If you’re a small business owner, you’ve likely used a personal Gmail and Google Drive account, and at some point discovered you needed to upgrade to a G Suite account. Maybe you added headcount or needed a business email address with secure document storage and sharing capabilities. Regardless of why you made the decision, there’s a definite right way to set up Google Drive and configure G Suite.
Here’s a quick guide on how to get started.
One of the first steps to setting up G Suite is deciding who should be admins, as well as what level of privileges to assign to each person on your team. As a general rule, you should only grant the minimum permissions needed for administrators (and try to limit the number of privileged users overall).
There are three key roles that are important for SMBs to consider in the setup process. Anything beyond these roles is probably not necessary until you reach a certain level of growth.
User Management Admins can perform all actions on users who aren’t administrators, including creating or deleting users, or managing users’ passwords and security settings. These might be the people in the organization responsible for employee onboarding and offboarding, such as an HR team member.
Now that you’ve assigned your admins, it’s time to set up your Google Drive.
The Super Admins should be the ones to set the standards for how Google Drive is set up in your organization. For example, the Super Admins should set up a folder structure from the outset that make sense based on your business’s needs. When you create a new folder, it’ll appear in your own “Drive”, and you can share it with the right users from there.
Leaving the rest in the hands of employees can sometimes create chaos, so it’s important to give clear instructions on how you’d like your files and folders maintained. For example:
If you have G Suite Business or Enterprise editions, you can take advantage of Team Drives (and you should!)
With Team Drives, once you have your users added to G Suite, you can set up groups to create distribution lists for teams. Groups can help admins manage access to documents, sites, videos, and calendars. In addition, groups can make it easier to manage access and admin privileges.
A best practice is to sync Team Drives to Groups for easier document access management and employee onboarding and offboarding. With Team Drives, files belong to a team rather than an individual. This feature makes your data far more secure (but more on security later).
For example, if you create a new Team Drive folder for a specific Group, and if an employee leaves the organization, offboarding that employee becomes as simple as revoking access to the group (there’s no need to transfer document ownership for dozens or hundreds of documents or completely reset permissions). To share a Team Drive with everyone in a group, simply invite that Group name to the Team Drive settings.
Security policies are only followed when they’re easy for users to understand. Better yet, if you can set up security best practices that feel almost invisible to the user, your small business will be protected against many potential security incidents.
Some basic G Suite security best practices for SMBs include:
Using Google Identity / Single Sign On: Many SaaS apps both inside and outside the G Suite Marketplace offer Single Sign On (SSO) with Google functionality. This feature is useful for admins who want to know which permissions people are giving to which apps.
Checking App and File Sharing Reports: Another important function of the G Suite Admin Console is reporting. Two especially useful reports are “Apps Usage Activity” and “File Sharing Activity.” Using these reports, you can discover whether there’s suspicious activity happening within a Google App, or whether there’s an unusual number of shares outside your domain that might merit a security investigation.
Taking the time to properly set up your Google Drive and G Suite account can ensure that your business — and your employees — are protected for years to come.
Tim is Founder and CEO of ZipBooks. He keeps his desk really nice and neat.