Make Files More Secure with Drive Sharing Settings
Updated: Mar 22
In the workplace, very few of us work alone. Whether we collaborate on a document or need approval on work we've done, we are constantly sharing our work via the cloud.
In the last few years, cybersecurity companies have pointed out that sharing documents incorrectly on the web poses a security risk. But before you go looking through web documents you've shared for over 10+ years, sit down and take a breath. Even though the number of files shared may be overwhelming, (like thousands of documents overwhelming), there is a solution!
Going back through your documents and changing sharing settings sounds like a nightmare. It is. Thankfully there are tools that can help you make changes in bulk. We recommend General Audit Tool but there are a few others in the ecosystem.
But even if you fix settings going back, you're still left with the question of what you do going forward. Because you still need to share all those documents with your co-worker and that other presentation with your client. So, do you now have to set aside time once a year to change the sharing settings on all your documents and do this over and over again, until the end of time? NO, you don't!
You don't have to manually change these sharing settings ever again going forward because Google allows you to share documents with an expiration date - and it's all done with one click. Isn't that great? If your project document only needs to be available for a month, anyone not actively involved in the content creation only gets access to the document for one month. If your boss needs to approve a proposal before it's sent to a client, they only get access to it for a few weeks. And it's not about trusting your coworkers -- you can always extend the access if they need more time. It's about what happens to those documents after people have forgotten about them. They might be downloaded on people's home computer. They may lose their mobile device. Their data may get compromised.
Setting the expiration date in a Google document is fairly easy. After clicking the Share button, select the level of access. Then click on Add expiration.
The default expiration date is one month from the date you share the file but you can change the date. Expiration dates allow you to have more control over your files. It's a good practice.
It may take some time to reset your brain and change your habit of simply "sharing" the file. Make sure to let your "people" know this option exists and the importance of being mindful with your sharing habits. In a world where many people overshare, learning to "under"share your files is good thing. You can get the word out by asking IT staff to send out an email letting people know that setting expiration dates on sharing settings is a great way to minimize security risk, which helps the entire company. So no hard feelings if your access expires. And no more changing sharing settings in bulk thanks to a little extra work upfront. If you still need the extra backup (and we surely recommend it), GAT+ and GAT Audit Tool will work for you. Learn about their options here and let us set up a demo for you.
This expiration feature is available to Google Workspace Business Standard, Business Plus, Enterprise Essentials, Enterprise Standard, Enterprise Plus, Education Plus, Education Standard, and Nonprofits customers.
Learn more about how to turn on sharing setting expiration dates here.
Blanca E. Duarte, Chief Enablement Officer, LogicWing