Using Google at UAS – Part 1

Here at UAS we have access to the Google Suite of tools.  Last month there was a great webinar by our own UAS Helpdesk guru Traci Taylor and Webmaster Colin Osterhout.  They dug into Google and what we can do with it here at UAS.  I was given permission to share that meeting, and am splitting the webinar into short sections for you.  I plan to show these clips over the next few weeks. 

In these videos you will see hints and tips on topics such as Google calendar, and features about your mailbox that you may not have known.  Today we will start with some overall information about Google. This should help when you are deciding if Google is the right place to store documents, and how to retain documents over time.

The following was shared in the training and is to provide guidance on how G Suite should be safely used at UAS.

Points to Keep in Mind

  • Google’s strength is in personal sharing and collaboration. It is not as strong at securing institutional/department records, especially in the long-term.
  • Google provides features to enhance security, but these are not well known and can require IT assistance to set up.
  • The suitability of Google for an application depends on the current Google contract language.

Key questions when considering the use of Google (G Suite):

  1. Is there a need to control the retention of materials (data, documents, etc.)?
    A lack of retention control may result in records being unexpectedly lost or unintentionally retained longer than they should. Retention control is especially important for some internal-use document or FERPA protected records.
  2. What kinds of documents/records/data are involved?
    UA data classification standards are found in UA regulation R02.07.094. Additional information is on the UA Records and Information Management website.
  3. University regulation provides three classifications (Public, Internal Use, and Restricted):
OK To Add To Google
If You Are Not Sure Talk to the Helpdesk
Do Not Put In Google Drive
Data approved for general access by appropriate UA authority.UA has best practice (due care) reasons to protect data.Protection of data is required by law or best practices.
Risk LevelLowMediumHigh
ExamplesPress statements; brochures; job titles/descriptionsInternal committee documents; public research; supporting
documentation for business functions
Educational records; medical records; counseling notes; protected research; credit card/banking numbers; SSNs
GuidanceRecords classified as public can be placed and freely shared in G Suite.Internal-use records can be placed in G Suite; however, records should either not be shared, or should only be shared with managed groups.Most restricted records should not be placed in the Google environment. There are exceptions. FERPA protected data can be in Google; however, precautions must be taken.
adapted from R02.07.094

It is strongly recommended that staff consult with IT prior to using G Suite for restricted data.

Retention of Records

In all Public, Internal Use, and Restricted cases, the need to control the retention of records may require different approaches to how G Suite is used.

Retention control not a concernRetention control needed
PUBLIC DATA1) Normal Google Use
Keep private or share as needed
* Draft public documents
* Press statements
* Agenda or minutes for public meetings
2) Institutional Ownership
Change owner to
* Campus promotional material
* Final versions of documents
* Non-confidential forms & data
3) Managed group sharing
Share only with managed groups
* Draft non-public documents
* Short-term work-team documents
* Individual professional notes
4) Google “Fileshare”
Institutionally “owned”, managed access
* Forms/data supporting department processes
* Departmental records
* Committee work, minutes, etc.
Not suitable for Google
Use alternative tools (seek guidance as needed)
* HIPAA data (ex: health records, counseling records)
* PCI/Financial data (ex: credit card info, banking numbers)
* Protected personal information (ex: SSNs)
* Sensitive/protected research

1 Normal Google Use

For public data with no retention concerns, documents can be created, retained or shared with others (both
internally or externally) without concern.

2 Institutional Ownership

Most Google documents are “owned” by the user who initially created them. Since records are purged when
personal Google accounts come and go, and it is important to change the owner from an individual to an
institutional account in order to retain control over document retention. The institutional account exists to ensure records can be retained as individuals come and go.

3 Managed Group Sharing

Employees may retain their access to Google long after they are terminated from the University. This means
that they will continue to have access to any internal-use or restricted records which have been shared with
their personal Google accounts.

For non-public records, it is important to either not share the documents, or to only share with managed groups. A managed group is one which is either maintained automatically by IT, or which is actively managed by department staff. Many managed groups exist already. Example of current groups include: current faculty and at each campus, specific departments such as IT or Admin Services, and various committees and work-teams. IT can assist with creating new groups as needed.

4 Google “Fileshare”

This is the most secure strategy for storing records in Google. A Google “Fileshare” is very much like a
traditional windows departmental fileshare. It combines the functions of institutional ownership (#2) with
Managed Group Sharing (#3). Document placed in a “Google Fileshare” folder will automatically become owned by the fileshare account and access is controlled by an associated managed group. Contact the IT helpdesk to request the setup of Google fileshares.

Thank you for reading the FLC! See you next week!