Google Drive file ownership: your first stop to Drive security
Google Drive file ownership is the door you can’t leave unattended when most of your organization’s collaboration happens in Drive.
How important is Google Drive File Ownership?
Ever dealt with a Drive file recovery puzzle where you had to painfully patch the pieces together to find an important file?
Experienced an orphaned file situation or a permanent deletion of an important file that couldn’t be altered?
If your answer is Yes, then you understand the frustration that comes with it (especially with sensitive files) — If your answer is No, then I wish you never have to, and advise you to keep on reading.
When assessing basic security goals like Data Loss Prevention (DLP) and information security, how well you handle Google Drive file ownership and sharing at your organization can mean the world.
Let’s dig deeper.
As you probably know, for every file Jenna (let’s call her Jenna) creates, syncs, or uploads, Jenna automatically becomes its owner, right?
Now, as the owner, Jenna has powerful rights over her files, including:
1. Sharing them with other people inside or outside.
2. Adding/Removing inside or outside collaborators.
3. Permanently delete the file from Google Drive.
4. Changing visibility options.
5. Allowing collaborators to change access privileges for others.
If you take a closer look at these rights, you’ll see how one simple mistake or accident from Jenna can have huge security implications. Especially when handling sensitive data.
To that, we advise you to identify a ‘Drive treasurer(s)’ and transfer ownership of sensitive files and folders to them. That could be an IT admin or a trusted user familiar with the best security practices there.
This will significantly boost your Google Drive DLP against major security incidents.
Transferring Google Drive File Ownership
Ok so once ownership is transferred to someone else, the original owner won’t be able to revoke these changes. Also:
1. The new owner will be able to remove the original owner entirely from the file whenever they wish.
2. The original owner will no longer be able to delete the file or share it with anyone else.
How to Transfer Google Drive File Ownership?
There are THREE ways to do that.
1. Transfer the Ownership Yourself as the ‘Owner’
- Share the file with the person you want to transfer ownership to.
- Now click Advanced.
- Click the Down arrow to the right of the person you’ve already shared the file with, then Click Is owner.
- Save changes.
After you transfer ownership, the new owner will receive an email notifying them of the change.
2. Via a Google Workspace Admin
A Google Workspace Admin can change file ownership in Google Drive.
3. Via Delegated Auditors
The easiest way to comprehensively do so is by using GAT+.
GAT: Google Drive Security Best Practices
- Replace current sharing permissions on your Google Drive files.
- Remove all permissions on Google Drive shares with the exception of a single user.
- Find publicly shared Google files.
- Search for Specific File Types in your Google domain and Change their ownership in Google Drive.
- Manage files owned by leaving users easily.
- Remove All permissions to all ‘Sensitive’ folders and their sub-folders.
- Understand Google Group activity email and file sharing.
- Remove external shares when files haven’t been accessed for a certain number of days.
- Find and Transfer Ownership of Mp3 Files.
- Detect a Sharing Policy Violation in Google Drive.
Check out these fantastic capabilities if you haven’t already to better secure your Google Drive Ownership and Sharing door.
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