Best Practices For Managing Google Drive Files When Working With Teams

When running a business, files and documents can pile up fast and sometimes you don’t even realize you are missing a file or document for weeks, months, years. 

Did you know that just because you own the folder, doesn’t mean you own the files inside of that folder in Google Drive? 

That’s one very common misconception with business owners when they start utilizing help within their business. And honestly, most of the time business owners don’t realize how important it is to know who owns the files within shared services until it’s too late.

Below are some tips on how to make sure you don’t lose access to important documents when utilizing a team. 

I’m focusing on Google Drive as that’s what I utilize the most when working with teams, but you could use these same routine tasks with any shared files service to make sure you don’t lose access to important documents.

Dedicated Google Account For Admin/General Docs + Folders

You might be tempted to think you don’t need another google account, but I promise that fee (if using google suite) of an extra account could save you thousands in the long run. 

If you are working with a virtual assistant (VA), you should REALLY have a google account set-up for them that they are required to use when doing work for you (I would personally list this in their contract). This way you have ownership of all files they create, use, and download. 

Here’s a scenario…

you ask your VA to go and download all your branding photoshoots pictures from your photographers delivery system. If she downloads them and uploads them using her logged-in google account, guess what she owns those files in google and they count against her storage limit. So when she quits or moves on, she deletes those files and you do longer have the photos from your $3000 branding shoot. 

Routine Document Checking

Build into your routine + your team members routine to make sure that folders are indeed owned by that adm account. If not they need to make a copy and delete the original owned by them.
I recommend you have administrative staff check their files once a month.

If you are working with contractors, have it as part of your monthly administrative tasks to make copies of all files not owned by your general/adm account.

If you aren’t responsible for the above steps I recommend you or your project manager check all files once a quarter.

You can easily use the search feature to see who owns what files within your drive.

When A Team Member Leaves

When a team member leaves your service, you definitely want to make sure you have access to all your files and you remove access to those files from them.

Here’s a quick checklist:

  • use the above search feature to make sure they are not the owner of any files.
  • create copies of any documents they are listed as owner of
  • removing team member from all shared folders
  • changing password to any shared google account 

Important Documents Should Have Non-Accessible Back-ups

While I don’t think you need to have backups of ALL of your Google Drive Files, I do keep separate copies (not accessible to the team) of any important docs that might be shared. Things like:

  • Branding Files/Templates
  • Bios/Website Copy
  • Brand/Headshot Photos
  • Contract Templates/T&Cs, etc
  • SOPs/Other Business Process Templates
  • Original/Finalized Design Files (like opt-ins, workbooks, etc)

And if you are producing the above regularly in your business, add it in as part of your monthly or quarterly administrative tasks to store copies in your non-accessible drive. 


These are small easy steps you can take to prevent a possible business operations nightmare later in your business.

You seriously don’t want to be juggling copying 1000s of files over when a VA you’ve had for a year is walking out the door, or lose thousands of dollars worth of copywriting work you never made a copy of when that contractor needs to make space in their drive. 

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