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Team Drives

About Team Drives

Team Drives are shared spaces, allowing groups to create files and folders that are automatically shared between a group of collaborators and do not have a specific owner - instead, they’re owned by all members of the team, allowing access to remain even if someone leaves the organization.

Google’s learning center, external link gives a full overview and step-by-step instruction for Team Drives features. You can also visit their help page, external link for additional support.

Top 4 Benefits of Using Team Drives

  • Access: Every Google Drive user has access to Team Drives, which means there’s no need to add the folder to their own My Drive. Team Drives is now a menu item on the left.

  • Ownership: In Team Drives, files aren’t owned by an individual, they’re owned by the group. Even if an employee leaves Ryerson and their accounts are deleted, their files remain in Team Drives.

  • More permission controls: Team Drives introduces a fourth level of permissions, beyond edit, comment and view. ‘Full access’ members can prevent others with editing access from deleting files or adding new members to the Team Drive.

Deletion: Team Drives have their own trash bin that can restore files and permanently delete files after 30 days.

Limitations of Team Drives

  • Folders cannot be shared from a Team Drive. Edit and full access members of the Team Drive can share individual files outside the group, but entire folders cannot be shared.
  • Files you don’t own cannot be moved into a Team Drive. Only the file owner can move the file into a Team Drive.
  • Folders cannot be uploaded or moved into a Team Drive. New folders must be created in the Team Drive and files moved into them accordingly.
  • Only full access members can delete files from a Team Drive. Editors do not have permissions to delete.

Deciding Between Team Drives and Managed Departmental Folders in Google Drive

While both options are similar in having files owned by entire groups, managed folders are often recommended for departments to configure shared folders. However, here’s an overview of when Team Drives and managed departmental folders are most suitable.

Team Drives are Best for

  • Users with a project-specific need for a shared folder for group members.
  • Those who want something that can be created on their own.
  • Straightforward folder structures that don’t need to be shared or patrolled (Team Drives allows individual file sharing but not entire folders. As well, only full access members can delete files in a Team Drive).

Managed Folders are Best for

  • Departments using complex folder structures with various sharing permissions set for people at the sub-folder level.
  • Automatic sharing and transfer of file ownership to the department
  • Users who need flexibility moving files in and out of the managed folders, even if they don’t own it.

Comparison Chart of Features: Team Drives vs. Managed Departmental Folders in Google Drive

The following chart shows how each option handles a specific feature. If you wish to configure a folder for your department, we recommend the managed departmental folder options.

Feature/Functionality

Team Drives

Managed Departmental Folders With Google Drive

File ownership

No one individual or account “owns” any of the files moved, uploaded or stored in a Team Drive.

Ryerson creates a departmental account on your behalf that automatically takes ownership of all files in the folder.

Sharing permissions

4 permission levels available:
  • Full access: Can manage members and upload, edit, move or delete files.
  • Edit access: Can edit files, upload new files, share files with others outside of the drive. However, cannot move or delete files.
  • Comment access: Can make comments and suggestions. Cannot change or share files with others.
  • View access: Can view files.
3 permission levels available:
  • Edit access: Can manage members, upload files, edit, move or delete files.
  • Comment access (available on individual files only): Can make comments and suggestions, but cannot change or share the file with others.
  • View: Can view files.

When a file with existing sharing permissions is moved into a Team Drive or managed departmental folder

The sharing permissions, even with those not part of the Team Drive remains intact on the file. The Team Drive members also inherit permissions on the file. Only an owner of a file can move it into a Team Drive.

Folder option 1:
The original sharing permissions remain intact, even if those people are not part of the departmental folder group. The departmental folder group also gains permissions on the file.

Folder option 2 and 3:
The original sharing permissions with those not part of the departmental folder is removed.

Ability to set sharing permissions for files newly created in the Team Drive or managed departmental folder

Individual team members with full or edit access can share files in the Team Drive with other individuals (note folders cannot be shared, only individual files).

Individuals with edit access:

Folder option 1:
Can change permissions and share files in the departmental folder with others.

Folder option 2:
Can share files in the departmental folder with others.

Folder option 3:
Cannot share files in the departmental folder with others. Sharing of the folder is controlled by a Google Group.

Sharing a subfolder

Not currently a feature. Team Drive members with full or edit access can only share individual files with people outside of the team.

Folder option 1 & 2:Subfolders can be shared by anyone with edit permissions.

File deletion

Only those with full access to the Team Drive can delete files from it.

Anyone with edit permissions to a folder can delete files.

Deleted file retention and recovery

Deleted items go into the trash bin for 30 days, after which it is permanently deleted and unrecoverable.

Anyone with full or edit access can recover a file within the 30-day time period.

Deleted items are removed from the shared folder but remain recoverable by the department ownership account. Contact CCS for support finding, recovering or permanently deleting files.

Uploading and moving files into the Team Drive or managed departmental folder

Those with full or edit access to a file can upload or move files, but only if they also own the file being moved.

Those with edit access to a file can upload or move it into a managed folder. Once moved, the file’s ownership will be automatically switched to the department and the file’s original sharing settings will be as follows:

Folder option 1: The original owner will still have edit access.

Folder option 2 and 3: The original owner will be removed from accessing the file completely.

How it appears in my Google Drive

Team Drives appear as its own category directly below My Drive in the left navigation menu.

Managed departmental folders appear as a shared folder in Google Drive.

Creating a Team Drive or managed departmental folder

Team Drives can be created on your own by adding members to the Team Drive.

Managed departmental folders can be configured by contacting CCS.