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I have been looking at ways of essentially having a domain environment for an office of about 15 Macs which can be used to enforce password changes, a minimum level of password strength and even encryption of the user directories etc.

Ideally this would be something that could integrate with Google Apps. I have looked everywhere but don't see any simple solutions that could achieve this. Would appreciate any advice as to what the best options might be.

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Have you already seen OS X Server's documentation about User Management, Open Directory Authentication and Security (including encryption of home folders)? – slhck May 25 '11 at 8:46
Do you have any sort of existing directory services? Active Directory for example? – Kirk Jun 5 '11 at 15:31

There are two very easy ways to accomplish this, but none rely or integrate with Google Apps (AFAIK).

  1. Set up Active Directory or Open Directory and bind the client macs to the server and enforce these policies using Workgroup Manager through the server.
  2. Install a local profile (craft it with Workgroup Manager, and make it a Launch Daemon with Lingon, deploy using ssh) on each managed Mac.

If you are at 10.6.8 - you can grab the latest version of Workgroup Manager here.

Apple has an amazing tutorial at their seminars site as well as a polished white paper. I would start there and only build out a directory when you feel local management is costing you more time than setting up the server will be. In my view, the sweet spot to needing a server gets crossed somewhere around 50 clients as local manangement is so easy with ssh or Remote Desktop.

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