Our volunteer organization has a shared google drive folder. We have years worth of files and folders. The contents are all owned by the various members who created them over the years. It recently came to our attention (while making a planned account migration) that any user with Edit permissions could move all content out of the shared folder to their own account, and we'd have no way to recover the data. Individual users would still own their own files and could search for them, but there's no way I can find to put everything back the way it was.

How does our organization continue to use the low barrier-to-entry Google drive and docs ecosystem while protecting ourselves from this scenario?

  • Are you using a shared personal account or a paid Google WorkspaceSuiteApps one? Are you mostly storing regular files or "web only" Docs/Sheets documents? Commented Aug 21, 2022 at 16:56
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    Make a local copy. Not only can the folder be lost through malicious behavior, but through an accident in Google's cloud. At the worst, you could restore all to Google or even anther cloud service, such as Box or DropBox. Commented Aug 21, 2022 at 17:31
  • google-drive is a tag use for a deprecated installable client. The question doesn't look to be about using computer software, hardware or personal networking as it's defined in help center.
    – Wicket
    Commented Apr 10, 2023 at 8:36
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    @Rubén my mistake. I thought superuser included IT and didn't realize that it's only for hobbyists and individuals (going by that help center link). I now see that there's a security stack exchange site for Information Security that may be more appropriate.
    – Harvey
    Commented Apr 25, 2023 at 16:53

2 Answers 2


You can periodically download everything to a local hard drive.

At least you could restore your data back to that date.

Another thing you want to have the data on your google share, and then share it with others. This way your account has all the files on it.

You might be able to use Google Takeout to back up your files.


You will need to organize the files in separate sub-folders for each user or subject.

You will then share these sub-folders with the users by assigning them the Edit permission only on their own sub-folders, with perhaps the View permissions on the rest.

For more information see Share folders in Google Drive.

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