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Drive FAQs



What is Google Drive? 

Google Drive is a well-known secure cloud storage service that is integrated with your email. It lets you keep all your work in one place, view different file formats and access your files from any device.

What types of files can I upload to Google Drive?
You can upload any type of file to Google Drive and convert certain types of files to a web-based Google document format: Docs, Sheets or Slides.

Which browsers work with the web-based platform for Google Drive? 
For the best Google Drive experience with the most features, use the Google Chrome browser. Most other browsers will run the web-based version of Google Drive but with more limited functionality.

Can I work with Microsoft Office files in Google Drive?
Yes, In Google Drive, you can still work with Microsoft Office files, even if you don't have Office installed.
You can:
  • Add your Office files to Google Drive
  • Keep your files in Microsoft format, even if you no longer have Office 
  • Convert existing Office documents and Adobe PDF files to Google Docs, Sheets or Slides
  • Work in Office and sync Office files to Drive
  • Comment on Office files in Drive preview
How do I upload files to Google Drive?
  1. Open Google Drive
  2. Click new file upload or folder upload, and then choose the file or folder you want to upload
  3. Click open
Accessibility

Do Google apps work with assistive technologies?

The Google Docs editors are designed to work with screen readers, Braille devices, screen magnification and more. More information and instruction can be found here.

Document management

How do I transition from my network share to Google Drive?

If you choose to transition your documents to Google Drive, moving your documents and folders is easy and can be done one of two ways:

Upload files and folders:
  1. Open Google Drive
  2. On the top left, click New > File Upload or Folder Upload
  3. Choose the file or folder you want to upload.
Or:

Drag files and folders:
  1. Open Google Drive
  2. Open or create a new Google Drive folder
  3. To upload files and folders, drag them into the opened Google Drive folder

When an employee leaves the commonwealth, what happens to their Google Drive data?

When an employee leaves the commonwealth, their account is disabled. An authorized user can submit a VCCC ticket to restore an account within 90 days of it being disabled. Once the COV account is restored, the G Suite account, including Google Drive data, will automatically be restored. After a COV account has been deleted for 90 days, it is permanently deleted and Google Drive data can no longer be restored.

Is there a way to access files offline?

Yes, files can be accessed by using the Google Docs Offline Access Chrome extension. The Chrome extension is on the approved list of extensions for the commonwealth and Offline mode is turned on for the COV.

Can I revert back to my original file, even after changes are made and saved?

The version history feature can be used to go back to a previous version of your document. Visit this link for more information on how to use version history.

Can documents easily be converted from Microsoft to Google and back again?

Google Drive works seamlessly with Microsoft (MS) Office products. You can upload MS Office documents such as Word documents, PowerPoint presentations and Excel files into Drive. They will be converted to Docs, Slides and Sheets respectively. You can also create a Doc, Slide or Sheet and download it to its MS equivalent: Word, PowerPoint, Excel respectively.

Can I retrieve a deleted document or folder?

Deleted items are stored in your trash can for 30 days. Once items are permanently deleted, items can be restored through a VCCC request, within 20 days of permanent deletion.

Are there recommended governance and best practices for Google Drive?

Google Drive is a great tool to use when multiple people need to contribute to a document or an entire folder. Google Drive should be treated like any other shared drive that you are currently using and the same governance and procedures should be followed. Below are recommended best practices when working in Google Drive.

-Working together in the same document is new for many people, so clarify to others how you want to collaborate by establishing some guidelines. Some important information you will probably want to share is:

*What you want people to do with the document (do you want them to review and edit or just have it as an FYI)

*If you want people to edit, how should they do so (i.e. do you want them to use suggestion mode, comments or just write in the document)

-You can share guidelines or expectations with your colleagues in the "Add Message" note in "Share Settings." For example, you may want to:

*Request they use "Suggestion Mode" or comments to add or suggest content

*Add the date by which you need edits

*Ask them to indicate if they have reviewed and approved a document using a comment

-You can also insert important information in the title, in a comment or in a text box in the document.

*For example, you can let others know the document’s stage of development by noting it in brackets in the title (e.g. [draft] or [final])

-Also set expectations around how to share files. When you link to or share files from Drive (instead of attaching them), you’re not wasting time uploading and downloading files. So if someone sends you an attachment, just respond that you’d like them to send you the link or share it from Drive.

Sharing these expectations with your team at the beginning of the process will help others avoid confusion and hesitancy to get in and collaborate, as they know what you expect of them.

Security

Are there any limitations on data sensitivity for Google Drive?

Per VITA policy, no sensitive data (HIPAA, PII information, etc.) should be stored in Google Drive.

Are files encrypted in Google Drive?

Yes, Google Drive files are encrypted in transit and at rest.

Will agencies have the ability to limit their employees' sharing abilities and other controls?

Beyond the security policies that have been put in place to prevent sharing outside of the COV domain, there are no limitations or controls in place to prevent sharing within the COV domain. Agencies who have opted in to Google Drive are free to share documents within their agency and with other agencies.

What ability to limit sharing capabilities and other controls will the agency have? We are concerned about users being able to make their Google Drive public and sensitive information being leaked.

The agency information security officer or designate will have access to a Google Drive dashboard that is specific to your agency. This dashboard will show sharing statistics of the agencies data. Further, a control is in place that will prevent mass sharing outside of an agency.

Is there any sort of security monitoring such as data loss prevention (DLP) being utilized?

Due to commonwealth security policies, the native Google DLP functionality or any other DLP provider such as CASB do not apply or are not available to the commonwealth. There is no DLP functionality for agency-to-agency sharing.

What is preventing Google Drive from becoming an approved application for sensitive information?

Google Drive does not currently have security controls implemented to enforce encryption key management controls required by commonwealth security standard SC-28: "The information system implements cryptographic mechanisms to prevent unauthorized disclosure and modification of organization-defined sensitive information stored on any cloud-based information system components. The cryptographic keying material must remain in the control of the commonwealth and cannot be transferred to the owner/operator of the cloud facility." VITA is investigating enhancements, controls and interfaces that will allow for expanded use of approved cloud platforms.

Shared Drives

Are Shared Drives available for use?

How do I set up a Shared Drive (Team Drive)? Can anyone make a Shared Drive? Or is restricted to an admin?

Do Shared Drives take up my personal storage space? 

Can I set up a shared drive across agencies? For example, a CommonHealth shared folder for coordinators at each agency

What happens to a shared drive when the owner leaves the agency?

Is there the ability to do a "Shared" Drive where multiple users have access to a non-human Drive account?

Shared Drives are not available at this time. Directions for using Google Shared Drives will be released when the feature is enabled.

Sharing and permissions

How does sharing work?

In Google Drive, you can share files or folders with people and control their level of access. Sharing documents with others allows you to work collaboratively with them at the same time. Yes, that means multiple people can be working on a single document together, at the same time.

The available levels of permissions that you can give to people you share documents with are:
a. Can edit—Collaborators can add and edit content as well as add comments. 
b. Can comment (select file types only)—Collaborators can add comments, but can't edit content. 
c. Can view—People can view the file, but cannot edit or add comments. 

How do I keep people from changing my document? 
  1. In Drive, right-click the file or folder you want to share and select share. In Docs, Sheets or Slides, at the top, click share. 
  2. Click advanced to view the list of people the file or folder is shared with. 
  3. Click the dropdown to select one of the access levels that do not allow editing (options b or c): 
    1. Can edit—Editing is allowed. 
    2. Can comment—Collaborators can add comments, but can't edit content. 
    3. Can view—People can view only, but not edit or add comments. 
  4. Click done. 

What if I don’t want people looking at my document?
If you don’t want people looking at your document, you can unshare the document with them by completing the following steps:
  1. In Drive, right-click the file or folder you want to share and select share. In Docs, Sheets or Slides, at the top, click share.
  2. Click advanced to view the list of people the file or folder is shared with.
  3. Click the “X” next to the people you want to remove from having access. If you want to remove access from all, click “X” next to each person.
  4. Click done.

How do I see who has access to my document?
  1. In Drive, right-click the file or folder you want to share and select share. In Docs, Sheets or Slides, at the top, click share.
  2. Click advanced to view the list of people the file or folder is shared with.

How do I change permission levels?

  1. In Drive, right-click the file or folder you want to share and select share. In Docs, Sheets or Slides, at the top, click share.
  2. Click advanced to view the list of people the file or folder is shared with.
  3. Click the dropdown to select a new access level:
    1. Can edit—Collaborators can add and edit content as well as add comments.
    2. Can comment (select file types only)—Collaborators can add comments, but can't edit content.
    3. Can view—People can view the file, but not edit or add comments.
  4. Click done.

Can I restrict others from sharing my files?
If you’re sharing a Google Drive file that you own, yes, you can stop people from re-sharing, downloading, printing, or copying the file or changing access permissions.


What if someone changes my content? 
If you have ‘owner’ or have ‘can edit’ permissions, then you can view changes made to your content, and even revert back to a previous version.
  1. In Drive, open your file.
  2. Click file and then version history and then see version history.
  3. Click a timestamp to see a previous version of the file. Below the timestamp, you’ll see
    1. Names of people who edited the document.
    2. A color next to each person’s name. The edits they made appear in that color.
  4. (Optional) To revert to this version, click restore this version.

How do I view changes in Drive files?
If you’re collaborating with several people on a single file, it can be difficult to pinpoint who made certain changes and when. Keep track of changes in shared files by identifying changes and who made them. You can also revert to a previous version.

1. In Google Drive, open your file.
a. From Docs, Sheets or Slides, select file version history > see version history.
b. Note: You need the ‘owner’ or ‘can edit’ permission to the file.
2. Click a timestamp to see a previous version of the file. Below the timestamp, you’ll see:
a. Names of people who edited the document.
b. A color next to each person’s name. The edits they made appear in that color.
3. (Optional) Do any of the following:
a. Click restore this version to make it the active version.
b. Click more > name this version to name a previous version.
c. Click more > make a copy to create a copy of a previous version.


How to switch to a different version of your file?
In the past, you might have kept multiple drafts of your files in case you needed to refer or switch to earlier versions. Google Drive keeps all your drafts in one file. You can easily view or restore earlier versions. You need ‘owner’ or ‘can edit’ permission to see the version history.

1. In Drive, open your file.
2. Click file version history. See version history.
3. Click a timestamp to see a previous version of the file. Below the timestamp, you’ll see:
a. Names of people who edited the document.
b. A color next to each person’s name. The edits they made appear in that color.
4. (Optional) To revert to this version, click restore this version.


Can I share documents with employees outside my agency?

Documents can be shared with employees from other agencies that have opted in to Google Drive. If you share a document with someone at an agency that has not opted in, the individual will get an email notification stating that you have shared a document with them, but they will not be able to open the document.

Documents cannot be shared with individuals that are outside of the COV domain. If a COV employee tries to share document with a non-COV domain individual, they will get a pop-up notification that says "Error. Sorry, an item cannot be shared outside of Commonwealth of Virginia."


Why can't individuals access my documents and folders even though I selected the link sharing option "On - Anyone at Commonwealth of Virginia with the link" or "On - Anyone at Commonwealth of Virginia"?

These sharing options are impacted by the Google Drive script that is specifically used in the COV domain. The only approved link sharing option is "Off - Specific People" which allows a user to manually type in the names of the individuals needing access to the document. If the link sharing option "On - Anyone at Commonwealth of Virginia with the link" or "On - Anyone at the Commonwealth" is selected, the script will update the document's sharing setting to "Off - Specific people." As a result, users will be unable to search for the document or access the document via a link.

Documents can only be shared with COV employees whose agency is using Google Drive. The names of people must be typed in the “Share with others” text field.

Why do users have to request access to my document even though I turned "On - Anyone at Commonwealth of Virginia" link sharing on?

This sharing option is currently impacted by a script used within the COV. The only approved link sharing option is "Off - Specific people" which allows a user to manually type in the names of the individuals needing access to the document. If the link sharing option "On" is selected, the script will will update it to "Off - Specific people."

Can folders and documents be shared with a group? 

Yes, documents and folders can be shared with distribution lists and groups.

Sheets

Can I convert macros from an Excel file for use in Google Sheets?

Excel files with macros should NOT be converted to Google Sheets -- the macros will break. The same is true in reverse: macros within Google Sheets will break if converted to an Excel file. Visit this link for more information on how to create macros in Google Sheets.

Storage

Is there any way to increase the storage capacity of a Google Drive beyond the user's mailbox size?

Yes, you can upgrade the user's license to business or enterprise to increase their storage size to unlimited at any time. If a basic license user exceeds the 30 gigabyte maximum storage and your agency is unwilling to upgrade their license, they will have to manually clean up their Drive and mailbox to regain storage space.

How much storage do I have?

Drive storage is based on the type of G Suite license you have. Basic licenses come with a combined 30 gigabytes across your G Suite services. Enterprise and business licenses come with unlimited storage across G Suite services.


Specific to users who have exceptions:

I am currently using Google Drive, what will happen to existing documents in Google Drive at go-live on Nov. 12?

If the document had "On - Commonwealth of Virginia" link sharing turned on, the document will no longer be searchable and will default to "Private - Only you can access" sharing settings.

If "On - Anyone at Commonwealth of Virginia with the link" link sharing was turned on, the document's link would break. As a result, when a user tries to click on the link they will get a pop-up message that says "You need permission," the user must click the "Request access" button, which notifies the document owner that the user is requesting access.

To ensure that your users are able to access the documents they need, click the "Share" located within the document and type in the user names that need access to the document prior to Nov. 12.