Picture this. You’re working with a new vendor and need to share a few documents so you can collaborate with them. The documents contain relatively benign company information but nothing you’d like to be made public. This vendor doesn’t have the same standards of compliance as your company, and you’re really only going to work with them on this specific project that will end at the beginning of Q3.
What can you do to make sure this vendor’s access ends when it needs to, without spending loads of unnecessary time searching for and changing the permissions on old documents?
Many Google Workspace users don’t realize they can set an expiration date for specific files in their My Drive. (Please note: this feature is not yet available for shared drives.)
When you create or share a file, you can decide how long the accounts you’re sharing with will have access to the file and what kind of access they can have.
This comes in handy when working with vendors or customers who you know will end their contract by a certain time period. You can give them temporary access and then choose an expiration date within a year of the current date.
Why it matters
When it comes to security, setting an expiration date can help when the accounts you’re sharing with don’t need access in perpetuity, especially with third-party collaborators and vendors.
Allowing vendors and former contractors access to documents leads to all sorts of access risks.
For example, a vendor may have access to a document with sensitive information and then give other people in their company “Editor” permissions to the document. Those employees in turn can grant access to other employees or even make the document public. Before you know it, anyone with an internet connection can view your sensitive data.
It helps to set an expiration date so that those who currently have access, will lose access once their contract ends.
Note: Although you can set expiration dates on documents you own, Nira is the only current tool on the market that allows visibility into inbound documents: documents that are owned externally and shared with accounts at the company. For information about protecting access to all your documents, including those in archived and personal accounts, visit here.
How to set the sharing expiration date
- Open a file in Drive, Docs, Sheets, or Slides.
- Click “Share” > find the user you’d like to give temporary permissions to.
Note if you haven’t shared the file with that person yet, add the user’s email and click “Send” or “Share.” At the top right of the document, click “Share” again.
- Next to the person’s name, click the Down arrow > “Give temporary access.”
- Next to “Access expires,” click a date to set as the expiration date. Choose a date within one year of the current date.
5. Click “Save.”
Setting a sharing expiration date on your documents is good practice, especially when working with external vendors or contractors. It’s one more key step to bolster the security landscape around your company and customer data. Admins can educate their users on this simple security measure, and for a deeper dive into best document security practices in Google Workspace, download our free ebook.