5 min read

A Guide to Google Workspace Administrator Restrictions

As an administrator for Google Workspace, it's important to understand the roles and permissions assigned to administrators and the restrictions in place to help protect your organization's data and security.

Let's explore the different roles and permissions available to Google Workspace administrators, common restrictions placed on administrators, and best practices for managing administrator restrictions to protect your organization.


Understanding Google Workspace Administrator Roles & Permissions

Google Workspace is a powerful collaboration and productivity tool used by businesses, organizations, and educational institutions.

As a Workspace admin, you have the ability to keep your Workspace organized, secure, and running efficiently for users at every level.

Different Administrator Roles in Google Workspace

Google Workspace has predefined administrator roles, each with its specific set of permissions. These roles enable you to assign responsibilities to different individuals based on their job requirements.

All admin roles can perform their responsibilities through the Google Admin Console, a central place to manage Workspace services.

Here's an overview of some of the most common Google Workspace administrator roles:

  • Super Admin: This is the highest administrator level in Google Workspace. Super Admins have access to all features and settings, including creating and deleting users, managing groups and domains, setting up billing, and managing support tickets. When a new Google Workspace account is created, the person who sets up the account is automatically assigned the Super Admin role.
  • User Management Admin: These administrators manage users, including adding, deleting, suspending, or restoring user accounts. They can also manage user profile settings, reset passwords, and modify settings related to the organizational units. However, they cannot access other admin roles or billing settings.
  • Help Desk Admin: Help Desk Admins assist users with password resets, two-factor authentication setup, email routing, or troubleshooting user issues. They have minimal access to overall settings, ensuring a secure environment where they can manage tasks relevant to their support role.
  • Services Admin: Responsible for managing the settings of all the Google services like Gmail, Drive, and Calendar, Services Admins can alter features and settings for each service, but they cannot modify organizational units or perform administrative tasks on users.
  • Groups Admin: These admins manage Google Groups within the organization, including creating and deleting groups, adding and removing members, modifying group settings, and setting group access permissions.

Customizing Administrator Permissions

If you prefer to customize your admin roles, you can grant specific permissions to certain users based on your organization's needs. To create custom admin roles, follow these steps:

  1. Log in to the Admin console with your Super Admin credentials.
  2. In the Admin console, go to the Menu, then click "Account," then "Admin roles."
  3. Click "Create new role."
  4. Enter a name and (optionally) a description for the role and click "Continue."
  5. From the Privilege Name list, check the boxes to select each privilege you want users with this role to have. Learn more about each privilege here. Then, click "Continue."
  6. Review the privileges and click "Create Role."
  7. Follow these steps to assign the custom role.

By customizing permissions, you can enhance your organization's security and ensure your admins can only access the features they need to complete their tasks.


Common Restrictions for Google Workspace Administrators

To maintain security and prevent misuse of administrator privileges, it's essential to implement restrictions for Workspace admins.

These restrictions ensure that admins can only access the functions needed for their roles.

Restricting Administrator Access to Specific Organizational Units

Organizational units (OUs) are hierarchical structures that help manage and organize users, groups, and devices within your Google Workspace account.

Restricting admin access to specific OUs ensures they can only manage settings, permissions, and policies within their designated OUs.

Here's how you can restrict admin access to specific OUs:

  1. Log in to the Admin console with your Super Admin credentials.
  2. Click "Admin roles."
  3. Select an administrator role or create a custom role with the required permissions.
  4. Add a user that you want to assign to the role.
  5. Next to the user, click the organizational unit.
  6. Select the organizational unit and click "Done."
  7. Click "Assign role" to save your changes.

Setting Access Levels for Data & Security Settings

Workspace provides context-aware access levels to control admin access to user data and security settings. The access levels are structured based on factors such as device type, user location, and IP address.

By setting a context-aware access level, you can restrict administrators from accessing sensitive data while enabling them to perform tasks required for their job.

To configure access levels, follow these steps:

  1. Log in to the Admin console with your Super Admin credentials.
  2. Select Security > Access and data control > Context-Aware Access
  3. Select "Access levels" for a list of defined levels. If you want to create your own, go to the top right of the screen and select "Create access level."
  4. Add an access level name and optional description. You'll need to specify if the access level applies when users either meet attributes or don't meet attributes. Click "Add Attribute" to add one or more attributes to the access level condition. Attributes include IP subnet, Device OS, geographic origin, and more. Learn more about attributes here.
  5. To add another condition, click "Add condition" and add attributes to it. You'll need to specify if users must meet the first condition and added conditions or only one of the conditions.
  6. After adding conditions, save the access level by clicking "Save."

By setting access levels, you can create a secure environment that balances admins' needs for functionality with your organization's need for data protection.


Best Practices for Managing Administrator Restrictions

Because Workspace allows you to customize admin roles and implement specific restrictions, there are best practices to remember as a Super Admin to empower your team while safeguarding your data.

Establishing a Clear Hierarchy of Administrator Roles

To manage administrator restrictions effectively, you must establish a clear hierarchy of these roles, assigning them according to individual user requirements and responsibilities. Doing so ensures that each team member has only the level of access needed to perform their duties.

When establishing a hierarchy of administrator roles, consider your organization's size, structure, and objectives. It's recommended to limit the number of Super Admins to a manageable number, thus reducing the risk of unauthorized access to sensitive data.

In addition, review and update the administrator hierarchy regularly to maintain its accuracy. As your organization grows and changes, you may find that you need more admins to help manage users.

Conducting Regular Audits of Administrator Permissions

It's essential to conduct regular audits of administrator permissions throughout your Google Workspace environment. Doing so will help you identify potential security risks, detect unauthorized access, and ensure that only the right users hold administrative access.

Additionally, regular audits can prevent the buildup of unused or outdated accounts that may pose a security threat.

During an audit, review each administrator's role, privileges, and access levels to ensure they align with their current duties. Check for unused accounts and remove or restrict access for any inactive or obsolete ones.

Training & Support for Administrators in Following Security Guidelines

Providing training and support for administrators is crucial to ensuring they follow established security guidelines.

By educating your admins, you can ensure your team is committed to maintaining a secure environment for your company while utilizing the innovative tools available through Workspace.

Training should include information on password management, two-factor authentication, setting up and enforcing security policies, and being aware of common security threats, such as phishing attacks. Additionally, encourage continuous learning by providing access to up-to-date resources, webinars, and workshops on Google Workspace security best practices.


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Look to Promevo for Expert Guidance on Workspace Management

Google Workspace is a hub for productivity tools that exist in one easy-to-use solution. If you're looking for ways to streamline your Workspace environment through management practices and organizational tactics, Promevo can help.

Promevo is a team of Google-certified experts specializing in Workspace management and reporting. In addition to providing reliable technical, in-house support to your team, Promevo also offers gPanel®.

gPanel® is our exclusive Google Workspace management solution. This security interface gives you the tools you need to manage users effectively in your domain while safeguarding sensitive data.

Whatever paint points or roadblocks you face with setting up your Workspace environment, Promevo is here to help. Contact us today to start the conversation.


FAQs: Google Workspace Administrator Restrictions

What is the purpose of administrator restrictions?

Administrator restrictions help maintain security and control within your Google Workspace environment by limiting the access and privileges of different administrator roles.

This ensures that only authorized individuals can access specific configurations, settings, and data.

Can I create custom administrator roles for my organization?

Yes, Google Workspace allows you to create custom administrator roles with specific privileges based on your organization's needs.

This enables you to establish a hierarchy of roles tailored to your company.

How often should I conduct audits of administrator permissions?

It is recommended to conduct administrator permissions audits at least twice a year or more frequently, depending on your organization's size and complexity.

Regular audits will help ensure an up-to-date and secure Google Workspace environment.

What are some common mistakes to avoid when managing administrator restrictions?

Some common mistakes include granting excessive privileges or access to individuals, not conducting regular audits, failing to provide adequate training for administrators, not maintaining an organized hierarchy of roles, and neglecting regular updates to your administrator management practices.


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