Google Shared Drive


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This article to document the best way to set up Google Shared Drive with regards to Departmental Use.


Google Shared Drive is meant to be a group Cloud Sharing Experience, where someone can create a Shared Drive to share with a group of members.

Normally, when something is shared from Google Drive, it is often just a specific folder, which is associated with the user who created the share.

But with GSuite, if the user were to leave and their GSuite account gets closed down, any shares made from their Google Drive will no longer be available for people to work from, even though other people contributed to that share.

So Google Shared Drive comes into play for GSuite.

Google Shared Drive allows the creation of a Cloud Share Drive with members having access to it.

No one member 'owns' the Shared Drive, so if one of the members leaves, the Shared Drive members still have access to the data in the Shared Drive.

With UCSB Connect, any Connect user can create a Shared Drive to act as a Group Share Drive.

Data Privacy Compliance

As specified on UCSB Connect's GSuite Apps Services Allowable Data Use:

The table below, which is based on the UC Santa Barbara Data Classification Standard and university negotiated agreements, helps you safeguard information for which the campus and you are a steward. Always employ due care when handling sensitive information.

Data Type



ePHI and other health or medical information


May be subject to HIPAA and additional protections

SSNs, Passports, Drivers License


Financial Account Numbers (including Credit Cards)


May be subject to PCI-DSS regulations and additional protections

Export Controlled Data


Google Data Centers are worldwide

Logon Credentials


FERPA protected Student Records (non-health)


Does not include medical records or personal health information protected by FERPA

Personnel Records


Research Data


Data may have specific control requirements from sponsors, check before using.

Other Restricted Data


Other Confidential Data


Google Drive is FERPA compliant with regards to School/Personal Records that is of a Non-Medical nature.

UC Contract with Google Apps is stated here.

Expected Use Cases per UCSB Google Connect and ITS

  • Use Google Storage may be used for:

    • Email
    • Native Google Docs (Docs, Sheets, Slides, Forms)
    • Work documents (PDFs, Word, Excel)
    • Active & Ad Hoc Collaboration documents (shared with others)

    Use Google Storage may not be used for:

    • Anything classified, export controlled, ITAR, etc...
    • Anything related to finances, medical records or other non approved PI 3 and above data
    • Backups of data 
    • Archival location for files that are not regularly accessed
    • Bulk storage of video or audio files
    • Personal data


What to Consider

Google Shared Drive can work similar to what people have used for Network Shares (SAMBA), but a few things need to be noted...


Shared drives has a default quota/space limit of 50 GB per shared drive

Other limitations are noted here, Google Shared Drive Limitations.

No individual folder permissions

What this means is, most people organize information into one place, sometimes having a folder that needs only certain people to access it.

Google Shared Drive, unfortunately, does not support or have the ability to allow setting permissions on folders beyond the Shared Drive itself.

So subfolders within the Shared drive will have the same rights as the Shared drive itself.

So when planning on how to set up a Shared Drive, you will have to plan out the structure so that it will contain the information that will accessed and modified by the users you wish throughout the whole Drive and plan on having a separate Shared Drive with different permissions, even though it may still relate to the initial Shared drive you set up.

You can review the permissions that are available here, Shared Drive Permissions

Cannot move Google Drive folders into Shared Drive without Special Permissions

At the current setup for GSuite with regards to Google Drive and Google Shared Drive, ETS requires users to contact their IT Support to establish Admin rights to a particular Shared Drive in order to move folders from a Person's Google Drive into a Shared Drive.

In order to facilitate this, we need to provide the following:

  • Name of the User
  • Name of the Shared Drive they need to send their Google Drive Folders to.
  • Time period in order to move said folders from their Google Drive into the Google Shared Drive.

If the plan is to move a shared Google Drive folder into a Google Shared Drive, the shared Google Drive folder needs to have the user have Owner rights all the way through in order to move the content from the shared folder into Shared Drive.

Otherwise, it would be best to Download the folder, expand the resultant zip file you got and copy the contents into the Google Shared Drive, as the folder's Share Rights can cause errors in moving files if the user does not have ownership rights within one of the files being moved.

Working with the documents

It is important to note that Google Drive and Google Shared Drive can allow people to edit and work with Excel, Word and Powerpoint documents through the Web Interface, however it is best to note that it will not do 'live' updates with Office Documents.

'Live' updates being that two (2) or more people viewing a document can see changes as they occur.  You can only do this with the Google Apps documents at this time.

The Google Sheet, Doc or Slide will only work with people making use of Google Apps and have access to the Internet, as it relies on Google Services to open those documents.

Google Apps can be worked with on Offline Mode, but a computer will need to be configured following the instructions from Google here.

It is important to be mindful how you edit a document in Google Shared Drive with this in mind.

Shared Drive Settings

Shared Drive has settings as defined here, Shared Drive Settings.

Content put into the Shared Drive may require reviewing how the Shared Drive is set with regards to Sharing content and how restrictive you want it with regards to Commenters and Viewers as far as Downloading/Copying/Printing said content.

Sharing Files

If the Shared Drive Settings allow Sharing, you can share only Files either directly to a user or having a share link for a file.

Sharing folders within a Shared Drive is currently not supported.

For more information on Sharing/Unsharing files in a Shared Drive, Shared Drive Sharing

Best Practices

Plan your structure

As mentioned before, Shared Drives are setup that permissions are the same through out the Shared Drive.

Your Shared Drives should be considered a '1-key' file cabinets, so anyone with the proper key has that particular access to file cabinet.

Naming Scheme

Make sure to name your Shared drives related to your department, as we are part of UCSB Connect's Google Drive with other campus departments.

Don't stick with 'Office' or 'Admin', as other departments may use that name.

Ideally, you will want to use '<Department> Office' (IE: Mecha Repairs Office, if your department was Mecha Repairs).

Backup User

Often times, people will come and go or something may happen that the manager of said Shared Drive may not be available.

It would be wise to make sure any Shared Drive being made has a Departmental Functional User Account as a manager attached to it.

If this hasn't be done...  You can contact ETSC at to request setting a new manager to one of the existing Members for a Shared Drive with proper confirmation.

Recommended Tutorials

We recommend going over some of the Google Tutorials with regards to Google Drive to familiarize yourself with some of the basics of Google Drive, such as:

Additional Resources