Collaborating with External Colleagues Using Google Workspace

Permissions for all collaborators

Sharing Option 1: Collaborator with a Google account

Sharing Option 2: Collaborator without a Google account 

Data management support

Data management recommendations

Additional resources

 

Permissions for all collaborators

  • Always use name-based permissions. 
  • Avoid using “anyone with the link can access.” 
    • Never use this option for any level of sensitive data. Bad actors can find this information. 
    • This option could be considered for a document publicly shared for research and reporting reasons. 
  • Consider not allowing colleagues with edit rights to change permissions.

Sharing Option 1: Collaborator with a Google account

  • If your collaborator has a Google account, you can begin sharing files. 
  • The Google account is needed for:
    • Ongoing access to view or edit files
    • Creating, uploading or deleting files and folders
  • The account can be their institution’s Google account (preferred) or one they create themselves. 
  • Account permissions
    • These work the same way for every institutional and personal Google account.
    • In most situations, store data in Google Shared Drives, where permissions are determined by roles. See Shared Drives Access Levels.
    • In an unusual situation that requires storing data in a generic account (using My Drive), use the normal My Drive permissions. 

Sharing Option 2: Collaborator without a Google account 

  • A collaborator without a Google account could create one in either of two ways:
  • If using a non-Google account, the collaborator:
    • Can receive a collaboration invitation with a link to a shared file.
    • Must use the PIN included in the email invitation to verify identity.
    • Will have only seven-day visitor access.
    • Can renew the seven-day access multiple times, reusing the email and PIN each time to verify identity.
    • Can view, comment on or edit shared files or folders, thanks to Google’s Share Documents with Visitors feature. 
    • Can share only folders and these file types:
      Google Docs, Sheets, Slides, Sites, Images, PDFs and Office files
    • Cannot create, upload or delete files and folders.
    • Cannot be a member of a Shared Drive

Data management support

Data management recommendations

  • Avoid data loss when people leave.
    • Store shared data in a Google Shared Drive instead of a shared folder in My Drive.
    • This allows uninterrupted data sharing if the My Drive folder owner leaves the project. 
  • Manage data access easily in one place using Google Groups.

Additional resources