Following an announcement July 13 regarding the addition of mobile device
management options for Google Mobile Apps administrators, including a
requirement for devices to use data encryption, search giant Google introduced
what it said is "one of the most highly requested features from
administrators: user policy management."
This means "administrators can segment their users into organizational
units and control which applications are enabled or disabled for each
group," Google Apps Product Manager Adam Dawes explained in a July 20 blog
Dawes noted, "Organizations can also use this functionality to test
applications with pilot users before making them more widely available."
"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 out new functionality more broadly," said Sheri
Stahler, Temple University’s
associate vice president for computer services.
"The ability to toggle services on or off for groups of users could also
help customers transition to Google Apps from [on-premises] environments. For
example," Dawes pointed out, "a business can enable just the
collaboration tools like Google Docs and Google sites for users who haven’t yet
moved off old [on-premises] messaging solutions. Administrators can manage
these settings on the ‘Organizations & users’ tab in the ‘Next generation’
control panel. Alternatively, 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."
In another example of how user policy management features can be used, Dawes
suggested, "a manufacturing firm might want to give their office workers
access to Google Talk, but not their production line employees. Mayooran Rajan,
CTO of Revevol Consulting, noted, ‘We work
with businesses with 100 to 20,000 employees moving from [on-premises]
solutions to Google Apps. The new user policy management feature helps us
tailor Google Apps and provide businesses with granular control for each department
within their company."