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Control access to apps based on user & device context

Assign Context-Aware access levels to apps

After you create access levels, you’re ready to assign them to apps. You can control access by user identity, device security status, IP address, and geographical location. You can also control access for apps attempting to access Google Workspace data through Application Programming Interfaces (APIs).

When you assign access levels…

  • Selecting an access level sets it to Monitor mode by default. This ensures you won’t inadvertently block users when you turn on an access level.
  • Users are granted access to the app when they meet the conditions specified in one of the access levels you select (it’s a logical OR of the access levels in the list). If you want users to meet the conditions in more than one access level (a logical AND of access levels), create an access level that contains multiple access levels. If you want to assign more than 10 access levels for an app, you can use nested access levels to do so.
  • For mobile apps, if you use integrated Gmail, you can grant or deny access to Gmail, Google Chat, and Google Meet all at once. If Google Chat and Google Meet are implemented as separate apps (not as part of integrated Gmail), you need to grant or deny access to those apps separately.

Assign Context-Aware access levels to an app

Before you begin: To apply the setting for certain users, put their accounts in an organizational unit (to set by department) or a configuration group (to set for users across or within departments).

  1. Sign in to your Google Admin console.

    Sign in using your administrator account (does not end in @gmail.com).

  2. In the Admin console, go to Menu and then Securityand thenAccess and data controland thenContext-Aware Access.
  3. Click Assign access levels. You see a list of apps.
  4. To apply the setting to everyone, leave the top organizational unit selected. Otherwise, select a child organizational unit or a configuration group.
  5. Hover over an app and click Assign.
    To assign the same access levels to multiple apps at once, check the boxes next to the apps and, at the top, click Assign.
  6. On the left, click one or more access levels (up to 10) to select them. Selected access levels are displayed to the right and are set to Monitor mode by default.
    • To test how selecting the access level will affect users without actually blocking access, leave the setting in Monitor mode.
    • If you’ve tested an access level setting and are ready to start applying it, change the setting to Active.
  7. Click Continue.
  8. (Recommended) Check the Block users from accessing Google desktop and mobile apps if access levels aren’t met box to apply the access levels to users of native desktop, Android, and iOS apps and web apps. See App behavior based on access level settings, below.
  9. (Optional) Check the Block other apps from accessing the selected apps via APIs, if access levels aren't met box to block apps from attempting to access Google Workspace data through exposed public APIs.
  10. (Optional) To exempt trusted apps from being blocked through exposed APIs:
    Available for configuration by organizational unit, not configuration group, even though you can select a group in the Admin console. For details, see Use cases: Exempt trusted third-party apps from being blocked
    1. Check the Exempt allowlisted apps so that they can always access APIs for specific Google services, regardless of access levels box. 
    2. If you don’t see a list of apps or the app you want to exempt, click Go to app access control and complete the steps to trust the app.
      • Any third-party apps you mark Trusted on the App Access Control page are listed in the table of allowlisted apps. Some might already be preselected if you marked them trusted and exempt from API enforcement.
      • You can't exempt Google apps (such as Drive, Calendar, or Apps Script) from API blocking. These apps appear grayed out in the list.
    3. If needed, select the apps you want exempted from API enforcement and click Continue.
  11. Click Continue.
  12. Review the selected scope, and the selected apps and selected access levels, and the access level mode (monitor or active).
  13. Click Assign.

You’re returned to the apps list page. The Access levels column shows the number of access levels applied to each app in both monitor mode and active mode.

App behavior based on access level settings

The following table summarizes the behavior based on whether you check the Block users from accessing Google desktop and mobile apps if access levels aren’t met box and whether you deploy Endpoint verification. The rows in bold underscored text display the recommended settings.

Key terms for this table:

  • Access level applied—Access is granted based on the access levels you set up in the Context-Aware Access configuration.
  • Access allowed—Context-Aware Access is not applied, and all access is allowed.
  • Access blocked—Access is blocked because Context-Aware Access isn't configured, or you don't have endpoint verification turned on.

Access level

CAA enabled

Allow/block (native and web)

   

Mobile

Desktop

   

Mobile native

Mobile web

Desktop web

Desktop native

Endpoint verification deployed?

Access level with only IP/Geo attributes

Block users from accessing Google desktop and mobile apps if access levels aren’t met box checked

Access level applied

Access level applied

Not required

Block users from accessing Google desktop and mobile apps if access levels aren’t met box not checked

Access allowed

Access level applied

Access level applied

Access allowed

Not required

Access level with device attributes

Block users from accessing Google desktop and mobile apps if access levels aren’t met box checked

Access level applied

Access level applied

Yes

Block users from accessing Google desktop and mobile apps if access levels aren’t met box checked

Access level applied

Access blocked

No

Block users from accessing Google desktop and mobile apps if access levels aren’t met box not checked

Access allowed

Access level applied

Access level applied

Access allowed

Yes

Block users from accessing Google desktop and mobile apps if access levels aren’t met box not checked Access allowed Access level applied Access blocked Access allowed No

Review or modify assigned access levels

This setting is used to apply changes locally and does not display inherited assignments.

  1. Hover over the app and click Assign.

    Selected access levels are shown at right.

  2. Do any of the following:
    • Click Remove at left to unassign an access level.
    • At right, change an assigned access level from Monitor to Active status, or vice versa.
    • To assign additional access levels, locate the desired level at left and click Select.
  3. Click Continue to configure or change policy settings (see steps 8-13 in Assign access levels to an app, above).

View logged events for an access level

Use the View report option to track whether your assigned access levels are functioning correctly to control user access to apps. Access levels set to either monitor or active mode generate events that are logged in the Context-Aware Access log.

  1. Click Assign access levels.
  2. Select the OU or group you want to review results for.

    In the app list, the Access levels column shows how many active and monitor access levels are applied to each app:

  3. Hover over an app and click View report at right.

  4. In the sidebar at right, click the Link to Security Investigation Tool to automatically run a search for Contex Aware access log events for the selected application.

The search results include the following information:

  • Access denied (Monitor mode) events show users who would have been blocked if this access level were enforced.
  • The Actor column shows the blocked user.
  • Access levels applied, satisfied (access conditions met), and unsatisfied (access conditions not met)

For more information see Context-Aware Access log events.

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