What is a Shared Drive and do I need one?
Google Shared Drives are a great collaboration tool to manage documents and folders for a project, team, department, committee, classroom, or other team-like structure. We strongly recommend shared drives for team collaboration to ensure important folders and documents do not disappear as team members leave (or graduate from) the university.
Benefits of a Shared Drive
- Folders and files within the shared drive are owned by the domain, so they won’t disappear when the original owner leaves the university.
- Membership of shared drives is easy to manage, and is great for managing access for teams or ongoing projects that have a rotating staff between semesters. Adding and removing members is quick and easy and can be done by a shared drive’s manager.
- Google Groups can be used alongside shared drives to easily grant or remove access based on Group membership, and permission levels can be upgraded for Group members on an individual basis as needed.
- Shared drives are accessible using the Google Drive for Desktop app and documents in a Microsoft Office format can be edited using either Office Suite applications or the Google Workspace web apps.
- Membership of shared drives is not limited to faculty, staff, and students of VCU, so external members with Google accounts such as personal gmail.com accounts and external Google Workspace domain accounts can also be added.
- In addition to individual files, individual folders can now be shared out from within a shared drive. This provides additional granular control over granting access to the files and folders within a folder, for example, reducing the need to add someone as a member of the entire shared drive when they only need access to several files in a single folder.
How do I know if I need a Shared Drive?
Below is a non-exhaustive list of scenarios where a shared drive is recommended and why we would recommend it for each scenario. It is possible to have multiple of these scenarios be applicable.
- Your team has a complex nested folder structure, with multiple folders and files being owned by different individuals.
- WHY: Nested folders create the potential risk for entire folders or important files to disappear when the owning account is removed, resulting in missing data for other collaborators of the documents or folders. Shared drives remove this risk as folders and files owned by the shared drive won’t disappear when the original owner’s account is removed.
- Your college or school has on-going projects with multiple different students, especially in cases where the students are near graduating or have already graduated, such as ongoing Capstone projects.
- WHY: As students graduate, they are provided with an alumni account and their vcu.edu account is suspended automatically and is eventually removed after a set time if they do not have another active role with the university. The data owned by the student will disappear when the account is removed, but the data will not disappear if it is owned by the shared drive.
- You are part of a research group or project with a PI (principal investigator) with faculty, staff, student, and/or alumni members.
- WHY: As faculty, staff, and students leave, the vcu.edu account is suspended automatically and is eventually removed after a set time if they do not have another active role with the university. The data owned will disappear when the account is removed, but the data will not disappear if it is owned by the shared drive.
Other Important Information
Before requesting a shared drive, the following information is necessary to know:
- Certain types of sensitive data need special approval or are not approved to be stored in Google Drive. Please visit the VCU Data Management System page for Google Drive to confirm if your data can be stored in a Shared Drive.
- Students requesting a shared drive will need a faculty or staff sponsor. We will contact them for approval when creating the shared drive.
- When requesting a shared drive, the primary manager will be given a special migration role for two weeks to allow for folder migration when the shared drive is created.
- Shared drives will be named according to our naming convention: “Banner Department Code” – “Department Name” – then a project/suggested name, e.g. “TS-Collaboration Services-Projects”.
How do I request a shared drive?
To request a shared drive, follow these steps:
- Visit itsupport.vcu.edu, click “Click to Login,” then sign in with your eID and password.
- Click “New IT Support Ticket”
- In the Search Box in the top right corner, search “Request Shared Drive” and click the result that appears
- Enter your alternate phone number and/or email address and complete all of the required fields.
- If you are a student requesting a shared drive, remember to also complete the “eID or email of the Department/Project Head or Faculty Sponsor” field.
- Click “Submit” to submit the ticket.
Additional Questions or Information
For additional questions or information regarding shared drives, send us an email at email@example.com or request an appointment with us at https://vcu-it-support-center.appointlet.com (scroll to the bottom and choose “Google Workspace @ Shared Drives”)