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December 04, 2014
G Suite

Google Apps Organizational Units Best Practices: Keep it Simple

Things start simply with Google Apps at your company – every account and device belong to the same organizational unit. Every person has access to the same set of apps, with the same configuration. When an Administrator adds or enables an app, access to the app is enabled for everyone. For many organizations, that’s how things remain.

BUT when your company grows, there may be a need to configure groups of accounts differently. Settings may differ by business need, location, or organization. Suddenly your company may have a need for various organizational units.

In a recent webinar, Backupify teamed up with Google Apps expert Nicholas Hatch of Cloud Sherpas to learn more about organizational units. Below are four best practices from Nick when it comes to org. units in Google Apps:

1. Don’t use org. units unless there is a need to provide unique services and/or settings to a particular group of users

Unless there is a specific legal reason or a policy at your company for users needing a certain setting, you don’t actually need to create lots of separate org. units.

2. Keep org. units structure as shallow as possible

This tip closely aligns with the first best practice above in that your company really needs to keep org. units as simple as possible. If it’s not absolutely necessary to differentiate between people at your company, provide them all with the same services. Avoid creating a complicated Google Apps infrastructure at your company and keep it shallow. As a side note, your business is paying for services whether they are used or not so there really shouldn’t be too many occasions where your business needs particular groups for certain people at the company. Try and get everyone using the same Google Apps services to start.

3. Get solid reasons for why settings need to be different for a particular set of users

Admins are naturally helpful and when asked to complete a task, they typically just do it without many questions asked. But when it comes to creating additional org. units, it’s time to ask questions as to why you’re creating them. Having more org. units will affect your job and how you manage Google Apps on a day to day basis. If the business can’t truly justify the reason for more org. units, then you’re adding unnecessary complexity to your job.

4. Do not attempt to replicate LDAP organizations in Google Apps – purposes are typically different and do not line up

Your org. structure in LDAP may not exist in the Google Apps environment and they won’t map up correctly so again….don’t make it harder on yourself. Just don’t!

If you need more details and best practice tips on organizational units and permissions management in Google Apps, download the complimentary eBook below!

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