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Google Security and Permissions
Summary of Essential Steps to Sharing and Securing your Content in Google Apps
Google Apps include some great collaborative tools. In fact, this content was created and published in Google Sites. Why? Because the security of this content is not all that crucial. But, be warned. Truly sensitive documents and data probably shouldn’t be stored, viewed, shared or edited in Google Docs or on any third-party server. (Don't store DCL4 level data there (Examples: SSN/Credit Card numbers/Etc.)
When you are ready to share your content through Google Apps here are a few things you need to know:
- Two ways to share
- Share individual file, site, etc.
- Create a file in or move a file to a shared folder (when applicable)
- Sharing options
- Share with individual users (specific people)
- Share with a Google Group
- Share via link (not secure)
- Tips, tricks, and warnings
- It is easy to accidentally turn on link sharing: Clicking the "Get shareable link" button will automatically turn link sharing on
- Shared folders can save time and effort. Read up on the ins and outs below
- Some experts say that Google Drive files aren't entirely secure. While Google services do use an encrypted connection safe enough for general use, files containing critical security data should not be uploaded
I see anonymous animals viewing or editing my documents! What is that?
You may see a name you don’t recognize or anonymous animals in your file when you choose the sharing settings “Public on the web” or “Anyone with the link.”
Here are a few reasons why you might see a name you don’t recognize in your file:
- Your file is not requiring users to be signed in within the mst.edu domain
- Your file is shared with a mailing list.
- Your file is shared with someone who doesn’t have a Google Account, and that person forwarded the sharing invitation with someone else.
- Someone who can edit your file shared it with other people.
- Someone changed their Google Account name. On the sharing settings page, hover over their name to see their email address.
For more information, see Google's related help topic: Unrecognized or Anonymous Users in a File.
Change your sharing settings
You can choose how visible your files and folders are, as well as what others can do with these files and folders, when you share in Google Drive, Docs, Sheets, and Slides.
Choose how visible to make your file or folder
You can control how visible your files are to other people, from keeping files completely private to allowing anyone on the web to see them.
To choose who can see your file or folder:
- Sign in to Drive or a Docs, Sheets, or Slides home screen.
- Open the file or folder.
- Click Share for files or the share icon for folders in the top-right corner of the screen .
- Click the dropdown menu below "Link sharing on" in the sharing box.
- Select a link sharing option. To see a full list of options, click More. These options include:
|Link sharing option||Definition||Sign-in to a Google Account required?|
|Specific people||You are the only person who can access the file or folder until you share it with specific people or groups||Yes (to edit or comment) |
|Anyone with the link||Anyone who is given the link to the file or folder can access it||No|
|Public on the web||Anyone can access the file or folder on the Internet through search results or the web address||No|
- If you picked “Anyone with the link” or “Public on the web”, click the drop-down arrow next to “Access” to choose whether users have permission to view, comment, or edit the file or folder if they open it. Then click Save.
- Click Done.
Choose what others can do with your file or folder
When you share a file or folder with other people, you have the choice to give them viewing and editing access, as well as ownership of the file. While not applicable to folders, you can also give commenting access to files in order to get feedback from the people you're sharing with. You can change this access at any time.
Here’s what people can do in a file or folder as a viewer, commenter, editor, or owner:
| ||Can view||Can comment||Can edit||Is owner|
|View files and folders||x||x||x||x|
|Download or sync files to another device||x||x||x||x|
|Make a copy of files to save in Google Drive||x||x||x||x|
|Comment and suggest edits in files|| ||x||x||x|
|Edit documents, spreadsheets, presentations, and drawings|| || ||x||x|
|Share or unshare files with others|| || ||x||x|
|Add or remove files from a folder|| || ||x||x|
|Upload and delete file versions|| || ||x||x|
|Delete files and folders|| || || ||x|
|Transfer ownership of files and folders to others|| || || ||x|
Change what others can do with your file
After you’ve shared a file with others, you can change the type of access specific people or groups can have.
- Open the file.
- Click Share in the top-right corner.
- Click Advanced in the bottom-right corner of the sharing box.
- Using the dropdown menu next to the user’s name, select the type of access you want them to have.
- Click Done.
Remove sharing privileges
If you are the owner of a file or folder, you can choose to remove editors’ ability to share files with others in Google Drive, Docs, Sheets, and Slides. This allows you to control everyone who is able to view or edit the file or folder.
Using Shared Folders
Can I share entire folders in Google Drive? What is the benefit?
Sharing folders in Google Drive can automate processes and save you time. It also facilitates collaboration and keeps files neatly organized.
When you share a folder with specific people the folder becomes available to be accessed by them. The content currently in the folder also inherits the permission settings of the parent folder one time. This means that permission settings of items inside the folder can be altered and will not automatically be set back to the settings of the folder. This is useful for sharing particular folders and/or files with specific member(s) of a team while keeping the files organized within a project/team folder.
How does permission inheritance work?
- Changes made to the permissions of a folder updates the permissions of all the files/folders in a folder, but add/remove/modify only the permissions that were just changed
- Changes made to the permissions of a file/folder inside of a shared folder will not automatically return to that of the shared folder even after the parent folder's permissions were modified (except for the specific changes modified at that time)
- files/folders moved into a shared folder will immediately inherit the permission settings of the parent folder
Can I share folders with members of Google Groups?
Yes! In fact you can use a mix of individual users and Google Groups to share folders and their content.