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Drive for Storage Best Practices

Google Drive is the combination of cloud based file storage and native Google document editors that allows users to access their files over the web and collaborate with one another in a centralized location.

Drive for Storage Best Practices

Introduction

Google Drive is the combination of cloud-based file storage and native Google document editors that allows users to access their files over the web and collaborate with one another in a centralized location. The user will leverage the G Suite Admin Console, the end user Drive web interface, and the locally installed Drive sync client to implement the primary use cases that Drive can facilitate. The scope of these use cases covers Drive as a storage solution, and NOT the individual Google Docs editors themselves.

The G Suite platform offers a number of options to deploy Drive for Storage within your Organisation. This will help to understand the key use case scenarios related to this topic, and detail the considerations and watchpoints for each option/approach. After reading this article you will have sufficient information to make a decision on how your Organization should manage Google Drive for Storage on the G Suite platform.

Key Terms

The key elements/terms that form the basis of this decision are listed below along with a full description. The following terminology will be referenced throughout this document:


G Suite Account


A unified sign-in system that provides access to the G Suite product suite managed by our Organization. Administration of the account is maintained through the Admin console which is accessed via a unique URL. Each customer account is assigned a unique Customer Support PIN.


User Account

Before an individual can log in and access products within the Gsuite, they need to have a G Suite User Account. The email address used when provisioning the User Account will be used as the login for the User Account. This address is referred to as the User's primary email address. By default, each user account is provided with 30GB of unified storage space in Drive.


User Level Storage


Any file that you sync or upload to drive.google.com counts toward your storage limit, unless you’re syncing down a file that someone else owns. Storage is only consumed by the user that owns a file.


While you may have many files, folders, and Google Docs in your Google Drive, only items that you've synced or uploaded use storage space.


Items that don't count toward your storage limit

  • Google Docs (Google documents, spreadsheets, presentations, drawings, etc.)

  • Files that others have shared with you


Items that do count toward your storage limit

  • uploaded binary (e.g. pdf, exe, zip)  files

  • synced binary files

  • binary files in your trash (empty trash to reclaim space)


Google Documents

The suite of web-based applications including Docs, Sheets, Slides, Forms, and Drawings, that work with Drive and provide a collaborative environment for users to work together within documents in real time. These documents do not consume any storage space on Drive.


Docs

A web-based text document editor.


Sheets

A web-based spreadsheet document editor.


Slides

A web-based presentation document editor.


Forms

A web-based survey creation, distribution and results collection tool.


Drawings

A web-based graphic, visual object and diagram creation tool.


Drive Sync Client

A file synchronization tool that is locally downloaded and installed on users’ desktops. It allows users to edit files that are used by installed desktop applications and seamlessly sync them to Drive in the cloud.


Google Drive on the Web

The primary web interface for managing, organizing and searching for files and Google documents stored in Drive.


File

Any uploaded or synced file that is stored in Drive and is not a Google document type. This consumes storage on a user’s Drive.



File Share

A centrally managed set of folders and files that are organized and shared for use across multiple users, usually those that work together on teams.


Google Groups

A service in Google Apps for creating distribution lists that can be used to manage permissions and access to documents in Drive.

Option 1: Personal Cloud Storage from Anywhere

Description

Individually allocated online storage for personal files and documents, where users leverage the Drive web UI, the locally installed Google_Drive_Sync_Client, their mobile devices/tablets, and the Google document editors/apps to manage, edit, share and sync their files. Users start with 30 GB of unified storage space or unlimited unified storage space if they have purchased Apps Unlimited.


Configuration

  • Log in as Admin and:

    • Enable Sync Client access

      • Turn setting on in the Admin Console

      • Prepare MSI for deployment (unless users are individually installing it)

Deployment

  • Install Sync Client

    • Centrally via MSI and turn on the setting to ”Allow use of Google Drive for Mac/PC, but hide the download links in the Drive interface”, or

    • provide users with link to install themselves

  • Communications

    • email communications

    • Intranet announcements

    • newsletters

  • Training

    • online help center

    • webinars

Usage

  • Users use the sync client to upload any local files that they use with an installed application (Eg. MS Office, Adobe Acrobat)

  • Once the sync is complete, files stored on users’ PCs or Macs can be edited locally on the desktop and are automatically updated in Drive via an ongoing synchronization mechanism

  • Google documents that appear in local Drive folders cannot be viewed or edited locally. Users will be directed to a browser window where these documents will open

  • Using the Drive mobile client available on Android and iOS, users can access and edit a number of different Google document types anywhere, anytime and on any device, even if using a mobile browser

  • Users can share and collaborate with their peers, but they remain owners and managers of the content they create and upload

  • Google documents do not consume storage space, so there is no limit to the number that can be created

  • Search is the optimal method for retrieving files, though they can also be organized and found in folders.

Maintenance

  • Admins can see how much storage is consumed on a user by user basis.

  • Users can also monitor their storage consumption and notify their IT organization if they need more space.

Option 2: Team or Project Based File Share

Description

Centrally allocated storage that small to medium-sized teams can use to organize, share and collaborate using files and documents that the author and/or review together.


Configuration

  • Log into Drive as the designated manager and do the following:

    • Create a folder

    • Enter the name for your folder using a name that will be easy for your team to identify (for example, ‘Marketing Files’).

    • Access the Sharing settings for the folder

    • Add the Marketing team members and make everyone an editor.

    • At the bottom of the sharing dialogue change, Editors will be allowed to add people and change the permissions to Only the owner can change the permissions. This will ensure that only specified team members can access this folder.
      Note: Using a service account will require the purchase of an additional user license.


Deployment

  • Readiness

    • Get team set up

    • Provide a link to team folder via the Sharing dialogue or via a hyperlink to the folder

    • Make sure users drag the team folder to their My Drive

  • Communications

    • email communications

    • Intranet announcements

    • newsletters

  • Training

    • online help center

    • customized training

    • webinar


Usage

  • A team has a folder in Drive (shared with me) that is owned by a service/team account (non-human user) and is used to store and share team files and documents

  • The team has access to the folder in Drive because it was shared via the service account and added to each user’s My Drive, as noted earlier

  • When someone on the team wants to share something, they upload the file(s) to Drive using the Google Drive Upload dialog, which initially makes them the owner of those files and consumes their own storage quota (30GB unified storage, the default). But to use the storage on the service account and make the files available to the rest of her team, they need to transfer ownership of the files to the service account and move them to the team folder.


Maintenance

  • A manager or person responsible for the service account will make sure folder structure and contents are correct, and check to see how much storage is used over time

  • That same person should periodically check to make sure team members are transferring ownership of their files to this designated account, otherwise, storage space will be consumed by users individually instead of by the service account


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