Team Drives – Fight Against Shared Data LossSyah Ismail
Just recently Google has launched a multitude of new Drive features and tools and expanded Google Cloud Platform security features with one ultimate aim — to provide a raft of improved services and features for enterprises and their users. Unlike other tech companies, Google constantly looks for ways to improve its system and expanding its range for the benefit of users instead of pushing aggressive marketing strategies to upsell their products.
The latest update primarily aims to facilitate enterprises with premium security and maximum document control by focusing to “ensure the Drive addresses the unique needs of our enterprise customers, like compliance, data security, and file ownership when teams change” writes Prabhakar Raghavan, the Vice President of Apps for Google Cloud.
Introducing *Drum-Roll* Team Drives
Google Drive’s seamless collaboration is widely known in assisting businesses, corporations and institutions of all sizes to safely store, sync and share their files across all departments. At its recent enterprise-focused Cloud Next Conference, Google announced a set of changes that will make the Drive more palatable for enterprises — and potentially more interesting for regular consumers as well, known as the Team Drives. The Youtube video above demonstrates how Team Drives will persistently aid enterprises in achieving optimal collaboration, top-notch security and most importantly, prime document control.
“As larger companies move to the cloud, there’s more to think about — like the risk of data breaches, bumpy migrations, and compatibility with legacy tools”, said Google Product Manager Alex Vogenthaler.
What is Team Drives?
So what is exactly Team Drives? Team Drives is a new feature within the most utilized, renowned Google Drive. This feature provides shared storage where teams can create, share, store, and collaborate more efficiently on cloud. Team Drives is sectioned within the Google Drive’s interface and applicable for all G Suite Business’s customers, available for anyone within the domain — individuals and Google Groups are included and can be added to a Team Drive. Additionally, any individuals in the domain can create a Team Drive of their own.
**The Team Drives is available through Early Adopter Program and only open to G Suite Business and G Suite Education customers. G Suite admins may apply with their primary domain on behalf of their organizations.
The Benefits of Team Drives
One of the most asked questions is that how does Team Drives different than the normal Google Drive? Once Team Drive is created, any files within the Drive can be viewed or edited depending on managed access by anyone within the team. If any of the team members leave, files are kept safe and secure in the drive as the files belong to the team and not individually owned. In short, this means no one is necessarily the sole owner of the drive.
Each and every Team Drive can have different members and permissions and has its own theme too. Note that all files and folders stored in a Team Drive are displayed just like those in the Google Drive. New files can also be created or uploaded straight into a Team Drive and existing files can be moved easily into it.
But How Team Drives is Different than Shared Folders?
On the surface, Team Drives function similarly to the existing shared folders in Google Drive. However, the thoughtful engineers of Google have included two additional features that subsequently solve one of G Suite’s biggest problem — shared data loss.
Team Drives Enhanced Access Permissions
There are four levels of access permissions for Team Drives.
View Only: Members can only view files and folders within the Team Drive. This is equivalent to the ‘Can view’ sharing setting in the rest of Google Drive.
Comment Access: Members can comment on files (or use suggested changes where available). This is equivalent to the ‘Can comment’ sharing settings in the rest of Google Drive.
Edit Access (NEW): Members can create, upload and edit files. However, they cannot delete files, move files or change membership settings. This is different to the ‘Can edit’ sharing settings in the rest of Google Drive, as that setting does allow file deletion, file moving and sharing changes. This new Team Drives setting prevents users from causing data loss by deleting or moving shared files or folders.
Full Access: Members can create, upload, edit, move and delete files. They can also manage membership settings. This is equivalent to the ‘Can edit’ sharing settings in the rest of Google Drive.
The Team Drive membership permission interface is shown below.
**Users who do not have ‘Full access’ will see an error message if they attempt to move a file.
Team-based Data Ownership
Unlike traditional Google Drive shared folders, files and folders in a Team Drive are not owned by an individual user. Instead, they are owned by the team itself. This eliminates the issue of data being lost when a former employee’s account is deleted.
How to use Team Drives to Prevent Shared Data Loss?
The growing concerns for organizations and enterprises utilizing the Drive shared folder have always been the risk of data loss or access permission changes. There are two things admins can do to eliminate these concerns:
1. Consider moving your existing project, faculty, department or organisation-wide shared folder structures into Team Drives.
Once the Team Drives feature is released fully, organizations should consider turning any large existing shared folder structures into Team Drives. This should be as simple as creating a set of appropriate Team Drives, assigning membership permissions and moving in shared content. However, admin should first ensure that all the features the organization requires are available in Team Drives*.
*For example, Drive for PC/Mac syncing, Google Vault integration, cross-domain sharing, and administrator recovery tools are not available in the Early Adopter release. These features are likely to be made available in future.
2. Use the ‘Full access’ membership setting with caution
To minimize data access loss from file deletion or moving, use the ‘Full Access’ membership permission sparingly. This is particularly relevant if the organization is new to Google Drive and users are not yet familiar with the consequences of moving or deleting shared data. Giving only selected people ‘Full Access’ permissions reduces the likelihood of data be mistakenly deleted or removed from the Team Drive. However, be mindful that Team Drive members with ‘Edit access’ will not be able to move files between folders, which could be frustrating if they create a file in the wrong location.
Experienced Google Partner in Singapore
From the various useful new features aforementioned, organizations can rest assured that Team Drives bring forth an excellent solution for projects implementation in faculty, department, or organization-wide shared drive structure. It is important that organization provides comprehensive training around its use. If you would like PointStar to assist you with planning a Team Drives implementation or training, feel free to talk to our Google Cloud experts. Our team is certified as a Practising Management Consultant (PMC) and works with numerous Singapore Government agencies such as SPRING, IE Singapore and IMDA amongst others to help ‘digitally transform’ Singapore-based business to be more ready for the future through the cloud platform.