Google Apps Users Gain More Control of Account Security

A new device and activity dashboard will give enterprise users a quick way to assess the security of their Google accounts, the company said.

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Enterprise users of Google Apps now have a way to become more involved in securing their accounts against potential threats.

The company this week rolled out a new devices and activity dashboard that it says will let Google Apps users keep tabs on all the devices that are connected to their Google accounts at any time.

From a single dashboard, Apps users can get a detailed look at all the devices that have been active on their account for the past 28 days and quickly take remedial measures, like resetting a password, if they notice anything suspicious.

Google has also introduced a new security wizard for Google for Work accounts to guide users through the process of enabling or resetting security features. The wizard will help users through basic security measures like figuring out how to quickly review account activity and permissions for suspicious behavior or how to change contact information for account recovery purposes if an enterprise security policy permits such changes.

Though seemingly minor, the changes allow enterprise end users to become more involved in monitoring suspicious activity on their Google Apps accounts.

"Security in the cloud is a shared responsibility, and keeping your company information secure is at the core of what we do every day," Eran Feigenbaum, director of security at Google for Work, wrote in a blog post.

"By making users more aware of their security settings and the activity on their devices, we can work together to stay a step ahead of any bad guys."

Google's latest updates are part of an ongoing effort by the company to give enterprises using Google Apps a way to delegate security management functions to non-security personnel where possible.

In July, the company rolled out a new user security management capability that basically allows delegated users and administrators to perform functions typically reserved for super administrators. For example, the new capability allows delegated administrators to enforce or disable two-factor authentication for a specific user, to retrieve or revoke a user's application-specific password or to disable a user's log-in challenge for 10 minutes.

Delegated security management is not a new concept. Google itself, for instance, back in 2011 rolled out a Delegated Administration capability for business users of Google Apps that allowed administrators to share certain administrative tasks with select non-administrative users in their organizations.

Other vendors offer similar delegation capabilities, as well. Microsoft and Oracle, for instance, have long offered group policy management capabilities that let administrators delegate responsibility for performing group management tasks to non-administrative users. Others like Dell offer controls that allow end-users to manage spam and their email settings while allowing IT managers to still retain full control over their systems.

Jaikumar Vijayan

Jaikumar Vijayan

Vijayan is an award-winning independent journalist and tech content creation specialist covering data security and privacy, business intelligence, big data and data analytics.