell Check with the old Google Spreadsheets, the new Google Sheets and the differences between the two. It’s great to see a missing feature finally be added to Sheets and we hope many more are soon to come!

Here’s a GIF for a quick look at adding Spell Check to Google Sheets!

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