Imagine that you and your entire team need to work remotely as fast as possible. Everyone must be able to access their accounts, their computers, and a video conferencing application from outside the office. This process should be easy and secure. It should all work! Is it possible to do this in the next day?
This scenario is all too familiar to IT professionals, especially with the COVID-19 pandemic. Let’s now discuss Group Policies, their purpose, and what you need to do to set them up.
What are group policies?
Administrators can use Group Policies to configure user and computer settings on their networks using Active Directory Domain Services. You can create Group Policies as long as computers are connected to your domain and users log in using domain credentials. This will allow you to reduce help desk calls and costs, and also control all configurations. You can keep your users happy and secure.
Why you should use group policies
We’ll discuss the most important settings in detail later, but for now, know that you can prevent:
Learn how to become a security expert with SPOTO’s Cybersecurity Training
Get started in training
Unauthorized access of specific resources
Execution of scripts
Simple tasks, such as forcing a homepage open for all users in the network, can be accomplished
It can be fun to help users get up and configure their computers. If you have to help multiple users with the same problems, your time and effort are not being utilized optimally. Group Policies can be used to save time and make settings available to all users. This saves time and keeps your environment secure.
Are You Using Group Policies in Your Office 365 License
Microsoft Group Policies are always available in on-premise Office solutions. Office 365 Group Policy availability is dependent on the plan you have bought.
These are the versions that come with it.
Office 365 ProPlus
Office 365 Enterprise E3
Office 365 Enterprise E5
If your plan doesn’t include Group Policy (any Office 365 Business plans or Education plans, Enterprise and Government E1 and K1) you can upgrade your license to any plans that do. After switching to the new plan, you will need to uninstall and reinstall Office software one by one. You should quickly realize if you have to use them in order not to be faced with an overwhelming upgrade project.
Here’s a TechNet article listing the features of Office 365 plans that include Group Policy support.
Enterprise valueOffice Professional Plus 2013Office Professional Plus 2016Office Professional Plus 2019Office 365 ProPlusOffice 365 BusinessOffice 365 Business EssentialsOffice 365 Business PremiumGroup Policy supportYesYesYesYesNoNoNo7 Must-Have Group Policy Settings
In Lord of the Ring terms, Group Policies are “one set of policies that can rule them all”. Here are the top 7 priorities for any system administrator.
1. The Control Panel
Who controls the control panel? Who is the administrator of your company’s computer system? The user? It is important to limit access to Control Panel in an IT environment for business. This allows you, the administrator, to control who can access Control Panel. Group Policies can be used to control your computer in two ways. You can either restrict or block access to the Control Panel.
Control Panel: Administrators should not be afraid to open the Control Panel to see all that is possible. This is where admins can modify account settings, add unauthorized users, and add/change screen-savers (a huge security risk).