Share Google files responsibly

The campus community uses Google Workspace to create documents, forms, spreadsheets and slide presentations to share and work collaboratively with others on and off campus. Below are some best practices to share files responsibly so they aren’t unintentionally overshared. 

Oversharing is giving broader swaths of users both access to your documents and perhaps more open permissions instead of sharing explicitly with users who need access and providing the correct level of view, comment or edit permissions. When sharing files in Google:

  • Use name-based permissions to specify access and permissions. Use either:
    • Individual user names; or
    • Google Groups.
      A group allows you to remove a user’s access to files and folders easily by removing the user from the Group. It also allows you to easily manage access to items like Google Calendar invites.
  • Avoid using the “anyone with the link can access” option.
    • Never use this option for any level of sensitive data. Bad actors can and will find this information. 
    • Consider this option only for those files that need to be publicly shared, such as publicly shared research for reporting reasons. 
  • If you have a document you want to share with specific groups or people, but you still want to manage how it is shared, you can give others the ability to “view” with no option to “download, print or copy” the file. 
  • Give someone permissions to a file for a limited time by setting an expiration date. Choose a date that is within one year of the current date. 
  • If you actively work on projects individually or in groups, you might need to have Manager or Content Manager access to facilitate collaboration and maintenance of documents and files. 
  • To give access to external collaborators for projects or work that is inter-institutional, see Collaborating with External Researchers.
  • Enroll in one of OIT’s workshops to learn more about file and folder sharing in Google Workspace.