GAT Unlock – First Steps

GAT Unlock is the most sophisticated security management mechanism for Google Apps available today. It works on the principle that access to documents, or change of ownership of documents, without the owner’s knowledge or permission can only be accomplished with the active input of at least two people in the organization. One of these will be the requestor who must be an Administrator, the other a Security Officer (or Verification Officer), who must be identified and verified through a senior executive in the organization.

This is an extra service on top of all GAT versions and for non-education domains comes with a limited cost. All license types must apply for this service if they require it. It does not automatically install nor can it be self configured.


Because of the sensitivity of documents held in the cloud ‘Unlock’ can not be self enabled and is available ‘on trial’ only by special request.

From introduction the service will be visible to domains and each domain Admin can apply to have it enabled. To avail of this service please email with your request. The requesting email must contain the following 4 items.

  • The contact details of the Google Apps Administrator applying.  
  • The name of the Security Officer(s), her/his position(s), email and phone number.
  • The contact details (email and phone number) for the person from whom the GAT team must seek confirmation before enabling this feature (See list below for minimum level of organization officer we expect to have to request approval from. Please send us their full contact details also and inform them they may receive contact from us.) This is required to verify the separate identities of both the Administrators and Security Officers.
  • The PO details for the requested service, see price list below. (Not required for education domains that have purchased GAT.)

There can be many Security Officers, and the service will be available to all Super Admins once enabled.

Administrators and Security Officers should remember the verification process is there to protect you, your domain data and your user’s privacy and rights, while also enabling you to act in the organization’s best interests.

When the ‘GAT Unlock’ service is enabled Administrators can generate access or change requests, but only Security Officers can approve them. An individual can be a member of both lists but cannot approve their own requests. The Security Officer list for all domains is maintained by staff. A Security Officer can not generate a change or view request and have it approved by another Security Officer.

Why all this effort? We really respect your data security. We respect your company’s right to be protected. This is the highest security model available within the Google for Work environment.

‘GAT Unlock’ pricing and approval authority needed

From September 1st, 2016, GAT Unlock will be bundled at no extra cost for educational domains who subscribe to GAT+ Email at the educational rate of $0.50 per user per year.

How to use GAT Unlock

File Management – Changing ownership or file access rights

GAT Unlock is tightly integrated with the powerful search and filter options available in GAT+. This means you only have to do things once.

In this example we are going to find all the spreadsheets owned by the group ‘sales’ that are shared externally, then we will remove the external sharing and change the ownership (on all the selected files at once).

TIP: Always narrow the file request with a search first – saves time and makes approval simpler.

Step 1: Click on the ‘Apply custom filter’ button in Drive Audit.

Step 2: Select the following option:

  • For the filter type select User/Group/OU search, we will enter the ‘Sales’ group in this field ‘Local User/Group’, make sure to enter the full email address.
  • Click the checkbox option ‘Owned’, this will show all the files owned by ‘Sales’ group. Otherwise, it would show all of the files associated with ‘Sales’ group, were Sales shows up as Owner, Editor or Reader.
  • In the filter definition area, select the parameter Type equal to Spreadsheets and to add another search parameter click on ‘Add rule’ button and select ‘Sharing Flag’ to ‘Shared Out’. Selecting shared out will only focus on files leaving your domain.  

Step 3: Next click on the ‘Toggle Selectable’ button, this will allow you to select files individually or all of them at the same time.

Note: You can not perform actions on a ‘Suspended’ account.

Step 4: Click on the button ‘File operation’ and then select the ‘File Management’ option.

Step 5: In this example, we are removing external access to the spreadsheets and making the manager the owner of all the files.

When you click on the ‘Send request’ button, an email is going to be sent to your security officer.

If the security officer approves your actions, they will be executed and you will be notified.

If permission is not granted by the security officer, you will also be notified and no actions will be taken.

Access Permissions Granted – How to silently copy or view files

We are going to use a powerful search feature inside of GAT+ Drive audit to identify the contents of documents we’re going to investigate. This feature is called the ‘File content text search’. It allows admins/delegated auditor to use a word or sentence to search through all of the files across the domain and to return documents which contain them.

Step 1: Click on the ‘Apply custom filter’ button.

Step 2: Enter the word or sentence to return files which contain them. Select the user’s account you want to search through you can leave this field blank to search your entire domain’s Drive or enter a user, Google Group or Org Unit to search through them only.

You can also use multiple rules in the definition section of the Apply custom filter. I used the Updated search parameter. Once you click on Apply button the search will begin.

It will take a few minutes depending on how many files you have across your domain.

Step 3: Select the files you are interested in, remember that these files contain the sentence “private and confidential”.

Step 4: Click on the ‘Files operation’ button and then select ‘Access permissions granted’.

Step 5: Next we will select a date in the future, we will have access to these files until this date. You have an option to write to your security officer explaining why you need access to these files.

Send the request to the Security Officer(s) for approval.

The following email will be sent to the Security Officer.

The Security Officer can click on the link in the email and will be taken to the approval area(Grant) in GAT+.

When the Security Officer grants access an email will be sent to the requesting Administrator/delegated auditor informing them. The Administrator from the ‘Access permission granted’ menu can see the full list of their access requests along with the time left for each request to remain valid.

Once the request is selected, the requestor can download documents or view the contents silently without the owners’ awareness.

Pre-approved Access for Admins to all Files for a range of Users

If your Super admins wish not to get Security Officer approval every time they want to make file permission changes or to view file contents, a security officer can give them pre-approval.

In the Security Officer section on the GAT+ sidebar menu, select ‘Pre-approved Access’ and then click on +’ button to add a new pre-approved admin.

Once clicked a new ‘pop-up’ screen will appear.

Here the security officer can add the email address of the Super Admin, the OU over which they will have access, they can select a full OU tree and set approval access until a certain future date. In the above screenshot, I gave Anna (super admin) access to the entire organisation because I selected / and I covered the Sub-Org Units as well.

Multiple different grants can be given by the security officer, including several to the same Super Admin, each covering different scopes.

Changing Ownership of an entire folder tree

Another feature of ‘Unlock’ is that it enables an often requested task of moving an entire folder tree, root folder and sub-folders, from one or many owners to a new owner.

This task is completed with the File Management tab. Use the drop-down menu button next to the folder name to see the options. Click on ‘Apply permission change to this folder (recursive)’. When the File Management option menu appears enter the new owner’s email address. And make sure to remove the previous owner as editor.

Note: When changing ownership with GAT Unlock the previous owner is added automatically as an editor to the files he owned prior to your changes. Make sure to enter the previous owner into the field ‘Remove following users as Editors’ if you don’t want them to have that privilege by default before sending the request to your Security Officer.

This is an ideal feature for consolidating a shared folder structure, or handling leaving staff or students.

Delegating Access to an email account

GAT+ allows Admins to delegate access for a User account to another User for a certain period of hours. This may be for business purposes but it is also facilitates the fast search and viewing of all the account emails via another user’s browser.

BEFORE USING: Please ensure email delegation is allowed for users in your domain. Go to the G Suite Admin Console and under Apps > G Suite Apps > Settings for Gmail check if the email delegation box is allowed for your domain.

Launch the GAT+ tool, enter the User Audit section and click on the Email Info Tab.

In the Email Info Tab, select any user and click on the Actions button to add an email delegate to their account.

You have the ability to remove existing mail delegation which are already in place as well.

Here the Admin can select the account they wish to gain access to, then select the account they want to give this access to and finally select the number of hours they would like delegated access to be granted for. Once the request is sent, the Security Officer will still have to approve before the delegation is created.

Once granted the delegated account appears in the accounts drop down list when the profile picture is selected in Gmail.

The delegation will automatically be revoked after the requested time period.

Note: If during the period of delegation, the account under audit, logs into their Google account and goes to their email settings, then under ‘Accounts’ the account owner will see that the Admin has granted delegated access to the account.

In addition if the delegated user reads any unopened email in the audit account, this email will be marked as ‘read’.

Deleting Spam, Inappropriate or Accidental Emails

There are multiple reasons to have the ability to identify and remove emails which have been received by all or any of your domain users. Here are some unwanted scenarios:

  • An email is sent to the wrong user or group
  • An email contains inappropriate content
  • An email that contains sensitive information
  • An email which has gone pass spam filtering or is a phishing email.

GAT+ allows Admins to delete these emails from all accounts at once.

We recommend using ‘Gmail Search’ for tracking down these emails. It is a ‘real time’ search that is highly configurable (see ‘search tips’ link beside the search box). In the screenshot above we use the example search parameters

“SEO proposal” in:anywhere newer_than:180d”

This tells GAT+ to search in all folders, for all users and look for emails that contain the words “SEO proposal” which are also newer than 180 days. When the results come back, click on ‘Apply’.

Next, select the ‘Toggle Selectable’ button and select the emails you wish to view/download/delete.

Once the emails are selected, click on the ‘Access permissions granted’ button and send a request to your SO (security officer). Your SO will have to approve your request.

Before sending the request if you intend to delete the emails rather than just view or download them then check the ‘Request permission to remove’ box.

After doing that hit ‘send request’ and wait for approval to be returned from the Security Officer.

Once you have received an approval email, remember to refresh the list within the ‘Access permissions granted’ and click on the ‘Activate grant’ to display just your selected emails.

You can then delete one or all of the emails using the drop-down option in the Emails Operation button.

By default, you can send the emails to user’s trash folder on their Gmail but if you wish to permanently delete these emails then select ‘Delete permanently’.

In future when you search for these emails they will still be listed in our database but they will have a bin icon next to the subjects.

Pre-approved Access for Super Admins to all Emails

To enable pre-approval for Super Admins navigate to the Configuration section of GAT+ and enter the security officer area.

Once there click on the Pre-approved Tab and click on the plus icon “Add new pre-approved access”.

Your security officer will have to select you (super admin) to have pre-approval over users across your domain.

This is ideal for situations where Admins do not need to get constant approval to view/download or remove emails. An example would be in an education domain where the Super Admin would have full open access (view/download or remove emails) for all Student OU’s but would still have to get selective approval from the security officer to access an in the Staff or HR OU.

For a single OU level add a value like /Staff (Note, this will not grant access to the OU /Staff/IT unless “Sub Org. Units equals Yes!).

In the above screenshot I put Anna (Super Admin) to have pre-approved access to the entire domain by select / for the Org Unit and I made sure to cover all Sub-Org Units. / means the root User Org. Unit. She has access to remove and add email delegations as well because I enabled the last two option which are “Can remove?” and “Can add email delegation”.

The Admin should now see something like this when they click on ‘Access permissions granted’ in Email audit.

Every time admins enter the Email audit area they need to apply the Granted pre-approval privilege then carry out the search for the email(s) in question and next to each email there will be an action column visible.

Bulk Download or View Email Contents

The global live email search is under the ‘Gmail Search’ tab within email audit.

Here you can search for all the emails sent to or from a particular user on your domain. (You can also search for emails associated with groups or OUs of users.) The search can also take many flags, for example you could search for email sent to a particular user that was ‘Unread’, click on ‘Search tips’ to open a new page with all the flags you can use.

Because the entire domain is searched, it may take some time unless you narrow down the scope in which case I’m doing in the above screenshot. I narrowed down the search to a specific Google Group. The above example will look for all emails older than 1 day and that have been opened.

When the search is finished you can click on ‘Apply’ to see the table of the results.

When the results appear select some or all emails in the result table by using the ‘Toggle Selectable’ button then click on the Email Operation drop-down menu and click on ‘Access permissions granted’.

Click on ‘New Request’ to send this search to a Security Officer for their approval to allow you to read or download copies of these messages. Decide for how long you want to have access to these emails and enter a custom message to your Security Officer with your request.

The Security Officer will receive an email detailing the the access request being made. They can click on the link in the email to approve.

Once approved the Super Admin will receive an email in return notifying them of the SO decision.

It will look like this.

Once you receive this email, refresh the Current request list to see access grants that have been changed from pending to granted. These requests will now have a check mark beside them. Click on ‘Activate Grant’.

Each email can be read or downloaded individually by clicking on the Action button beside them.

To download all the emails select the ‘Toggle Selectable’ button and click on the top checkbox which will select every email within the result table. Right next to the ‘Toggle Selectable’ button click on ‘Email Operations’ drop-down menu and click on Download e-mails.

Downloading individual emails will occur almost instantaneously. Downloading all the emails takes some time. We have to retrieve the emails and add them to a zip as PDFs. Allow about 10 minutes for every 100mb of emails. To make it efficient we will create the download zip file on one of our servers and will create a link for you to bring down the zip to your own PC or server.

A password is generated and sent to your email address, use this password to be able to view the contents in the zip file because all of the PDFs will be password protected.

If the download is big, you can complete other audit tasks or grab a coffee. When you return to GAT+ go to the Admin Log in the Configuration section.

Non-Super Admin Auditors

This feature is ideal where Super Admins want to delegate the audit function to local managers or regional security personnel. GAT+ allows anyone to audit any range of users based on the model of Google Groups, Google Classrooms, and Org Units. It does not require passing on Google Admin authority. Selected auditors can have audit rights over individual users, Google Groups or Org Units. This allows you to have multiple auditors for a specified scope.

Auditors will have access to the auditing areas of GAT+ but will not have access to the Configuration sections.

To learn more visit our knowledge base and read the following article ‘Create Delegated Auditors within GAT+’.

How to Track Visitors and Editors

First, we have to find the file we would like to check the events for.

Finding the file can be as easy as opening the Drive Audit, then “Apply Custom Filter” search option which will allow us to search using various different search parameters.

For our example case here:
We select simple filter and just search for the File ID equals to: 1gOUqfrOmAQxULze

(Read this post to learn how to extract “File ID”)

After we find the file extracting the historical actions performed on the document, can be achieved as simple as selecting on the file and showing the events.

The result will display all events – view/edit/changed visibility actions occurred on the file.

You can also generate a report, to show new events associated to the file. It can be scheduled weekly and managers can be notified via email notifications.

Screenshot below will display the events of viewed and edit for certain file, and report will be generated weekly based on the date parameter we set up.

In this example, a weekly report will be generated showing events types View and Edit to this particular file.

It will run every weekend and date will be changed automatically to show us only the new information.

Report on the Active Count of 2FA codes

GAT+ can report on the active count of 2FA codes within the security tab of User Audit. This reflects the active number of 2FA codes which are available for each user.

In the Configuration section under Alarms, create an alarm for 2FA codes being used by your users. In the example below any 2FA codes being used by users from /Marketing OU will trigger an alarm to the super admin.

How to a Create a Report of End Users Documents They Own

In this usage case, GAT allows domain admins to prepare a report that is sent to each user, showing the files that they own as a spreadsheet attachment.

The report can be prepared around several different user sets, depending on the scope the admin wishes to give to the report.

Select the Drive feature

First, we select Drive Audit then we apply a custom filter and search for files owned by our domain.

Select the filter

We simply search for files where the owner is our domain.

Select apply

Once we find all files owned by our domain, we can click the Apply button and this will run the search.

Click on the Files Operations button and select Remove Permissions. Remove Permissions has a feature to notify the owners of the files in this search result and provide them with a spreadsheet of all the files they own.

Click on the Files Operations button and select Remove Permissions.

Select 'scan' in the multi permission change tab

In the Permission change option select “Report onlythis will ensure no actions are happening on the selected search.

Add a message of your choice.

Key terms to know about when creating a custom message:

{{RECIPIENT}} – recipients full name
{{RECIPIENT.FIRSTNAME}} – recipient first name,
{{RECIPIENT.LASTNAME}} – recipient surname,
{{RECIPIENT.EMAIL}} – recipient email.

{{FILES}} – Displays in the email the files in question with a URL link.

This is the message the end user will see. The email will show him all of the files he/she owns.

This is the message the end user will see. The email will show him all of the files he/she owns.

Clicking on the ‘View files’ button at the bottom will open a Google Spreadsheet for the user.

How to Find the Space Used on Google Drive

In this post, you will learn how to find used space on your Google Drive.

Using GAT, enter the User Audit, then select “Quota” from the top bar.

Select 'Users'

It will display Quota available for all the users in your domain

It will display Quota available for all the users in your domain

It shows all the users and their Google account usage.

    • Quota available for individual users
    • Quota used out of the availability
    • Quota used for Drive only
    • Quota used for GMail only
  • Quota used for Photos only

Remember you can use “Apply custom filter” to narrow the search down to find individual users, groups, organizational units and so on. Reports can also be generated based on the usage by individual users/groups.

How to Find if the Contents of a Folder Changed

Here is a frequent question we get from our G Suite super admins who use GAT+.

‘I want to know when the contents of a folder change?’ In GAT+ we can automate and set up a scheduled report to give us this information.

Go to Drive Audit, Search for the folder you are interested in using the Apply custom filters button.

"Drive" audit section

Select this filter

Select the following search parameters:

    • Make the type of the search equal to a ‘Title / Description Search’
    • Enter the title of the folder into the Terms field.
  • In the Definition area, select the search parameter Type equal Folder and also Owner equal to user’s email address.

"filers filters" section

Once the folder appears in the Drive result table. Click on the drop-down menu next to the title of the folder. Select the option to ‘Show contents of this folder and its subfolders’. Selecting this option will expand the folder completely open and all files within its folder tree will be displayed.

Select the option to ‘Show contents of this folder and its subfolders’.

Now a search will start. You can refresh the screen to see if the search is complete. Once its done, Apply the filter.

"long search" filter

Once we access the content of the folder we can make another search to find files which have been updated since yesterday. The reason why we are looking back a single day is that we want to create a scheduled report which runs daily and shows us files which have been updated in this folder, this report will run automatically each day and it will update the dates selected and increment it to reflect the new day.

Select filter

Underneath the Long Search ID parameter, add another rule called Updated after or equal yesterday’s date. The select the option ‘Scheduled’.

Underneath the Long Search ID parameter, add another rule called Updated after or equal yesterday’s date. The select the option ‘Scheduled’.

select "apply & schedule"

The report will be shared with you via email with a Google spreadsheet attached.

If this receives 0 results in the spreadsheet it just means nothing changed in that folder since the previous day.

Remove Everyone as an Editor

Removing Everyone as an Editor (where ‘Everyone’ means the whole world).

Many users are not used to the concept of external sharing, sometimes they may share a file to ‘Everyone’ with edit privileges.

Using the G Suite Admin Console finding these files which have ‘Everyone’ as editors is an impossible task, with GAT+ this is made easy.

Note: Sometimes there may be a legitimate reason to have ‘Everyone’ as a viewer, but there are very few circumstances where a company document should have everyone in the world as an editor!

Launch GAT+ and enter Drive Audit. Click on the familiar custom filters button.

Select 'apply custom filter'

When the menu appears, select the following search parameters:

    • Editors contains (exact match) everyone
  • Sharing Flags contains Shared in

select desired edits and apply

Now I can see all of the files which have everyone as editors! So I will now remove these permissions. Click on the File Operations button and select ‘Remove permissions’.

select ‘Remove permissions’.

In the menu that appears select the following configurations:

Enter the key term everyone in the field “Remove Only the following External Shares”. And notify the owners which were affected.

'multi permission change' (for filter selection)

How to Create a Report About Devices Not Synced Within the Last 30 days

This report will show us which mobile devices are no longer synced with our domain.

The report will produce a list of mobile devices which have not synced in over 30 days.

On the GAT Home page, select “Mobile Devices”  

select 'mobile devices'

On the top right-hand side of the screen, click on the familiar ‘Apply custom filter’ button.

click on the ‘Apply custom filter’ button.

We select “Last sync” before or equal to the 1st day of the last month.
Schedule the report to run monthly.
The example above shows us a report for all devices that have “Last synced” more than a month ago.
GAT+ will automatically change the date on the next scan next month and every report will give you data for the previous month.

Ways for GAT to Search for Two or More Users at Once

Examples of the different types of searches GAT can perform. Learn to get more out of GAT.

The Regular Expression Method

Select 'users'

select filter


Using Drive method

Click on 'drive'

Select filter

Note in this last example, you are searching for the more generic match of all docs in the accounts of the ‘Users’ in the group rather than the docs owned by ‘Owners’ (this wider search includes public documents which the ‘Users’ in the group may have viewed).

Delegate one email account to another indefinitely with GAT+

With GAT+ Super Admins and Delegated Auditors can give a user access into another user’s Gmail account indefinitely.

By default Admins could delegate for any number of hours and GAT+ would automatically remove the delegation when the time was up (saves Admins having to remember to go back and remove it). Now, by using 0 hours, Admins have the option to delegate permanently.

Launch GAT+ and enter the User Audit section.

select 'users'

Click on the Email Info tab. Search for the user whose Gmail account will be delegated to someone else, click on the drop-down menu and select ‘Add e-mail delegation’.

When the menu appears, enter the user who will gain access. Leave the number of hours as 0.

select 'confirm'

A request will be sent to your security officer for approval, once approved the delegation will be set.

The delegated account appears in the accounts drop-down list in the user’s own Gmail account. This can take several minutes and may require a refresh. The user accessing the delegated account will have to log out and log back in again for the delegated account to appear.

The user accessing the delegated account will have to log out and log back in again for the delegated account to appear.

In addition, if the delegated user reads any unopened email in the audit account, this email will be marked as ‘read’.