Google gives people who use G Suite Business, Enterprise, Education, or Nonprofit editions two distinct varieties of Google Drive storage: My Drive and Team Drives. Both work as a reliable location to store, organize, and share files. Yet, there’s one major difference between the two: When you add a file to a Team Drive, all people in the Team Drive get access to the file, however when you add a file to My Drive, your file remains private by default.
Google also gives G Suite administrators the opportunity to adjust the default file access and sharing settings for Google Drive and Team Drives. Most G Suite administrators review and configure Google Drive settings during the initial G Suite deployment, but Google recently added more settings in mid-2018 to help secure Team Drive data.
Review the following settings to control, protect, and monitor your organization’s Team Drives. You’ll need to have a G Suite administrator account for your business to get into Admin console settings.
Manage Team Drives – n many cases, your organization’s default Google Drive sharing settings also function as the default Team Drive sharing settings. Sign in the G Suite admin console (at admin.google.com), then navigate to Apps > G Suite > Drive and Docs > Sharing Settings. Review these setting to make sure that external sharing is either allowed or restricted appropriately.
Immediately beneath the Sharing settings section, you’ll see Team Drive creation controls. Each of these five options prevents another action. Any selection made here pertains to ALL of the organization’s Team Drives. For instance, a G Suite administrator at an organization especially concerned with security could select all five of these options, which will lead to cloud sync access being restricted solely to people inside an organization, along with only members of a Team Drive having the ability to access files on that Team Drive. This kind of configuration would also constrain downloading, copying, and printing of files through the Team Drive.
A more frequently-used configuration may be to check just the “Prevent full-access members from modifying Team Drive settings” option. This helps to ensure that a G Suite administrator can make the sharing, membership, and content action options allowed (i.e., access to download, copy, or print) for each Team Drive, without the risk that a full-access member might modify these settings.
Screenshot of G Suite Admin console Manage Team Drives options (with sharing, membership, and content action options shown)
Review and manage Team Drive sharing and content action settings for any organization’s Team Drives.
Protect Team Drive content – A G Suite administrator might also review and adjust membership, sharing, and content action settings for many Team Drives. Again, login towards the Admin console (admin.google.com), then navigate to Apps > G Suite > Drive and Docs > Team Drive > Manage Team Drives.
Screenshots of Team Drive sharing options – left shows items not able to be modified; right show items able to be changed.
A G Suite administrator can restrict many Team Drive sharing, membership, and content actions (as shown on the left). More permissive options allow Team Drive members to talk about externally, add members, or copy, download, and baysuv files (as shown on the right).
Since these settings affect each Team Drive, you can configure very flexible and open options that enable external sharing and content actions for many Team Drives, as well as choosing much more locked-down options that prohibit external sharing and content actions for other Team Drives.
Importantly, provided that a G Suite administrator doesn’t prohibit it, people in a Team Drive that have full-access permissions may adjust Team Drive settings.
Monitor Team Drive changes – G Suite also gives administrators the ability to review Team Drive changes. Sign in the Admin console, then go to Reports > Audit > Drive > then look for the Item Type filter (in the column on the left) and choose “Team Drive” through the options. Proceed to the bottom with this column, then select “Search” to apply the filter. You’ll then see a report of all Team Drive administrative activity for your organization.
You could add additional filters to this report, too. As an example, in addition to selecting “Team Drive” items, you might also try to find the “Item Visibility Change” option, and judge “Internal to External,” then select Search. This displays a written report of Team Drive items now available to people outside the organization, which were previously only accessible internally.
Your thoughts on Team Drive? If you utilize Team Drives for files at your organization, what settings can you use most often? If you’re a G Suite administrator, have you restricted any Team Drive settings – or do you allow most actions?