Enterprise Solutions [Go to GAT Labs for Education solutions here]

The Admin’s Google Drive Management Playbook

See GAT Labs
in action

Table of Contents

Make Google Drive management a whole lot simpler 

Navigating the vast landscape of Google Drive management can often feel like exploring uncharted territory. However, by focusing on key areas and implementing strategic best practices, administrators can confidently steer their ship toward unparalleled efficiency and insight. This playbook delves into the top 10 realms of Google Drive management, unveiling novel strategies to elevate your organization’s management endeavors.

1. Embrace New Storage Limits: A Fresh Perspective

With Google’s updated storage policy in effect since June 1, 2021, a fresh approach to storage management is imperative. This policy introduces new rules for storage allocation, making it crucial to adopt forward-thinking practices.

User Insight: Decluttering ‘My Drive’

Empower users with a minimalist methodology to declutter their ‘My Drive.’ 

Admin Insight: Monitoring and Optimization
  1. Grasp domain storage quotas via the admin console’s ‘Storage used by apps’ graph.
  2. Explore individual storage consumption to identify high-volume users.
  3. Tackle storage bloat by pinpointing and eliminating duplicate files through analytics.

2. The Art of Shared Drive Structure: Orchestrating Organization

The Shared Drive structure is the cornerstone of efficient Google Drive management. Streamlining this structure is not only pivotal for accessibility but also the linchpin of effective Drive Data Loss Prevention (DLP) strategies.

Insightful Step: Crafting a Cohesive Structure

Evaluate and refine your organization’s Shared Drive structure. By doing so, you can unlock enhanced collaboration and fortified DLP measures.

3. Mastering File Ownership Dynamics: A Security Symphony

File ownership and sharing permissions orchestrate the security symphony of Google Drive management. Proactive handling of these aspects is paramount for safeguarding data and achieving robust DLP.

Insightful Approach: Fortify Security Through Ownership

Uncover the significance of file ownership and embark on a journey of mastering file sharing for enhanced security.

4. Unveiling Shared Drive Sharing Exposure: Illuminating Data Security

Amidst evolving file-sharing landscapes, conducting routine audits of shared files is pivotal. Illuminating hidden data security risks empowers administrators to take proactive measures.

Insightful Action: Data Security Enlightenment

Embark on an audit of external and internal file sharing. Harness tools like Google Workspace File Sharing Exposure report and GAT+ to automate audits, minimizing risks.

5. Safeguarding Drive Data from Leaks: The Comprehensive Approach

Preventing data leaks involves monitoring activities beyond sharing. Downloading, copying, and printing sensitive files necessitate vigilance. DLP is your ally in this journey.

Insightful Strategy: Beyond Sharing – Monitoring Actions

Explore Admin Console’s Drive audit log to monitor activity, employing filters to scrutinize downloading trends. Moreover, employ GAT+ to extend this vigilance to all corners of Drive.


Gat+ Drive


6. Google Groups and Drive: Collaboration with Caution

Google Groups provide a collaborative haven, yet they require a mindful touch. Effective management empowers controlled sharing and upholds security.

Insightful Tactics: Refined Collaboration

Audit Google Groups to identify external members. Tailor access rights to distinct groups, unlocking granular control over collaboration.

7. Unveiling the Power of Target Audiences: Precise Sharing

Target audiences empower administrators to wield precise sharing control. By leveraging this tool, you enhance security without compromising collaboration.

Insightful Approach: Precision in Sharing

Harness target audiences to refine sharing parameters, securing data while fostering effective collaboration.

8. Data Loss Prevention (DLP) Alerting: Vigilance Preserved

Configuring DLP alerts is akin to keeping a vigilant sentinel. These alerts ensure swift response to policy breaches, minimizing potential risks.

Insightful Strategy: Swift Vigilance

Set up DLP rules and alerts to proactively address policy violations. Furthermore, tap into Google’s recommended personalized DLP rules for an extra layer of security.

9. Upholding Data Compliance and GDPR: A Compliance Odyssey

GDPR and CCPA have transformed data processing landscapes. Upholding compliance necessitates vigilance and implementing content detectors.

Insightful Approach: Compliance as a Journey

Navigate the complexities of GDPR and similar regulations by embracing granular content detectors and real-time monitoring.

Looking for a Complete Data compliance solution for your domain? — Check out GAT Lab’s powerful Google Workspace GDPR Compliance capabilities.

10. Seamless User Onboarding and Offboarding: Mastering Transitions

Finally, user transitions demand efficiency. Automating onboarding and offboarding processes streamlines operations, safeguarding data and reducing disruptions.


BONUS: User onboarding and offboarding in Drive

User onboarding and offboarding are usually not big Google Drive management issues when you’ve got just a few people leaving and joining your organization every year.

But when you have dozens of departing employees and new joiners across different departments, it can be challenging to manage the drive onboarding and offboarding operations of such a large number.

What are the documents involved? Which documents are sensitive or important? How do you transfer file Ownership of suspended users? — the list is long and can get quite repetitive and time-consuming if you observe the many ins and outs required for every department or OU.

How to Safely Offboarding Google Workspace Users?

They say ‘Watch out for angry leavers’! — We say ‘Watch out for ALL leavers’, especially when it comes to Google Drive.

One of the most important Google Drive management practices you’ll want to adopt is deploying a bullet-proof offboarding process for leavers. Here’s why:

  1. Suspended accounts of leavers can result in the loss of important data. This is a common DLP scenario.
    Also, wrongfully suspended accounts typically cause approximately 70% of data availability issues.
  2. You need to ensure that leavers can no longer access important corporate Drive resources once they leave.
    This can bring in significant DLP hazards, especially if they choose to act on it in malicious ways.

Automating Users’ Onboarding and Offboarding:

As an admin, you need a standard process for onboarding and offboarding users across different OUs. 

Some admins carry this process out manually, which can be messy and time-consuming. Other admins use scripts to automate the process (a few of them are available on GitHub). 

However, DIY and manual approaches often result in data loss and business interruptions when the data archival and forwarding steps don’t happen on time — That’s where an onboarding/ offboarding tool can significantly help.

Streamline your Google Workspace audit

GAT Labs for Google Drive Management 

As an admin, Google Drive management can be one of those nagging and painful tasks  — there’s a lot of administrative effort needed there to feel fully in control of your Drive management game. 

HOWEVER, putting proactive measures in places like monitoring and automation can relieve a bulk of that stress and offer you peace of mind when it comes to securing the areas that matter the most.

  1. Replace current sharing permissions on your Google Drive files.
  2. Removing all permissions on Google Drive shares with an exception of a single user.
  3. Find publicly shared Google files.
  4. Search for specific File types in your domain and change their ownership in Google Drive.
  5. Manage files owned by leaving users easily.
  6. Remove All permissions to all sensitive folders and their sub-folders.
  7. Understand Google Group activity email and file sharing.
  8. Remove external shares when files haven’t been accessed for a certain number of days.
  9. Prevent MP3 files and other file types from being downloaded.
  10. Detect a sharing Policy Violation in Google Drive.


Well, that’s it for your Google Drive Management Playbook. We hope you have found it helpful.

Have a specific Google Drive management question that we didn’t cover in this guide? Feel free to send it over to our experts at hello@gatlabs.com— We’ll be happy to help you out.

Stay in the loop

Sign up to our newsletter to get notified whenever a freshly baked blog post is out of our content oven.

Don´t miss any updates!

Enter your email address to be kept up to date with content that helps you manage, audit and secure your entire Google Domain.