Google Admin Console Settings: Best Practices for Businesses

Google Admin Console / Getting Started / Google Admin Console: Best Practices for Businesses

These Google Admin console best practices for businesses will help you efficiently manage your organization and ensure you are getting the most out of your Chrome devices. Do you know all the cool features Google Admin console has? Many Chrome users don’t know what the Admin console is or which settings their organization should use. Let's dive in to some Google Admin console best practices for businesses!

User Settings

To kick off Google Admin console best practices for businesses, let's start with User settings. The User settings section of the Admin console allows you to manage user-based settings on the Chrome browser and Chrome devices. To navigate to User settings from the Admin console homepage click on Devices > Chrome Devices. Then click the dropdown that says Devices and click Settings. Then click User & Browser settings.

Browser History

This setting controls whether Chrome saves an employee’s browsing history and if they can clear browser data, including their viewing and download history. We recommend updating the settings to save browser history and disable clearing history.

Browser history and clear browser history settings in Google admin console

Browser history and clear browser history settings in the Google Admin Console

Safe Browsing

This setting controls if Safe Browsing is turned on. Safe Browsing in Chrome helps protect users from websites that may contain malware or phishing. We recommend businesses always enabling Safe Browsing.

Chrome Safe Browsing settings in Google Admin console

Chrome Safe Browsing settings in the Google Admin Console

URL Blocking

This setting prevents Chrome browsers from accessing specific URLs. To configure the policy, enter up to 1,000 URLs on separate lines. Each URL must have a valid hostname (such as google.com), an IP address, or an asterisk (*) in place of the host. The asterisk is a wildcard, representing all hostnames and IP addresses. We recommend blacklisting inappropriate or overly-distracting URLs. For example, to block users from accessing Netflix, type in http://www.netflix.com in the text box.

URL blocking setting in Google Admin Console

URL blocking setting in the Google Admin Console

External Storage Devices

This setting controls whether employees can use Chrome devices to transfer data to external drives, like USB flash drives, external hard drives, optical storage, Secure Digital (SD) cards, and other memory cards. If you set this policy to “Disallow external storage” and a user attempts to connect an external drive, Chrome notifies the user that the policy is in effect. Disabling the use of external storage devices can help keep your company’s data safe and secure.

External storage devices setting in the Google Admin Console

External storage devices setting in the Google Admin Console

Apps & Extensions

To get to this section, click the dropdown again and select Apps & Extensions.

By default, users can download any type of Chrome web app or extension they want. This setting allows you to block employees from installing certain types of apps. Your admin can also choose which apps and extensions to force-install. We recommend having the admin pick which specific apps and extensions they would like workers to have access to, and block the rest. Make sure to have your admin check the reviews on the extension before adding it because some extension makers will spam the user. You can find out more about the different types of apps and extensions here: Extensions, Theme, Google Apps Script, Hosted App, Legacy Packaged App, and Chrome Packaged App.

Allows users to install other apps and extensions setting in the Google Admin Console

Allows users to install other apps and extensions setting in the Google Admin Console

Device Settings

The next section of Google Admin console best practices for businesses is Device settings. This is where you can control the settings of the Chrome devices within your domain. To navigate to Device settings from the Admin console homepage click on Devices > Chrome Devices. Then click the dropdown that says Devices and click Settings. Then click Device settings.

Forced Re-Enrollment

Forced re-enrollment ties the device to your domain no matter what. By default, this is set to “Force device to re-enroll into this domain after wiping”. To turn this off, select “Device is not forced to re-enroll after wiping”. This prevents employees from wiping the device and enrolling it into a new domain.

Forced re-enrollment setting in the Google Admin Console

Forced re-enrollment setting in the Google Admin Console

Disabled Device Return Instructions

This setting controls the custom text on the disabled device screen. We recommend you include a return address and contact phone number in your message so that users who see this screen are able to return the device to your business.

Disabled device return instructions in the Google Admin console device settings

Disabled device return instructions in the Google Admin console device settings

Guest Mode

This setting controls whether guest browsing is allowed on managed Chrome devices. If you select “Allow guest mode” (the default), the main sign-in screen lets a person sign in as a guest. If you select “Do not allow guest mode”, a user must sign in using a Google Account or Google Workspace account. When a user signs in using guest mode, their settings won't be determined by your organization's policies, so we recommend turning this setting off.

Guest mode setting in Google Admin Console device settings

Guest mode setting in Google Admin Console device settings

Sign-in Restriction

This setting lets you control which users have permission to sign in to a managed Chrome device. Its default is to Restrict Sign-in to a list of selected users. If you leave textbox empty, any user with a Google Account or Google Workspace account can sign in. However, if you include a list of usernames( domain email separated by commas), only designated users can sign in. We recommend filling out the textbox with the wildcard *@yourdomain.com so that only users within your domain can sign-in. This will restrict employees from signing in with personal accounts.

Sign in restriction setting in the Google Admin Console device settings

Sign in restriction setting in the Google Admin Console device settings

Device Reporting

This setting is on by default and specifies if Chrome devices enrolled in your domain report their current device state. Go to Devices > Chrome Devices and click on the device's serial number to see its details. You can also track recent device users by clicking on the device in your Admin console under Devices > Chrome Devices > Device Serial Number > System activity and troubleshooting. This ensures that you receive reports of the device and can track its usage.

Device reporting setting the Google Admin Console device settings

The Google Admin Console keeps you in charge of your organization’s digital domain. With these Google Admin console best practices for businesses, you’ll be able to quickly manage your employees and devices, so you'll have more time for what’s really important in your business. Check out more Admin console help articles here.

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