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Make Files More Secure with Google Drive Sharing Settings

Illustration of two co-workers working at a computer


Our Solution to Changing Google Drive Sharing Settings Retroactively


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 all of the web documents you've shared over the last 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. And it is. Thankfully, there are tools that can help you make changes in bulk. We recommend our partner, General Audit Tool (GAT), but there are other tools you can use too.


GAT is an application that provides audit and security tools for Google Workspace users. GAT allows you to easily review and change the permissions of your documents at any time using their security features.


At LogicWing, we use GAT to view the permissions of all our Google Drive files and see who was the last person to make a change to a document. If we don’t want someone to have access to a document anymore or want to change access permissions for the whole document, then we can do that right through the GAT website.

 

How to Share Google Drive Files More Securely Going Forward


Even if you fix settings retroactively, you're still left with the question of what to do going forward - you still need to share all those documents with your co-worker and that presentation with your client. So, do you have to now 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 going forward because Google allows you to share documents with an expiration date - and it's all done with one click.

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 not 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. The documents might be downloaded on a coworker's home computer or mobile device which may then be lost or have its data compromised. No one wants that.


 

How to Set an Expiration Date on a Shared Google Doc


Setting the expiration date in a Google Doc 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 and it's a good practice to get in the habit of doing.

Screenshot of the "Add expiration" button in Google Drive

It may take some time to reset your brain and change your habit of simply "sharing" the file. Make sure to let your coworkers know this option exists and about the importance of being mindful with your sharing habits. In a world where many people overshare, learning to "undershare" your files is good thing.


You can get the word out by asking IT staff to send 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 definitely recommend it), GAT+ and GAT Audit Tool will work for you. Schedule a free call with us to learn more about GAT and we can demo the product 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.


 

You can learn more about GAT and our other services by scheduling a free consultation call with us.


We also sell Google Workspace licenses, offer consulting to help you transform your workplace, and can help you manage your Google Workspace accounts with our Managed Services.

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