Protect Your Institution’s Data with Google Workspace for Education Plus

Is Your Organization’s Data as Safe as it can be?

Cybersecurity incidents targeting schools and universities are on the rise again. Over 950 schools and colleges were hit with ransomware in 2021. These attacks impacted nearly a million students and cost schools over $3.5 billion in downtime alone. Ransoms demanded ranged from $100,000 to over $40 million and on average schools faced four days of downtime and almost a month of recovery time after attacks. A recent survey by Sophos found that nearly half of the K12 institutions surveyed had been targeted by ransomware, facing more than $1.5 million on average to recover. 

Lincoln College, a school of about 600 students in Illinois, was struggling financially after COVID when they were struck by a ransomware attack last spring. The attack locked them out of their enrollment, recruitment, and fundraising data. The university paid the $100,000 ransom but still was not able to recover all of its data. Unfortunately, the school was forced to permanently close its doors in April 2022 due to the impact of the ransomware attack and the pandemic.

So, how do you protect your institution’s data and keep your name and your superintendent’s name out of these types of headlines?

A Couple of Steps Could Make All the Difference

Two friends are hiking in the woods when they come across a bear. The bear charges the friends, and they turn and try to run away from it. The first friend asks, “How are we going to outrun the bear?” The other replies, “I don’t have to outrun the bear. I just have to outrun you.” The same is true when trying to prevent ransomware attacks. You don’t necessarily have to spend millions of dollars to keep your institution secure. Hackers and other cyber threats are looking for the easiest targets and the lowest hanging fruit. With that in mind, just doing a few small things can help keep your organization secure.

Setting up two-step verification (2FA) may be the single biggest step you can take to prevent cybersecurity attacks. Two-step verification is an added layer of security that will help keep your users safe. Your users would sign in with something they know (their password) and something they have (typically a verification code sent to one of their devices). Even if a user’s password is compromised, the account is still secure as the attacker would have to have both the password and the 2FA code to login. Super administrators can enforce 2FA in the Admin Console. Check out our upcoming webinar to learn more about deploying two-step verification within your organization.

Attackers are also looking for easy accounts to log into. It’s critical that your organization change default passwords in your network, firewall, and security tools. Additionally, it’s important to set up password policies in the Admin Console. You can set a minimum password length, password complexity, prevent users from reusing old passwords, and configure password expiration policies. Getting ready to create password policies? Check out these Password Tips from Google to share with your users.

Upgrade Your Security with Google Workspace for Education

Are you ready to upgrade the security of your organization? Google Workspace for Education Plus is the ultimate Google Workspace edition. Education Plus gives you additional storage for your domain, teaching and learning tools like originality reports, premium features in Google Meet, and advanced security features like the Security Investigation Tool, Context-Aware Access, and Target Audiences.

Investigation Tool

The Security Investigation Tool allows you to quickly and easily identify, triage, and take action on security and privacy issues in your Google Domain. With the Investigation Tool you can monitor file sharing, conduct organization-wide searches within multiple sources, investigate devices, and pivot your investigation across multiple sources and data sets.

Does your organization ever need to delete phishing emails or emails sent by mistake? If you don’t have the Investigation Tool, the only way to search and delete emails is with the command-line tool GAM. The GAM option requires you to be fluent in Linux and looks at emails one inbox at a time. So, if you have a large organization it may take five or six hours for GAM to delete your emails. During this time your users are still reading their emails, opening links, and forwarding the threat to other users. With the Investigation Tool, however, you can find and delete threats in moments.

Context-Aware Access

Context-Aware Access gives you the ability to control access to apps based on a user’s location, device, and IP address. Using Context-Aware Access, you can create granular access control policies for apps based on attributes such as user identity, location, device security status, and IP address.

With Context-Aware Access you have the ability to block logins from specific countries and IPs. You can also use Context-Aware Access to prevent users from outside of the country from signing into your domain’s Admin Console.

Target Audiences

Target Audiences are groups of people—such as departments or teams—that you can recommend for users to share their items with on a more controlled basis. You can add them to users’ sharing settings in a Google service, such as Google Drive or Chat, to encourage users to share items with a more specific or limited audience rather than your entire organization.

By default, when your users share documents in Google Drive they are prompted to share with everyone in the organization or everyone with a link. With Target Audiences you suggest the perfect audience for your users to share documents.  Using the example of a high school teacher, you are able to create target audiences for all staff at that building, all students at that building, teachers in the teacher’s department, and all staff at the district office. With target audiences, your users can quickly and easily find the perfect group of users for file sharing. In addition, your district is infinitely more secure as the documents are shared with the right audience rather than posted publicly on the internet.

Additional Security Features in Google Workspace for Education Plus

Security Center

Security Center provides advanced analytics and security dashboards so you can monitor security events in your organization. The dashboards display information related to file exposure, email security, logins, file sharing, suspicious activities and more. You can even use the Security Investigation Tool to create custom charts for the information causing you the most concern.

Security Health

Is your organization as secure as it can be? Have you configured all of the security features available in Google Workspace? The Security Health page gives you the ability to conduct your own security audit and compare your settings against Google’s best practices. Recommendations found on the Security Health page will explain why you should consider the recommendation and step-by-step guides that will walk you through how to implement the changes.

Security Sandbox

Your organization receives thousands of emails a day. Security Sandbox in Google Workspace for Education Plus allows you to automatically scan incoming email attachments for malware, ransomware, viruses, zero day threats, and other cybersecurity threats.

Dynamic Groups

Create Google Groups that automatically update so your groups are always accurate. Dynamic Groups creates groups based on job titles, departments, buildings, organizational units, 2-step verification status, and more.

Now’s The Time to Get More Secure

Google Workspace for Education Plus is the edition that gives you the security features, tools, and analytics you need to make your institution as secure as it can be.  Want to try out Google Workspace for Education Plus in your own environment? Sign up for a free 60 day trial!

Kincaid IT is here to help you get the most out of your investment in Google Workspace and we’d love to help you better secure your domain. We offer Google Workspace for Education Plus licenses, security audits, and a free security ebook. Looking for more help? Check out an upcoming webinar or sign up for an upcoming security summit.

Google Workspace Solution | Workflow+

Automating Your Google Workspace with Workflow+

What would you do if you had an extra person to help manage Google Workspace at your organization? Or, if you could automate your most frequent or time-consuming tasks, what could you accomplish with your extra time? You could start planning your summer projects, clean up your groups, or you could get your domain’s storage under control. With Workflow+ you can automate or schedule tasks in Google Workspace so you can save time, get organized, and stay informed.

What is KIT Central Workflow+?

KIT Central™ Workflow+™ automation software from Kincaid IT both simplifies and supercharges your Google Workspace environment through the power of automation. Do you wish you could automate user onboarding, OU changes, password resets by OU, drive permissions, or storage notifications? All this is easy with Workflow+.

How do I start workflows?

Workflows all begin with a trigger. Workflow+ supports the following triggers:

  • Schedule
    • Schedule a recurring trigger so your workflow runs daily, weekly, monthly, or yearly.  With a scheduled trigger, for example, you could schedule weekly or monthly storage reports or Chromebook inventory reports.
  • Specific Dates
    • Set a specific day and time for your automated workflow to start. With a specific date as your trigger you could set your end-of-the-year workflow to start automatically on a certain day and have it promote your students to new OUs, reset passwords, clean up groups, and more.
  • Subscription
    • With subscription triggers you can start your workflow anytime a specific event occurs in your Google Workspace. For example, you could run a workflow every time a new user is created or a Google Form is submitted. 

What can I do with Workflow+?

With Workflow+ you can:

  • Automate Onboarding
    • Simplify onboarding by automatically sending a welcome email, adding users to Google Groups, sharing files, or adding Google licenses  every time a new user is created. This can be configured across your organization or for specific organizational units.
  • Schedule Storage Reports  (Storage+ required)
    • When integrated with Storage+, you can schedule storage reports so you can receive a daily or weekly report detailing users who are over a specific limit in storage. Then automatically email the users in the report or flag them for excessive storage.
  • Manage Your Domain’s Storage (Storage+ required)
    • Imagine the power in the data if you could set up a task to run that polls users over a certain storage size and takes that data into a file while also automatically emailing it to the appropriate person. Let’s take this a step further. That email could show all teachers in a particular building that are over the district storage threshold and notify the principal in that building or notify individual teachers to ask them to begin cleaning up their Drive proactively before the district implements a hard quota.
  • Take Control of Your Chromebooks
    • Ensuring that the Chromebook stays in the proper OU can be a difficult task to do manually, but imagine if you could set an automated task that triggers from the new login and moves that Chromebook to the appropriate OU to match the user.  Or, schedule Chromebook reports with Workflow+ and stay informed of device locations, update version, users, and even the auto update expiration date (AUE).
  • Simplify Summer Tasks
    • Schedule a summer tasks workflow and you can automatically reset student passwords and update OU membership all at once at a time that works best for your organization. Or, would it be nice at the end of the school year to have a task scheduled that automatically moves the seniors out of their current OU and into a suspended OU for you?
  • Email Signatures – (coming soon)
    • Does your District struggle getting new staff members to implement the required District email signature? Wouldn’t it be nice to have this automated so when they open up their email the signature of the district is already included?

The possibilities are limitless with Workflow+. 

Interested in learning more about Workflow+? Check out an upcoming webinar or contact us today and get started with a demo.

Using Google’s New Storage Features

Last week Google released new storage features that will help schools obtain an overview into their organization’s storage use. As we’ve previously discussed in this blog, unlimited storage is ending in Google Workspace for Education and most organizations will be capped at 100 TB of pooled storage. Pooled storage includes data from all users (suspended and active) across Google Workspace (including Google Drive, Gmail, Google Photos and more). According to Google, “Admins can use these new tools to see how much storage is being used across their organization and view how close their organization is to reaching their storage limit.”

Super administrators can find these new features inside the Google Admin Console by clicking either the Storage card on their home page or selecting Storage from the menu.

New storage features in Google Workspace

These new features allow your Google super administrators to quickly and easily:

  • Use the storage usage summary to view a storage summary for your entire organization
  • View storage used in your domain by specific apps like Google Drive, Gmail, or Google Photos
  • Find the users in your domain that are using the most storage
  • Find the shared drives in your domain that are using the most storage
  • Find and delete shared drives
  • Configure storage limits for your users by OU and Groups.

In Storage Settings (Admin Console > Storage > Storage Settings) you can set up storage limits for your users. These limits included storage from all apps in Google Workspace and can be set by organizational units and groups. So, for example, you could set a storage limit of 5 GBs for your staff. 

Additionally, admins can apply different storage policies using groups. Your organization may have journalism teachers, communications specialists, and videographers who create and use more storage. You can give these users additional storage by adding them to groups and then giving those groups more storage inside of storage settings. 

A word of caution. If you set a storage limit for your users and some users are already over the limit, they will not be able to add content to Google Drive, edit their documents or create new documents in Google Docs, Slides, and Sheets until they are under the storage limit. Additionally, if these users are the owners of shared files those shared files cannot be copied and forms cannot be submitted.

So, if you set up a storage limit of 5 GBs for your staff and one of your teachers has 7 GBs of storage their account will be limited when you enforce your policy. This means they will not be able to upload new files or create new files.

How KIT Central’s Storage+ Can Help

While these new features can help super administrators get a glimpse into their storage situation they don’t let super administrators take actions and take control of their organization’s Google Drive. Storage+ can help.

With Storage+ you’re able to:

  • Find the largest files in your organization
    Find the largest files in your school district and then take action with Storage+.
  • Delete drive content
    With Storage+ you can move files to the trash, schedule them to go to the trash, or delete them instantly all with just a couple of clicks.
  • Find and fix duplicate content
    Do you have duplicate files on your Google Drive taking up storage space? Storage+ allows you to quickly find duplicate files and then delete the additional copies all while maintaining access and editing rights.
  • Move files to Google Cloud Storage
    Have files that you need to archive? In only a couple of clicks you can move files from Google Drive to Google Cloud Storage, freeing up space in drive and providing a spot for storing and archiving your data.
  • Transfer Files
    While the Google Admin Console allows you to transfer the entire contents of a user’s Google Drive, Storage+ lets you select and transfer only the relevant files. Imagine that you need to transfer the files of a recently retired counselor to the school’s new counselor. Besides the files in question, the user’s Google Drive may also include personal photos, tax return information (and social security numbers), employee evaluations and more. With Storage+ you can share only the appropriate information and prevent accidentally sharing personally identifiable information (PII).

Want to learn more?

Check out our webinar, Using Google’s New Storage Features.

To help with the new storage changes coming this summer to schools using Google Workspace for Education, Google has introduced new storage features. This webinar will help you get to know the new features so you can take control of the storage in your organization.

Additional Resources

Preparing for the End of Unlimited Storage

Have you read about the changes coming soon to Google Workspace? Unlimited Storage in Google Workspace for Education is ending July 1, 2022. School districts with less than 20,000 students will be capped at 100 TBS of pooled storage if they are on the Google Workspace for Education Fundamental edition.

What counts towards your pooled storage? All of your users (active and suspended) and all of their data (including but not necessarily limited to data from Google Drive, Google Photos, and Gmail). Schools will not be able to purchase additional storage. Schools needing more storage will have to delete files and users to reduce their storage footprint and get under their pooled storage limit or purchase Google Workspace for Education Plus licenses or the Teaching and Learning upgrade.

The changes are coming. Is your district ready?

Start Planning NOW

Find Out How Much Storage You’re Using

You can start to get a sense for how your district will be impacted by taking a look at how much storage you’re using right now. Begin by using reports in the Google Admin Console and the Google Workspace Storage Calculator to find out exactly how much storage you’re currently using. Once you determine your usage across your entire domain, you can also determine which users in your district are using the most storage. This report can be found in the Admin Console or in GAM.

These reports help you see how much storage you’re using, who’s using it, and how far away you are from the 100 TB pooled storage limit. In addition, you can even start to forecast how fast your storage is growing and when you may need to take action.

Do You Have Enough Storage for the 2022-2023 School Year?

Do you have enough storage for the upcoming school year? Use these reports to get a sense for how much data you’re using while also forecasting how your storage needs may grow in the next year. On first glance your district may appear to be well below the 100 TB limit, but beginning May 1 all newly created or modified files in Google Docs, Sheets, Slides, Forms, and Jamboard files will begin counting towards the storage limit. This will be roughly 100 MBs of new storage per user per month that was not counted in the past. So, if you have 18,000 users in your domain, this could be almost 22 TBs of new content created in the next year.

Consider Education Plus Licenses to Increase Storage

The only way your district can get additional storage is by purchasing either Google Workspace for Education Plus licenses or The Teaching and Learning upgrades. Google Workspace for Education Plus licenses include an additional 20 GBs of storage for each license, and the Teaching and Learning Upgrade comes with 100 GBs of additional storage for each upgrade.

Does your district currently pay for Zoom or Webex licenses? With Google Workspace for Education Plus you get the same advanced video conferencing features in Google Meet as well as additional storage, advanced security features, teaching and learning tools, and originality reports – all for roughly the same price you’re already paying for just video conferencing.

Consider Tools like Kincaid IT’s Storage+ to Help You Manage Your Storage

KIT Central Storage+ allows you to manage your organization’s storage needs with precision and flexibility. Simple dashboards provide a quick overview of storage usage for your entire domain and on a per-user basis. This allows you to quickly identify which files are taking up the most room in your domain and how to optimize for this usage. Additionally, KIT Central Storage+ helps you understand what unused files in your domain can be moved into Google Cloud Storage Buckets to free up space. These insights make a big difference in managing your organization’s storage needs.

Start Messages To Your Users

There are only a couple months before teachers and students leave for the summer. Start drafting and sending messages to your users now. Not sure where to start? Google has created templates that you can customize and send to your users.

Start Reducing Your Storage 

Review Retention Policies

How long do you have to hang on to files and emails in your district? These policies are often determined by your policy makers, pending legal situations, and other compliance reasons. Partner with the leadership in your district to review your data retention policies so you can determine when data is no longer being used and when it can be deleted.

Control Shared Drives

Do students in your district have the ability to create Shared Drives? Do teachers? Should they? Kincaid IT recommends turning off Shared Drive creation for students. We also encourage districts to consider turning off Shared Drive creation for Staff. These users could still use Shared Drives but they would be prevented from creating their own.

If students are creating Shared Drives on their own, odds are they will use the drives as a space to chat with their friends, they will do it without the supervision of educators, and these spaces will likely be forgotten about after they graduate. The likely result is that this storage just sits in your domain taking up space.

Control who can create Shared Drives by opening the Google Admin Console > Apps > Google Workspace > Docs and Drive > Sharing Settings. These settings can be configured based on OUs, so you can apply different settings for staff and students.

Evaluate Alumni Account and Exited Staff Account Practices

How long do you retain student accounts after they graduate? How long do you retain staff accounts after they leave the district? Maybe it makes sense to hold on to student accounts for 12 months to allow them to access their documents as they apply for college or create portfolios. At the same time, perhaps it makes sense to delete staff accounts 30 days after they’ve left the district. Again, partner with decision-makers to determine how long to retain these accounts. 

Kincaid IT Can Help

How Much Storage is Your District Using?

How Much Storage is Your District Using?

Unlimited Storage in Google Workspace for Education is ending July 1, 2022. Are you ready for the changes? Most districts will be capped at 100 TBS of pooled storage if they are not using any premium licenses or upgrades and are using the Google Workspace for Educational Fundamentals edition. All of your users (active and suspended) and all of their data (including but not necessarily limited to data from Google Drive, Google Photos, and Gmail) will count toward your storage limit. Additionally, schools will not be able to purchase additional storage. Schools that need more storage will have to delete files and users to reduce their storage footprint and get under their pooled storage limit or purchase Google Workspace for Education Plus licenses or the Teaching and Learning upgrade.

The changes are coming. Do you know how much storage you’re using right now?

Find Out How Much Storage Your District Is Using Google Admin Console

Apps Reports

The reports within Google Admin Console can help you get a sense for how your school district will be impacted by these upcoming changes. To access the reports, go to the Google Admin Console > Reporting > Apps Reports > Accounts. If you scroll to the bottom of the page, you can see your total storage used as well as how much your storage has changed over time.

Finding Your Largest Users

You can also use the reports in the Google Admin Console to find users  with the highest storage usage. This report is found by opening the Google Admin Console > Reporting > User Reports > Apps Usage. You can add filters to this report based on “Total Storage used (MB).” So, if you filtered based on “Total Storage used (MB) greater than 10,000,” you could find anyone using more than 10 GBs of storage. This data can also be exported to Google Sheets, so you can better query and manage the data.

This was somewhat surprising to us in my former district. We noticed we were getting about 20 GBs away from the quota. To address this we deleted 15,000 old users. We found that deleting these 15,000 users only freed up about 300 GBs worth of data because 50% had never actually used their account before. When we ran this report, however, we found that one of our journalism teachers was using 15 TBs of storage. So, this one teacher was using 15% of a shared storage pool meant to be shared with 18,000 users.

GAM

Google Apps Manager, better known as GAM, is a free, open-source command line tool that helps Google Workspace Super Administrators manage their domain. Not familiar with GAM? Check out our upcoming webinar, Take Command with GAM, to see how you can install, configure, and use GAM in your domain.

Already use GAM? Here are a few commands you can use to help gain insight into how much storage you’re using. 

Find Non-Suspended Users with More than 15 GBs Worth of Files in Their Google Drive

gam config csv_output_row_filter "accounts.*used_quota_in_mb:count>=15000" redirect csv ./BigUsers.csv report users fields accounts:drive_used_quota_in_mb,accounts:used_quota_in_mb

Find Google Drive Usage Data

gam report usage customer parameters drive:num_collaborators,drive:num_consumers,drive:num_creators start_date 2020-01-01 todrive

Are You Ready for the 2022-2023 School Year?

Do you have enough storage for the next 3 school year? Use the reports to get a sense for how much data you’re using and also forecast how much your storage may grow in the next year. If we look at the chart above, we see that Roosevelt Public Schools is using roughly 60 TBs of data and growing by roughly 16 TBs a year. At first glance they appear to be well below the 100 TB limit, but beginning May 1 all newly created or modified files in Google Docs, Sheets, Slides, Forms, and Jamboard will begin counting toward the storage limit. This will be roughly 100 MBs of new storage per user per month that was not counted in the past. 

Roosevelt Public Schools’  15,000 users would be 18 TBs of new data created in the next year.  Combining that with our 60 TBs of existing storage and the 16 TBs of growth we were already anticipating puts the district at 94 TBs of storage. Right up against the storage limits.

Additional Resources

Storage+

KIT Central Storage+ allows you to manage your organization’s storage needs with precision and flexibility. Simple dashboards give you a quick overview of storage usage for your entire domain and on a per-user basis. This allows you to quickly identify what files are taking up the most room in your domain and how to optimize for this usage. Additionally, KIT Central Storage+ helps you understand what unused files in your domain can be moved into Google Cloud Storage Buckets to free up space. These insights make a significant difference in managing your organization’s storage needs.

Free Webinar

Yikes! The End of Unlimited Storage!

Sign up for our webinar and learn about Google Workspace for Education domain storage changes and the impact it will have on your domain. Utilize tools for more insights into what is being stored in your Google environment to reduce overall storage.

Yikes! The End of Unlimited Storage Series

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The End of Unlimited Storage

The End of Unlimited Storage

Well. This is it. Here we are. You and your school district have created hundreds of thousands of files and years of work in Google Drive and suddenly you’ve reached the end of unlimited storage in Google Drive. Over the last few years Google Drive has been one of your best tools as your district moved to the cloud, collaborated in real-time anywhere and on any device, endured cybersecurity threats, and supported remote learning through a pandemic. It includes everything from assignments and projects to employee evaluations and contracts. Now, after all of that work, unlimited storage in Google Workspace is going away.

Starting this summer, all Google Workspace for Education domains will have a finite amount of pooled storage for their entire domain. Pooled storage is storage used by all of your users (both active and suspended users) for everything in their accounts, including – but not limited to – files from Google Drive, Gmail, and Google Photos.

School districts with less than 20,000 enrolled students will be capped at 100 TBs of pooled storage. Districts get additional storage if they have premium Google Workspace licenses. Google Workspace for Education Plus licenses include an additional 20 GBs of storage for each license, and the Teaching and Learning Upgrade comes with 100 GBs of additional storage for each upgrade.

Base Storage Workspace for EDU Edition Additional Storage
Minimum 100 TB Pooled Storage Google Workspace for Education Fundamentals (FREE)

None

Minimum 100 TB Pooled Storage Google Workspace for Education Plus

+20 GB for each Education Plus License

Minimum 100 TB Pooled Storage The Teaching and Learning Upgrade for Google Workspace

+100 GB for each Teaching and Learning Upgrade

So, for example, if a district of 12,000 users purchased 300 licenses and Teaching and Learning Upgrades they would have 130 TBs of pooled storage (100 TBs of Base Storage and 300 Teaching and Learning Upgrades at 100 GBs each). If that same district with 12,000 users had Google Workspace for Education Plus licenses they would have 340 TBs of storage (100 TBs of Base Storage and 12,000 licenses with 20 GBs each).

Storage Changes Timeline

February 2021 – Google Announces Storage Changes in Google Workspace

Last year Google announced the upcoming storage changes in Google Workspace and encouraged districts to evaluate their storage needs and consider purchasing premium licenses to add to their limit.

June 1, 2021 – High-quality Photos Begin Counting Toward Storage Limit

Photos and videos backed up in High quality (now named Storage saver) or Express quality after June 1, 2021, begin counting in your storage limits Any photos or videos backed up in High quality or Express quality before June 1, 2021, will not count toward your Google Account storage.

May 1, 2022 – Google Docs, Slides, Sheets, Forms, and Jamboard now Count Toward Storage Limit

All Google Docs, Slides, Sheets, Forms and Jamboard files created or modified after May 1 will now count toward the storage limit. This will be roughly 100 MB per user per month of additional storage.

If you’re looking at the storage your district currently uses, you may assume you’re in a good position. This could change after May 1. Imagine a district of 15,000  using 60 TBs of pooled storage and currently growing at 16 TBs each year. On first glance, it appears they will not have any issues managing storage. When Google begins counting new documents created in Google Docs, Slides, Sheets, Forms, and Jamboard in May this will result in 18 TBs of documents in the next year that were not previously counted toward their storage limit. With these changes, this district could forecast usage of 94 TBs a year from now, pushing the organization up against the 100 TB limit.

July 1, 2022 – The End of Unlimited Storage

The day everything changes. July 1 is the end of unlimited storage in Google Workspace, and all school districts will have a capped amount of pooled storage. If districts are over their pooled storage limit, the organization’s Super Administrators will receive emails and notifications from Google warning them that they are out of compliance. If the warnings are ignored, Google may prevent you from creating or uploading new content until your district is under the limit and back in compliance. 

How do I get more storage?

The only way to get additional storage is to purchase either Google Workspace for Education Plus licenses or the Teaching and Learning Upgrades for your district. 

How can Kincaid IT Help me with My Storage?

  • Google Workspace for Education Plus licenses and the Teaching and Learning Upgrades
    The Google Workspace for Education Plus licenses and the Teaching and Learning Upgrades offer additional storage as well as premium tools for security, teaching and learning, and video conferencing.
    Want to learn more about premium licenses or request a quote? Contact Us! We’d love to help.
  • Take Control of Your Storage with Kincaid IT’s KIT Central Storage+
    KIT Central Storage+ allows you to manage your organization’s storage needs with precision and flexibility. Simple dashboards give you a quick overview of storage usage for your entire domain and on a per-user basis. This allows you to quickly identify what files are taking up the most room in your domain and how to optimize for this usage. Additionally, KIT Central Storage+ helps you understand what unused files in your domain can be moved into Google Cloud Storage Buckets to free up space. These insights will make a significant difference in managing your organization’s storage needs.
  • Check out a free webinar
    Yikes! The End of Unlimited Storage!
    Learn about Google Workspace for Education domain storage changes and the impact it will have on your domain. Utilize tools for more insight into what is being stored in your Google environment to reduce overall storage.

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Benefits of a Domain Audit

Kinzie Wooderson

Technical Writer for Kincaid IT

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If there is one constant with Google, it is that features change. I think we can all also say the same with our users’ needs.

Whether your organization’s Google Workspace environment was thrown together quickly during pandemic closures or it’s been in place for years, an audit is a great check of its health. If there is one constant with Google, it is that features change. I think we can all also say the same with our users’ needs. This often leaves us making updates on the fly to prevent a change at Google from impacting our users (until we have time to learn more about it) or to resolve end user issues that are affecting instruction. Closures brought different needs for even the most senior of Google Districts. Now is the time to take a step back and figure out where we are!

Laptop with Gmail logo on the screen

Similar to other industry standards for things like cybersecurity, Google has published an in-depth list of best practices for Education users. These recommendations help ensure that your Google Workspace is secure, fine tuned for young users and in compliance with industry standards and regulations. With a Google Workspace Audit KIT through Kincaid IT, an in-depth report will be provided for key areas such as your domain, organization, apps and security. 

The professionally compiled report will provide you with best practice recommendations alongside your current settings. This is a great support for important conversations with key stakeholders, such as your school board or executive team, on changes that may be critical to ensuring smooth operations and compliance with regulations such as the Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA). 

After getting the report, you and your team can review, prioritize and if appropriate document why you’re using settings other than what is considered best practice. This is great to have together in case of an incident or an outside audit by an insurance provider or other third party seeking accountability. 

The Google Workspace Audit KIT through Kincaid IT provides an understandable framework to guide you in management of this critical resource and what has become a core to both business and educational operations. With the audit in hand, you will know where you stand and have a comprehensive map to where you are going. 

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Kincaid Launches New Cloud-Based Management Suite to address Google’s Upcoming Storage Changes

Kincaid IT

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Kincaid IT launches new cloud-based management suite to address Google’s upcoming storage changes

KIT Central Admin developed to help technology administrators better manage storage and save money

As organizations grapple with the impact of Google’s upcoming changes to storage limits, Kincaid IT is launching a cloud-based SaaS designed to help educational institutions, businesses and other organizations meet this challenge while saving both money and staff time. 

Kincaid IT Central Admin and Admin+ is an all-in-one cloud management suite that supports Google Workspace. Tools available within KIT Central will help technology administrators manage their organizations’ storage with user-friendly dashboards, reporting and options to eliminate excess storage usage.

“We are currently the only company offering a web-based product that gives organizations the resources they need to efficiently monitor and manage their Google storage,” said Dr. Amy Bailey, Kincaid IT chief innovation officer. “As institutions  prepare for Google’s 2022 storage changes, Kincaid IT Central is ready to help organizations make informed decisions and thus effectively manage and take action on data within the domain before they face the new limits. ”

While developing the management tools, Kincaid IT (KIT) piloted KIT Central in collaboration with several school districts with a variety of enrollments and storage needs. 

Google recently announced plans to change its storage limits with enforcement beginning in July 2022, so managing storage at the admin level is becoming increasingly important. 

Although Google offers a handful of tools to help administrators determine storage, KIT Central provides additional features and insights, all via a web-based dashboard. Examples include:

  • Allowing admins to see top storage users and the files they are storing
  • Searching an organization’s drive files with filters
  • Notifying individuals whose storage usage is not in line with policies and limits 
  • Scheduling files for deletion
  • Delete files instantly
  • Managing user memberships from a single pane
  • Resetting user passwords with granular delegations.

Based on Google’s 2022 storage changes, it is estimated that KIT Central could save a mid-sized school district tens of thousands of dollars while universities — with their employee, student and alumni accounts — could see savings totaling hundreds of thousands of dollars annually. These cost savings are based on an organization’s ability to reduce the need to purchase additional Google storage and licenses by better managing storage. Kincaid IT Central was also created with technology department staff members in mind, offering tools specifically designed to save time for an organization’s admins.

For more information about Kincaid IT Central, to schedule a demo and learn more about Google storage changes, visit this webpage. Pricing is based on the number of users within an organization. Kincaid IT is also offering a 20-percent discount for organizations signing up by June 30, 2021, as well as a 14-day free trial.

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Google’s Clever Feature to Retrieve Lost Chromebooks

Headshot Mike Wallace

Mike Wallace

Learning and Innovation Manager

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The goal of this process is for anyone who powers up a missing Chromebook to see a message of your choice and know that they are handling a school-owned device that needs to be returned

Most people don’t know that Google Workspace for Education has a built- in feature to help your school district or organization retrieve lost or stolen Chromebooks. That’s right, if you’re missing a device, or a whole bunch of devices, you can use the Google Workspace for Education Admin console to disable unreturned Chromebooks permanently until you get them back in your hands! 

There are two different methods for Google Workspace for Education System Admins to retrieve Chromebooks after students and parents have been asked nicely. The one you choose will depend on how many Chromebooks you have and how comfortable you are with command line tools. (Don’t worry, ALL of the directions you need are in this post.)

The goal of this process is for anyone who powers up a missing Chromebook to see a message of your choice and know that they are handling a school-owned device that needs to be returned.

First, let’s set up the message that will appear on the screen of a Chromebook you have been unable to retrieve:

  • Go to admin.google.com and log in as a system administrator
  • Click Devices
  • Click Chrome Management (on the left)
  • Click Device Settings
  • Select the OU where you want to send the message. NOTE: You can use the same message for the entire account, or if you have your Chromebooks separated by school, you can set up a different message per school OU.
  • Under “Disabled device return instructions,” write your message. We suggest something like “This device was disabled by X School District. Please return it to ADDRESS Office # xxx-xxx-xxxx”
  • Click Save in the top right corner.
  • Repeat these steps for any OU where you want a different message.

Orange Locked Screen

Now that you have your messages set up, let’s learn how to push them out! 

Method 1: Best for Smaller Numbers of Chromebooks OR for Sys Admins without a Comfort Level with Command Line Tools

  • Go to admin.google.com and log in as an administrator
  • Click Devices
  • Click Chrome Devices
  • Select the OU that contains the Chromebooks you want to disable.
  • You can also leave ‘include all organizational units’ selected if you want to affect devices from all OUs.
  • Select the devices you want to disable.
  • You can select the box next to ‘Serial Number’ at the top of the list to select all Chromebooks on that page.
  • Click the Disable Chromebook button on the top right of the page

  • Click ‘Disable’ on the confirmation pop up.
  • Click the right arrow at the bottom right of the page to continue to the next 50 Chromebooks. NOTE: If you have 1000 Chromebooks, that would mean repeating this process 20 times, which is why we recommend Method 2 if you have a large number of devices.
  • When you are ready to re-enable these Chromebooks, you will follow the same steps above, except on step 6, the disable button will be replaced with an enable button.
  • You will have to change the ‘Status’ filter at the top of the list to All to see disabled Chromebooks.

Method 2: Great for Larger Numbers of Chromebooks OR for Sys Admins with Command Line Tool Knowledge

  • Download and install GAM from Github: https://github.com/jay0lee/GAM/wiki This will take some effort, but there is information on their site about installing GAM. Install to an easy to find folder, like c:\GAM
  • In Chrome, go to admin.google.com and log in as an administrator
  • Click “Devices”
  • Click “Chrome Devices”
  • Select the OU that contains the Chromebooks you want to disable.
  • You can also leave ‘include all organizational units’ selected if you want to affect devices from all OUs
  • Click the Export button in the top right corner.

  • Wait for the list to finish exporting.
  • Click on the hourglass to the left of your profile picture

  • Download the csv

  • Copy or move the csv to the folder where you have GAM installed. NOTE: It can be helpful to change the csv name to something short like disable.csv
  • Open a command prompt by clicking on the Windows button (bottom right of your screen) and typing cmd, then press enter
  • Change the directory to where you have GAM installed C: cd\ GAM
  • Type in the following command:

gam csv disable.csv gam update cros ~deviceId action disable

  • Change disable.csv to what your csv is named if you did not rename it
  • To enable these Chromebooks later, use the same CSV and type the following command

Gam csv disable.csv gam update cros ~devicIed action re-enable The next time a disabled device connects to the internet, it will come up with a message like this and not let anyone log in:

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Learn Three Google Meet Features To Make Student Virtual Meetings Safer and Easier

Julie Jensen

Learning and Innovation Manager

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“Knowing Google Meet is secure for students is only part of the planning. What will you and your students do once you are in a Google Meet?”

When it comes to a virtual meeting with students, Google Meet is simply a safe choice. It was designed for K-12 students while being useful for all other Google users. Knowing Google Meet is secure for students is only part of the planning. What will you and your students do once you are in a Google Meet? My recent blog, 10 Ideas for Engaging Students with Google Meet Polls, shares useful suggestions for engaging and gathering feedback from students via polling. 

Earlier In 2021, Google Workspace for Education Plus was announced, providing enhancements to help teachers manage virtual instruction with ease. Check out three features listed below — all game changers in virtual meetings with students!

Calendar Invite to a Google Meet = Host Controls

Starting with a calendar invite, teachers can begin setting up for a scheduled meeting by turning on Attendance Tracking and/or Create Breakout Rooms. 

  • Attendance Tracking: Just like turning on Attendance Tracking within a meeting, this sends the organizer a spreadsheet of participants and times in the meeting. Now this can also be turned on from a calendar invite. 
  • Breakout Rooms: Through a calendar invite only, a teacher is able to pre assign students to specific breakout rooms. Once the Google Meet begins, the teacher opens rooms for students to communicate with their group. Assigning students to rooms ahead of time is only a feature offered through Google Calendar at this time.

The Green Room

Virtual meetings will forever be a way we communicate in school, work and socially. Modeling and teaching students soft skills when you are on a Google Meet provide students with life-long skills that will benefit them years from now. Show students how to preview how they look and sound while also being aware of their background before joining a Google Meet. The green room allows a self-check on the camera of exactly how they will appear to others in the room. Rather than clicking past it quickly, make sure they are OK with the current scene. In addition, teach students about their choices such as mic and camera on/off, and how to change or blur their background.

Mute All and End All

We’ve all experienced reasons for needing to mute one person or everyone. Now you can!  Since teachers are the organizers of the meeting, teachers have the control to mute everyone. Click > People to view all in the meeting and select > Mute all. For privacy reasons, only the user can unmute his or herself, no one else. 

It’s also comforting to know your meeting has ended with no one left in the virtual room. The organizers of the meeting can leave the call and end for all, which will kick everyone out of the Google Meet. If the organizer clicks > Leave call, a window will appear > End meeting for all. 

When you are collaborating on Google Meet with colleagues, even though you are all adults, the organizer of the meeting is the one who started the meeting or added it as a calendar event. This is the person with the control to mute all or end meetings for all. If the organizer needs to leave the meeting, but all others want to continue collaborating, simple click > Leave meeting. This allows the others to continue without the organizer. 

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