7 Hidden Secrets in Your G Suite Dashboard

If you’re a dedicated G Suite user, you probably have discovered quite a few advantages of this software. Docs, Gmail, Calendar, Sheets, and many more tools make G Suite a key component for many organizations.

Another segment of the G Suite world that you may use regularly is the G Suite Dashboard. It allows users to find, track, and open services and apps within G Suite.

But it can do much more than that, especially for administrators. Dashboard has a number of components that are available to administrators for things like generating specific reports and making custom changes to your users’ G Suite environment. Some of these aspects of Dashboard may not be immediately obvious.

We have put together a list of seven hidden secrets in G Suite Dashboard to help you make the most of this tool.

1. Catch Suspicious Activity

If you are ever concerned that others may be logging into your G Suite account or into your users’ accounts, you can check the history of logins through the Dashboard, going back as long as six months in some cases.

Start by logging in to your administrator account with G Suite, not your personal account. Click on Security, followed by Dashboard. In the subsequent window, look in the lower right for the View Report text link. Select the report for suspicious devices.

Once the report is visible, you can customize the data it displays, including time range and domain.

These suspicious activity reports will show the timestamp of each login, along with device IDs. (Android mobile devices will show up in the report, but iOS devices may not.) Sometimes, you may discover that one of your users was trying to login with a new mobile device, meaning it wasn’t suspicious activity after all, just a new mobile device.

For those legitimate spots on the report with suspicious activity, however, you may want to have your user reset the password on the account in question.

2. Check How Secure G Suite Is

For a new organization that is using G Suite, the goal is to improve collaboration. And as your organization grows, G Suite is able to grow with you, continuing to give everyone in your organization the ability to collaborate.

One downside to growing quickly, however, is that you end up with new users who may not be as familiar with your organization’s security protocols as they should be, and they are creating multiple emails and documents. As you add one or two people, the number of documents and messages in G Suite will grow exponentially.

With all of this growth, the chances of having a security issue somewhere along the way increases too. To check on the safety of your G Suite organization, you can use the Dashboard to track all kinds of threats to the overall G Suite environment, as well as monitor any security compromises you may have in your environment.

The Dashboard’s security features give you several different reports that focus on various aspects of the G Suite security package. Sign in as an administrator first. Then click Security, followed by Dashboard, just as you did with the suspicious activity reports we discussed earlier.

Select the data for the reports you want to generate related to security. You can track different items, depending on which version of G Suite you’re using. Some of the items you can track with G Suite Essentials include:

  • Whether any account had an odd number of incorrect login attempts
  • Number of suspicious login user attempts
  • Number of failed login user attempts
  • Exposure risk of different files

Those with G Suite Enterprise can track the same items as Essentials, along with a few other items, including:

  • Number of authenticated messages
  • Number of encrypted messages
  • Number of inbound messages in total
  • Number of inbound messages routed through the spam filter (further split by malware and phishing attempts)
  • Number of inbound messages with suspicious attachments
  • Number of inbound messages with spoofing attempts

You also can put a time range on your various reports for up to six months in the past, so you can compare whether the number of security issues are increasing.

3. Customize the Dashboard View for Your Users

As the administrator, you can control how the users in your organization are able to view Dashboard within their personal accounts.

Users are able to use Dashboard to see all of the apps that you have installed for them and to which you have given them access. They can open these apps through Dashboard. The Dashboard also has a Search bar along the top, so they can look for a certain app if they don’t see the icon.

As the administrator, you can control a variety of items that users can do and see through their Dashboard.

Create a Support Message

If you want to give your users a custom message for things like how they can request access to an app, you can do that when you’re logged in as an administrator. Users will see this message in the Dashboard each time they open the Dashboard screen.

From your Dashboard, click the Add Admin Message text in the upper right corner of the window. From the Admin console, you then should click Account Settings, followed by Profile, and then Support Message. (If you don’t see these options, you don’t have the correct privileges.)

Enter the message you want users to see on their Dashboard window and click Save. You can create links within the message, if desired. You also can create new lines within the message.

Add a Core Service for a Group

If you only want a certain number of users to have access to one of G Suite’s services, rather than the entire organization, create a group of users.

Users can belong to more than one group, which can be a benefit, but it also can become confusing to remember which users are in which groups, so it may be easier to limit users to a single group.

You can give members of groups access to specific G Suite core services, which include items such as:

  • Calendar
  • Chat
  • Drive
  • Meet
  • Tasks

You also can turn on additional Google services for certain groups, including:

  • Google Analytics
  • Google Maps
  • Google Payments
  • Google Photos
  • Google Play
  • Google Voice
  • YouTube

4. Hiding Your Viewing History

If your organization makes use of Google Docs to share documents among different people, allowing everyone to make some editing changes to the documents or to add comments, you already know that everyone can see the changes you’ve made.

People also can see exactly who viewed the document and when. But perhaps you’d like to hide your viewing history from others, so they don’t know exactly when you last viewed the document. You have this option through the Dashboard.

In the past couple of years, Google added a shortcut for the Dashboard within a few key apps, including:

  • Docs
  • Drawings
  • Sheets
  • Slides

The shortcut button looks like an upward pointing arrow at an angle. It’s found just to the left of the Share button in the upper right corner. With your document open, click on this button to open the Dashboard window. Look in the bottom left to find Privacy Settings and click on it.

In the center of the window, you can change your Account Setting slider bar. Through this section, you can determine whether you want your view history displayed for Docs, Sheets, and Slides files that others have shared with you. If you turn this off, G Suite will turn off your view history for all documents.

If you only want to turn off view history for the particular document you have open, use the Document Setting slider bar in the lower half of the window.

With either of these turned off, others will be unable to see your last view date in the Viewers tab.

5. Learn How Your Organization Uses Meeting RoomsM

Through the Room Insights Dashboard in G Suite, administrators can see how the organization is using physical rooms for meetings in your building by using data from Google Calendar. (To make use of this feature, users will have to have the ability to set up meetings through Calendar, and they will need to be able to select particular rooms in the building for their meetings.)

To open Room Insights, sign in as an administrator. Click on Buildings and Resources, followed by Open Room Insights. Apply filters to the information in the Room Insights Dashboard for things like certain rooms in the building, as well as certain times of the week.

You will be able to determine things like:

  • Which meeting rooms are most popular
  • Whether your teams are not using certain rooms enough
  • Whether your teams are using certain rooms at a higher than average rate (and then drill down as to why that room is popular)
  • What sizes of rooms are most frequently in use
  • Whether certain types of equipment in a room make it more popular
  • What times of day certain rooms typically are not in use, allowing for maintenance

Through this data, you will have an ability to tailor the building’s meeting rooms to best meet the needs of your organization, allowing you to use your physical real estate more efficiently.

6. Troubleshooting G Suite Problems

If you are having trouble gaining access to segments of G Suite in the cloud, this can be a frustrating situation. Even though G Suite and Google’s services are extremely reliable, there may be times where certain aspects of G Suite are malfunctioning, leaving you unable to complete certain tasks and probably causing your users to pepper you with questions about what is happening.

Through the G Suite Status Dashboard, you are able to check directly with Google about the status of different aspects of Google. This allows you to figure out whether the problem is on Google’s end, or if it is on your organization’s end.

Visit https://google.com/appsstatus to open the Status Dashboard. You’ll see all of your apps and services listed along the left side of the page, along with a colored dot that indicates the status. (Green is good.)

In the center of the screen, you’ll see columns that represent different dates, so you can go back and determine whether there was an issue or outage earlier in the week. Click on any orange or red dot in a column to see the specific issue that Google is reporting.

If you are experiencing a problem, continue checking back with the Status Dashboard. As the Google team repairs the issue, it will update the Status Dashboard, so you know when you can start working again.

7. View Results of Email Sorting

The Gmail app in G Suite will sort the emails that others send to your domain. Although Gmail does an accurate job of routing emails the majority of the time, there may be times where your domain’s custom Gmail settings could override how the Gmail app would sort a particular message.

You can use the Dashboard inside G Suite to check statistics on how your domain’s custom settings are affecting how Gmail is sorting your messages, ensuring that it is not sorting messages into spam that it should actually deliver, for example.

To see the report, sign in as an administrator. Click Security, followed by Dashboard. Click on Custom Settings, followed by View Report.

You’ll see a couple of items in this report, including:

  • Number of messages that the domain’s custom Gmail settings are affecting
  • Number of messages that the Gmail app would sort differently from your domain’s custom settings

You then can apply additional filters to the data in the report, allowing you to drill down for more information, including:

  • Only include externally created messages
  • Only include internally created messages
  • Only include messages the app sent to quarantine
  • Only include messages the app fully rejected
  • Only include messages from sources considered legitimate (whitelisted)
  • Only include messages considered clean that Gmail delivered as intended
  • Only include messages Gmail sent to the spam folder

You have the ability to set a date range for the data collection in the report. The default is one month of data, but you can choose to have up to six months of data included. (Some types of data are only available for one month, however.)

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Bryan Wise
Bryan Wise,
Former VP of IT at GitLab

Incredible companies use Nira