Google Drive Sharing Guidelines and Options


In this article

Google Drive is a cloud storage service that allows you to store, share and collaborate with your files. Drive is integrated with Google Workspace for Education apps such as Docs, Sheets and Slides, enabling you to create, store and share documents in a variety of file formats. This guide will help you understand Google sharing settings, and how to store and collaborate securely with your files in Google Drive.

You have access to Google Drive as part of your University of Maryland (UMD) email account. Faculty and staff use Google Workspace for Education (@umd.edu) and students use TERPmail (@terpmail.umd.edu). Although both use Google applications such as Google Drive, they are separate domains.

Google Drive is included as part of your UMD Google Workspace for Education account. To access Google Drive:

  1. Go to Google Drive.
  2. Click Go To Drive.
  3. Enter your UMD email address when prompted.
  4. Log in through the Central Authentication Service (CAS) using your University Credentials.

Guidelines for sharing files and folders

These guidelines are best practices for storing and sharing items in Google Drive, but do not guarantee the security of your items and do not imply compliance with any specific regulations or laws. Be sure to consult with the appropriate IT administrators and the Division of Information Technology Compliance team when handling sensitive data.

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Securely store an item in Google Drive

The most secure way to store an item in Google Drive is by first ensuring you are logged into your UMD Google account. To access your account you must log in with your University credentials, and complete multi-factor authentication via Duo.

Your file uploads to My Drive are automatically set to private. This means that only you have access to them unless you choose to share them.

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Share Google Drive files with other UMD collaborators

Faculty and staff use Google Workspace for Education (@umd.edu email account) and students use TERPmail. Although both use Google applications such as Google Drive, these are separate domains.

In order for a faculty and staff @umd.edu account to share a Drive file with a TERPmail account (and vice versa), you must either share the file with the specific person or make the file accessible to anyone with the link.

To share a file with a specific person or to make the file accessible by anyone with the link, follow the Google Drive Help instructions to share files from Google Drive

Screenshot showing the Get Link sharing feature with Anyone with the link selected

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Secure your shared file or folder

If you’re sharing a sensitive Google Drive file or folder that you own, you can stop Editors from re-sharing the content, and prevent Viewers and Commenters from downloading, printing or copying the file by permissions settings:

  1. Select one or more files that you want to limit access to.
  2. Click Share or Share Share.
  3. At the top, click Settings Settings.
  4. Uncheck Editors Can Change Permissions and Share.
  5. Uncheck Viewers and Commenters can see the option to download, print, and copy.
  6. Click Save then Done.

Editors will now need to send a request to you when attempting to share the content, and Viewers and Commenters will have limited options to further disseminate the content. Sharing requests from Editors are received via email, and you can decide whether to share the file and which permissions to provide. Viewers and Commenters will have limited ability to further disseminate the content. 

Be sure to select the appropriate role for the user you are adding to the file or folder. The options are Viewer, Commenter and Editor.

NOTE: If you prevent sharing of a folder, it only applies to the folder. To prevent sharing of the files inside, you have to change their sharing settings.

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Secure your shared file or folder with non-UMD Collaborators who have Google accounts

If you need to share a file or folder with a non-UMD collaborator, you can share the file with them using their Google account. If you need to send a direct link to your file, you should set the link permissions to Viewer. When you share a link to a file, your name will be visible as the owner of the file.

  1. Select the file that you want to share.
  2. Click Share or Share Share and then Get link.
  3. Under Get Link, click the Down arrow.
  4. Choose who to share the file with. Your options will be: Restricted, University of Maryland College Park, or Anyone with the link. If the collaborators are outside of UMD, you will need to choose Anyone with the link. 
  5. You should choose Viewer for link sharing, and provide higher permissions only when sharing with specific people. 

Share a file or folder with someone who doesn’t have a Google account

If a collaborator does not have a Google Drive account, a file can still be shared with them; however you should exercise extreme caution when sharing files with users who lack Google Drive accounts.

  1. Under Share with people and groups, enter the email address that you want to share with and set their Permission level to Viewer. 
  2. Reopen the sharing settings.
  3. Next to the outside collaborator, select the permissions drop down and choose Give Temporary Access. Select an appropriate date to remove access. This will help mitigate risks associated with this type of file sharing. 

NOTE: Always avoid the Public sharing option. This means anyone can search on Google and get access to your file, without signing in to their Google Account.

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Permissions

Editor

With this permission, users can edit all file contents. They can also share files with others, add or remove specific people from the files, and copy, print or download the files.

Editors can organize and add folders, in addition to the ability to add, edit, delete and move files.

Commenter

Commenters can add comments and suggestions to documents, but cannot make edits or change sharing settings. 

Viewer

Viewers can open and view the files. They cannot edit or share.

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Notifications

You can choose to be notified if:

To change notification settings:

  1. Go to drive.google.com.
  2. In the top right, click Settings Settings.
  3. In the left panel, click Notifications.
  4. Next to the settings you want to change, check or uncheck the box.

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