Our Favorite Google Drive Admin Tools – Part 1

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One of the great strengths of Google Drive for businesses is the wealth of tools and integrations the platform provides. In addition to the robust features already built-in, Google’s premiere cloud content collaboration solution enables users and admins alike to seize on a plethora of other features and functionalities, ensuring that–no matter the project at hand–a team is well-equipped to tackle it. These tools range from the broad to the specific, providing exacting and tailored utensils to groups working within individual industries, as well as a suite of features useful to nearly all users no matter their sector or department.

Since, these instruments are so numerous, the sheer range can seem intimidating at first brush. To help organizations looking to migrate to Google Drive navigate these many options, we at Cloud FastPath have decided to put together a short primer on our favorite Google Drive admin tools, and what they can help businesses accomplish. We love each and every one of these integrations, and by the end of this piece, we hope you will too.

Free Tool: GAM

Google Apps Manager (GAM) is a command-line tool designed to help admins run and manage common tasks on a large scale in your Google Apps domain. For admins and IT specialists, this tool provides a respite from the often tedious process of updating user settings, group settings, and other ever-changing configurations one-by-one, ultimately ensuring that the time previously spent doing so can be devoted elsewhere. Google Apps is as complex as it is versatile, and making certain that admins have access to up-to-date information on users, and that users have access to all of the tools they need to accomplish their projects is essential. By installing GAM, organizations have the option to get these tasks done regularly and on a massive scale without worrying that doing so will ultimately distract from other tasks.

Part of the power of GAM is the range of operations it can undertake, and the ease with which it undertakes them. By typing a simple command for domain information, admins can establish how many users they are approved for within Google Apps and how many users they have overall. While this sort of information is fundamental and pretty important, manually figuring it out can often be a major headache for IT. With GAM, all admins need do is type a three word command.

GAM also provides admins with the ability to:

  • easily create new users
  • set their passwords
  • disable password reset requirements
  • move users between groups
  • and sort new users into appropriate groups.

It’s no secret that organizations are constantly growing and evolving, and this often involves the addition of new employees and the stress of onboarding processes. With GAM, administrators can streamline the process, adding new users to Drive, providing them with access to the applications and files they require, and helping them secure their accounts—again, with just a simple command. These same options apply to pre-existing users who need to be updated—perhaps a team of current employees who need to be sorted into a new group or Drive folder for a project. Why go through one by one, when a simpler way is right in front of you?

If this weren’t enough, GAM also allows admins to easily sync Google email groups. With one command, admins can add or remove a contact from an email list simply by syncing it with another list. For organizations whose rosters are frequently changing, this approach is far preferable to comparing multiple lists containing possibly hundreds of names, to find the handful that might be inconsistent.

With GAM, navigating and managing Google Apps no longer needs to be a major headache just because it’s a major undertaking. By streamlining the aforementioned processes and so many more, GAM is helping organizations stay organized in Google Drive, without breaking a sweat.

Paid Tool: BetterCloud

For businesses making use of multiple applications within their cloud infrastructure, monitoring the security of all of these SaaS apps can be an overwhelming proposition for IT. This is especially true of businesses that rely heavily on G Suite and Google Drive. Boasting a wide range of applications available for use, and a host of file creation options (Docs, Sheets, Slides), organizations operating in Google cloud are constantly operating with dozens of tools simultaneously. That IT is then tasked with keeping an eye out for suspicious configurations, or improper sharing behaviors on every single one of these applications leaves businesses vulnerable. After all, IT can’t be everywhere at once, and without a unified interface that streamlines the process of monitoring the deluge of user activity, it’s likely that problems go unnoticed.

However, it doesn’t have to be this way with BetterCloud. Designed to help IT recognize bugs, violations, and suspicious changes in configurations, this tool ensures that, if something goes wrong, IT is immediately alerted, and provided with a range of solutions to the problem.

As explained by BetterCloud itself, the first and possibly bedrock feature of the tool is the ease with which BetterCloud can connect to the entire range of applications within use by an organization, and even contractors of that organization. From a centralized dashboard, IT can view files, groups, folders, configurations, settings, user and admin activity.

The BetterCloud dashboard is particularly useful for businesses that rely on Google Drive. While the Google Drive Admin console often forces admins to manage documents and files on a granular level, BetterCloud’s centralization of information ensures that admins and IT alike can view all files within their organization’s Drive, and organize them in a way that makes managing departmental and team behavior easier than ever before. From the dashboard, admins have easy access to all files within an organization, without having to navigate through individual user accounts. Additionally admins can access the file extensions whether the file was created in Drive or was simply uploaded. Along with the ability to see the full content of any given file, BetterCloud provides admins the power to sort all files by nine parameters, including exposure, size, collaborators, and owner. As an organizational tool, this helps admins manage massive amounts of files while still being able to pay close attention to each, in case an issue arises.

From this dashboard, IT teams can also set up over 100 detectors, derived from built-in templates. These detectors allow IT to select the issues they want to keep an eye on, and maintain confidence that, should any issues arise, they’ll be notified immediately. Furthermore, when notified of an issue by BetterCloud, IT receives context for that notification and the problem that BetterCloud believes it’s detected. This isn’t just a red flashing light alerting the team that something has gone wrong, but a comprehensive report on what triggered the alert, and why–based on the established detectors–BetterCloud felt the need to bring it to IT’s attention.

For instance: admins in Google Drive who feel there has been an issue with improper sharing, can—either individually, or in bulk—change the owner of a file, those who are allowed to collaborate on it, or how it can be shared from above. Being able to do so to multiple files at once means that less time and energy is wasted going through individual users or individual files to fiddle with sharing and ownership options.

Features such as these, set BetterCloud apart as one of the most powerful tools for IT teams to detect and fix violations within an organization, keeping data safe without causing the whole business a headache.

Paid Tool: Cloud FastPath

Admittedly, we might be a little biased here.

Still, at Cloud FastPath (CFP) we are deeply confident in our ability to provide businesses with the best Google Drive migration available, ensuring that their data reaches its destination safely and efficiently, and that organization-wide deployment of Google Drive goes as smoothly as possible. With Cloud FastPath, businesses have a wide range of powerful migration features at their disposal, such as the new CFP project center. With the project center organizations are able to monitor their migration every step of the way, checking in on the success of various migration waves, and immediately understanding what data needs to be re-migrated. Rather than force enterprises to leave massive migrations up to chance, Cloud FastPath gives IT the instruments and information they need to see where they might face migration challenges and how those challenges can be met and overcome.

Starting at the ground-level, Cloud FastPath doesn’t force organizations to cram the unique structure of their teams and departments into a pre-set migration mold. From the very beginning, the Cloud FastPath migration tool is designed to help organize your content in Google Drive based around the ways that your users are collaborating and storing their data. A poorly planned migration can ultimately result in users losing access to project-crucial files that won’t be migrated for another month, or permissions and file structures getting jumbled in such a way that throws cross-departmental tasks into complete disarray.

When a migration goes awry, one of the most common issues is that of permissions and metadata. Mis-migrated permissions can leave personally identifiable information vulnerable, and organizations staring down major compliance violations. They can provide the wrong people with access to sensitive organizational information and jeopardize the progress of mergers, acquisitions, and other legal processes. As such, Cloud FastPath is designed to ensure the proper mapping of permissions and metadata, whether from another cloud collaboration platforms or from on-premises storage to Google Drive.

Analytics are a crucial aspect of every stage of migration, which is why Cloud FastPath provides IT with the most detailed and comprehensive pre-migration analytics options available. Moving from shared drives to Google Team Drives requires a thorough understanding of how content will need to be restructured. Cloud FastPath analytics gives IT insight as to what exists on the source so a migration can be carefully planned. On top of the real-time reporting that helps identify straggler files and users, Cloud FastPath provides teams with an in-depth report at the tail end of the migration, so that IT can users can double check that everything they thought was migrated indeed reached its destination. Combined with attentive support personnel every step of the way, these features make Cloud FastPath the ideal tool for migrating to Google Drive, whether it be for the first time, or to help integrate new users or recently-acquired companies into your organization’s file structures.

Cloud FastPath understands that migration is a complex and ongoing process. That’s why we built a tool designed to simplify IT’s job and never quit on your business.

Google Drive Admin Tools Broaden Your Horizons

With Google Drive, organizations have a wealth of integrations at their disposal, an incredibly deep toolbox that helps to empower every sector of an organization in every possible industry.

While on-premises servers saddle enterprises with hefty costs and limited functionalities, Google Drive proves just why the cloud is beckoning so many organizations. With an incredible range of available features, businesses can arm IT with new options for data security, allow teams to collaborate on all different kinds of projects with unprecedented ease, and guarantee admins enhanced control over the often complicated structure of departments and projects.

Each of the tools we mentioned is designed to broaden your organization’s horizons. And, the craziest thing is, we didn’t even scratch the surface.

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