How the organizational structure works

Initially in your Google Admin console, all your users and devices are placed in a single organizational unit. All settings you make in the Admin console apply to this top-level organization and therefore to all users and devices in your account.

Apply settings to groups of users or devices

To apply different settings to some users or devices, place them in a child organization, below the top level. Users or devices in organizations get the settings that you apply to them. So to keep a child organization from inheriting its parent’s settings, apply to the child any settings that are specific to it.

  • Example—Gmail, Google Hangouts, and Google Drive work for users in the top-level organization. Users in the child organization inherit Gmail and Drive, but for them, Hangouts is off.
  • Recommendation—Create separate organizations for users and devices. That way, you can tailor settings for managed devices and managed users as needed.

Apply settings to one user or device

To change settings for a single user or device, create an organization for just that user or device. A user or device belongs to only one organizational unit and inherits that organization's settings.

Options for large companies

If you manage a large number of users or sync your LDAP directory: Use access groups to turn on a service for specific users within an organization. For example, you turned off YouTube for all organizational units, but some users in the marketing and sales organizations need the service. Two options:

  • Move the users to a new or existing organization, and then turn on the service.  
  • Add the users to an access group that has the service turned on.
    Each user in the group can access the service, even when the service is turned off for their organization or the users are in different organizations. With access groups, you can turn on services for users without changing your organizational structure. For information about how to use access groups, see Control access to G Suite and Google services with groups.

Build a hierarchy

Create as many organizational units as you want—either at the same level or in a hierarchy. Each child organization inherits settings from its parent, which you can then customize. Changing a setting at a higher level changes the setting for all sub-organizations that inherit that setting. Custom settings, however, remain unchanged.

If you use multiple domains

You can mix and match users from all your domains in an organizational unit. In fact, users in all your domains are initially in the same top-level organization. To change settings for users in a particular domain, create an organization for just those users.

Related topics

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