Keeping your Admin Console Healthy and Secure

September 9, 2020

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 into place a number of changes and improvements to help accommodate our new normal going forward in the midst of this pandemic. While we know that Google Workspace is constantly evolving their platform to make things easier for users, in the last 6 months we’ve seen more changes than what is typical. So much so, that we dedicated a blog to it back in May, “Google Workspace surprises everyday – this is NOT your patch Tuesday.” 

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 in relation to 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 Amplified IT 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 there is some confusion that 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, have 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, that the Chromebooks are ready for student and staff use.

Finally, we understand, first hand, 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 Amplified IT. Click here to preview our August 2020 Live Stream. It also gets you access into our collaborative community inside of “Currents” 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. This 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 Amplified IT, it hits the high points. If any of these scenarios fit you or your domain, now is a great time to have an Audit (especially if you just bought Chromebooks or Google Workspace for Education Plus licenses, because you can use Google Services Offer credits funds to cover the audit cost).

  • Fred Aldrich
    Google for Education Technical Consultant

  • About the Author:

    Before coming onboard with Amplified IT, Fred worked for one of the largest districts in the smallest state (Rhode Island) for 17 years where he spent a 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. He has three kids, two young Padawans girls and a young Jedi apprentice boy.  He loves watching Star Wars and Marvel movies and enjoys visiting the great breweries located in the New England area, his favorite brew is a New England Pale Ale.