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Google Drive

Tuesday Take-Away: Google Apps Security Updates

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Most organizations we work with are looking to the cloud for better collaboration, mobile integration, and remote user support. Google’s release of Drive for Work (aka Google Apps Unlimited) in 2014 promised to align Google Apps with user needs and priorities.

Over the past several months, Google has deployed several security and feature enhancements that make Drive a more robust file service. Some are only available with Drive for Work, others apply to all Google for Work domains.

Set Sharing Settings by Department
(Drive for Work / Google Apps Unlimited Only)

Sometimes different file settings make sense. You might, for example, have a research department that needs to keep information confidential and a sales team that needs to share presentations with their clients. To help manage these different sharing needs, now when you make selections in Drive settings from the Admin console, you can turn off sharing outside the domain for one organizational unit, while still allowing others to work and share files with anyone they need to.

Create Custom Drive Alerts / Track More Events with Drive Audit
(Drive for Work / Google Apps Unlimited Only)

To keep track of when specific actions are taken in Drive, you can set up custom Drive alerts. So if you want to know when a file containing the word “confidential” in the title is shared outside the company, now you’ll know. And there are more events coming to Drive audit, including download, print and preview.

Set up custom admin alerts to find out when things change
(All Google for Work Domains)

There are lots of moving parts to running a company, and now it’s easier for IT to find out about the things they care about with custom alerts — like when a new app is installed or a shared calendar is deleted — and get those right in their inbox.

Let people reset their own passwords
(All Google for Work Domains)

Recovering passwords isn’t the most pleasant thing we do in our lives. But now IT can let employees securelyreset their own passwords, so they don’t lose valuable time being locked out of their account. If this doesn’t make sense for your organization, admins can simply turn this ability off.

Disable downloading, printing and copying of any file with IRM
(All Google for Work Domains)

With Information Rights Management (“IRM”) you can disable downloading, printing and copying from the advanced sharing menu – perfect for when the file you’re sharing is only meant for a few select people. This new option is available for any file stored in Google Drive, including documents, spreadsheets and presentations created in Google Docs.

Share quickly with anyone outside your organization
(All Google for Work Domains)

When it comes to sharing, like giving final inventory lists to your caterer or last minute logos to your design agency, you want to make sure people can see it right away — whether they use Drive or not. Now, you canshare with any email address and they’ll be able to view the files you share —without having to sign-in to a Google account. Admins can disable this feature for certain departments that want to require sign-in before , while enabling it for others.

Other Reasons to use Drive for Work

apps_for_work_256-colorWhen most of our clients compare Google Apps for Work with Drive for Work, they focus on the two most visible differences:

  • Drive for Work gives you unlimited Drive storage, instead of the 30GB per user for Gmail and Drive in Google Apps for Work.
  • Drive for Work includes Google Apps Vault for email (and, in the future, document) archiving and e-discovery services.

While these differences are enough for many companies to step up to Drive for Work, some of the less visible differences may prove more valuable in the long term.

Expanded Reporting

Google Apps for Work offers a limited number of audit and admin reports that cover basic statistics about user accounts and activities.  Drive for Work, already has an extended suite of admin and audit reports, giving you greater visibility into how various services are being used, including configurable audit reports for Drive.

Expanded APIs

Most companies will never program to the Google Apps Application Program Interfaces (APIs). Third party administration, security, and productivity applications, however, rely on these APIs to access and manage data in Google Apps. With Google’s commitment to expand the API suite for Drive for Work, third party applications, including BetterCloud, CloudLock, Backupify and others, will offer additional features and services with Drive for Work than they can with Apps for Work. As a customer, you get a more robust computing environment.

Granted, these additional capabilities alone may not, today, warrant the additional cost of Drive for Work. Yet, these features are indicative of a trend for broader features and investment in Drive for Work. If you need or want archiving and/or additional storage and are considering a la carte upgrades, consider the strategic impact of expanded reporting and APIs. They may just tip the scales in favor of Drive for Work.