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Which Chrome browser management settings should IT deploy?

Organizations that allow the use of Google Chrome should ensure that their IT departments understand the different settings that shape Chrome browser management practices.

The Google Chrome browser supports over 200 settings, and you as an IT admin should learn how to choose the appropriate option for each setting to improve UX while maintaining security and visibility.

There is no universal configuration that every organization should use for its Chrome browser management settings, so you should evaluate each setting. You should consider what value it could add and what issues it could cause before you configure users' browsers.

For example, Chrome includes several settings that control how the browser installs updates. One setting turns on automatic updates, which Google recommends that you enable, but you can also schedule the updates outside of work hours or stagger them to reduce burden on the network.

Additionally, if Chrome updates could cause compatibility issues or you want to push updates manually to client devices, you should not enable auto-updates, despite Google's recommendation. The best Chrome browser management practices all depends on your particular circumstances.

Settings to know for optimal Chrome Browser management

One approach you can take when configuring browser settings for Chrome is to break them into logical categories. For example, you could create categories for basic browser settings, user controls, security and access controls, and browser extensions. From there it will be easier to evaluate the settings within a group to determine which ones to configure and how to configure them.

The basic browser settings category includes configurations applicable to the browser's day-to-day operations. For example, you can specify the directories used for disk caching, file downloads or user-specific data. You can also specify the disk cache size, set the browser's homepage and enable roaming profiles, depending on your organization's requirements.

One approach you can take when configuring browser settings for Chrome is to break them into logical categories.

The user controls category includes settings for managing user-related actions, such as whether users can print from the browser and, if so, the default printer. On the other hand, if you manage a set of desktops used as kiosks, you may want to disable printing altogether. You can also block third-party cookies, permit media autoplay, enable shared clipboard features and allow or prohibit users to delete their browser histories.

The next category, security and access controls, is perhaps the most important category to keep a close eye on because it's easy to encounter malware on a web browser. You can enable Safe Browsing to prevent users from downloading potentially harmful files. In addition, you can whitelist specific domains for use within Safe Browsing or enable Safe Browsing extended reporting.

The security category of Chrome browser management settings also includes settings for blacklisting and whitelisting websites, enabling or disabling usage statistics and crash reports, controlling the browser's sign-in behavior, and enabling Site Isolation, which separates pages from different websites into their own processes.

Browser extensions are also a crucial category to focus on because users could unwittingly add harmful extensions to their browser. To address this, you can blacklist or whitelist extensions, or set the types of extensions that users can install in their browsers. You can also specify which extensions should be added to Chrome automatically and tailor the extensions to specific departments or teams.

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