Sunday, February 22, 2015

Google Apps - Urgent Reminder for ICT Admins!

Lots of blogs to write so little time! I thought this one was quite important to get out as we had our first (and hopefully last) negative experience with Google Apps for Education.

The story will serve well as a warning not only on the setup of your Google Apps Education account at school but also the training of staff on what 'ownership' means in a Google Document.

Let me start by staying - NO cloud based product is perfect and although some claim to be better than others, the end user is the one that controls just how 'safe' your data is.

So the backstory goes:

- Staff member starts documents which were edited by others in the team (pretty normal and great use of something like Google Docs)

- Staff member leaves - account is deleted, along with documents the person owned.

Now here is where the problem lay. ICT rightfully assumed that everyone was backing up data or at least aware of potential loses when accounts are 'purged'. The other problem lay on the ICT backend on how deleted Google Accounts were being treated - and this is where you really need to pay attention if you have Google Apps at your site!

ICT Admin were using the setting 'Delete active and suspended Google Apps users not found in LDAP'.

This has now been changed so it reads as below, 'Suspend Google Apps users not found in LDAP, instead of deleting them': 

Your ICT tech who manages the account will not have to worry about 'space' as Google Accounts are stored with Google but this simple change will save a lot of pain in retrieving deleted accounts in the future.

It now means that if someone from our school leaves, and has Google Documents we need for curriculum etc, a simple press of a button can transfer all those documents to anyone else.

Understanding who 'owns' a Google Document is fairly simple - the person that creates the document is the owner.  Owners can share the document to anyone.

So there you go, check how you are managing Google App accounts and make sure they are being 'suspended' and not deleted.

Like I said at the start of this short post, hopefully the first and last negative of a product that has been widely used at our site.



P.S - Regardless of whatever cloud system you use, backup to at least one off site location.

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