Google Shared Drives – Features, Benefits and why you should use

Are you using Google Workspace to the best of its capabilities? If you are reading this article, you must be using Google Workspace already. Undoubtedly, Google Workspace is the best collaboration platform out there. It’s essential to become aware about the capabilities to utilize the platform to the fullest. In this article, we will discuss a very important document storage service, i.e, Shared Drives. 

What is Shared Drives in Google Workspace?

Shared Drive is a separate option inside Google Drive and it lets a team store, search and maintain their files. The advantage in shared drive is that all files and folders inside it are owned by the team, rather than any individual contributors. When any member of the team leaves, the files are still maintained. If all members of the team leave, the organizational administrators have the option to add new joinees into the shared drive. In short, all files and folders are owned by the organization. 

Features of Google Shared Drive:

Easy Content Availability:

Shared Drives can be made easily available and membership can be maintained via Google  groups. If you add a teammate or new user to your team google group, it automatically adds them to all shared drives that the group is a part of. 

Add external users to Shared Drive:

It is possible to add users who are outside your organization to shared drives. You might often be dealing with contractors and externals. So, this becomes a handy functionality. The only caveat is that the external user should have a Google account. Once the shared drive is shared with the external, it appears in their Google Drive and collaboration becomes super easy. When the external contributes to the Shared Drive, the files and folders are ultimately owned by the organization that created the shared drive. 

Sync Content offline to your desktop:

It is possible to sync the content available on the shared drive to your desktop and make it available offline in your local drive. You can access the files inside the shared drive using Google Drive for desktop.

Access shared drive data of organizational leavers:

If any employee who is contributing to the shared drive leaves, the data is retained by the organization. If all contributors leave, the admins have the capability to add new users too. 

Advanced sharing controls:

Shared Drives in Google Workspace provides granular controls as viewer, commenter, content manager, Manager etc that lets a team perfectly manage permissions while securing their data against unauthorized access.

How to Create a Shared Drive:

Creating a shared drive in Google Workspace is fairly simple. Organisational administrators can control and allow shared drive creation to limited users. If it’s allowed for all users, anyone could create a shared drive with a couple of clicks from their Google drive interface. 

There are no limits on the number of shared drives also. If users require multiple shared drives to manage their projects better, that should be the preferred approach. It can be cumbersome to maintain the files within a very large single structure. 

Which version of Google Workspace has Shared Drives:

Shared Drive is available in all the editions of Google workspace like Business Standard, Business Standard, Business Plus, Enterprise Essentials, Enterprise Standard, and Enterprise Plus except Google Workspace starter plan. 

Google Shared Drive Vs Google My Drive:

Are you confused about the difference between Google Shared Drive and Google My Drive? Below are the few differences:

File and Folder ownership:

In Shared Drives, the organization is the owner of the data. In My drive, the individual user is the owner of the files and folders.

Capability to Move Folders:

Only administrators can move folders to shared drives. In My Drive, as the user is the owner of the data, folders can be moved. 

Data visibility:

All members accessing the shared drive see the same folder structure and content. In My Drive, the individual user view depends on the content they have access to. 

Restore files from Trash:

In shared drives, only users with certain roles are able to restore files from Trash. In contrast, with My Drive, the individual user can restore files from trash if they were the owner. 

Shared Drive Limits:

Well, there are certain limits in Shared drives that have to be adhered to. Some of the limits can be bypassed by creating and using multiple shared drives. Some of the limits in Shared drives are as below:

Number of files/items in Shared Drives:

You can have a maximum of 400,000 items in shared drives that includes folders, files and shortcuts as well. You could create multiple shared drives to get past this limit. If you are uploading a lot of data from any file server or migrating data from your local drive to a shared drive, it’s good to remember this limit so that the migration is not hampered. 

Maximum Daily Uploads:

Maximum file size that can be uploaded to drive is 5 TB. Additionally, the daily upload limit is set at 750 GB. This is a very high limit and unless you have large files offline to move urgently, you shouldn’t hit this limit. 

Folder Limits:

A shared drive can have 20 levels of nested folders. Google doesn’t recommend having more folders than that as there could be performance issues. This limit can be bypassed by creating multiple shared drives. 

Where do you fit shared drive usage in your business?

Shared Drives can be used as a file storage option for all kinds of teams across all business segments. If you still have doubts and want to consult before using, you can always reach out to us

Cloudasta has been a Google cloud partner since 2013. We at Cloudasta have a dedicated Google Workspace team of experts that help with migrations to Google Workspace as well as consultations to maximize productivity. We have helped hundreds of organizations with their requirements and we are happy to assist you.