Updated User Policy Management for Google Apps

Google has released a series of new features granting administrators more controls to manage Google Apps within their organizations, including new data migration tools, SSL enforcement capabilities, multi-domain support and the ability to tailor Google Apps with over 100 applications from the recently-introduced Google Apps Marketplace. On July 20 Google announced one of the most-requested features from administrators: User Policy Management.

With User Policy Management, administrators can segment their users into organizational units and control which applications are enabled or disabled for each group.  Take a manufacturing firm, for example. The company might want to give their office workers access to Google Talk, but not their production line employees, and this is possible with User Policy Management.

Additionally, organizations can use this functionality to test applications with pilot users before making them available on a larger scale. Associate Vice President for Computer Services at Temple University Sheri Stahler says, “Using the new User Policy Management feature in Google Apps, we’re able to test out new applications like Google Wave with a subset of users to decide how we should roll our new functionality more broadly.”

Customers can transition to Google Apps from on-premise environments with User Policy Management, as it grants them the ability to toggle services on or off for groups of users. A business can enable just the collaboration tools like Google Docs and Google sites for users who have yet to move off old on-premises messaging solutions, for example.

These settings can be managed by administrators on the ‘Organizations & Users’ tab in the ‘Next Generation’ control panel. On balance, organizations can mirror their existing LDAP organizational schema using Google Apps Directory Sync or programmatically assign users to organizational units using the Google Apps Provisioning API.

Premier and Educational edition users can begin using User Policy Management for Google Apps at no additional charge.

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