It used to be when you asked someone to leave your company, or they left, you simply changed alarm codes and keys, or asked for their swipe card back and reset their access info. It’s more complicated now. This isn’t always personal, sometimes it’s just best practices to protect your clients, remove liability from the former person, and protect your intellectual property. This holds true for contractors, vendors, and strategic partners, as well as employees. This is a factor when it comes to how we set up client folders and assets.

When your staff or team creates assets for your company, do you have access to everything they do for you? Are you able to edit? Change ownership? Change who has access? This is necessary. It’s easy to not keep track of all of this access because we let everyone do their part without micromanaging. You can review this on Drive to see who the owner is and who has what levels of access. First thing to check is that you have full rights or your company admin has full rights to make changes to content and access, as well as ownership.

Here’s the thing about Google Drive and when you have your company set up as an ORGANIZATION. Just because you invite a client in to have full access to their files, they really don’t have full access. Your ORGANIZATION owns them and you cannot transfer ownership from one organization to another. I hadn’t realize this a few years ago and thought I could give a former client all of the ownership to their files – easy – few clicks and done. Nope. Louise and I parted amicably and I did everything I could to make this happen. She ended up having to save a copy in her company’s Drive so she could add team members and have ownership. That took a lot of time neither of us counted on, and she wanted to be the owner, not just anyone at her company, so she had to do it since she never shares her logins with anyone but her husband. She and I still shake our head as to how complicated that became, and a massive waste of time duplicating everything. Then, she invited me into THOSE documents in case she ever needed help down the road. We both still laugh about it.

It’s helpful to have a client on-boarding plan not only for your client, but for your team to know the steps and expectations as they work on the account or project. Here are some questions you will want to discuss and include in your client on-boarding and project procedures.

  • Who sets up the client folders when you add a new client or project?
  • Who is the owner – your company or the client’s?
  • Do they need to be under the client’s account and they invite you in, or can you be the owner and you invite your team individual members, and client into the folder? Same with sub-folders.
  • Do you allow them to share the items on your drive with others, especially people you do not know?
  • Do you allow people in your company to access the files with a personal login in addition to the company one? Sometimes smaller companies, and larger ones, do this to make it easier, but that causes security issues, and ownership issues later. Better to have a policy that only the company email can view, edit, etc. It may be a bit more inconvenient if they have to log out of Google as their personal account and back in as the company account, or whatever file sharing service you use. We prefer Google Drive because it’s easier to make overall changes and to work collaboratively on the same file with versioning history.

There is no right or wrong procedure, but not asking enough questions up front can be a pain, as it was for Louise and I, later.

If you need to make changes, you can always do an advanced search “by person”,  or “not owned by you”, by file type and location to see who owns and has access to what. There are many more restrictive options available if you use Google Workspace Admin Console. Their support is fantastic and I’m barely getting through all of the possibilities for  managing apps, devices, users, and reporting. It’s been helpful for troubleshooting spam issues and a variety of other issues.

Here is an issue I’ve seen and experienced with YouTube. Depending on how you login to YouTube and the channels you are able to manage, you may be in a rush and not realize you are liking yet one more video with tiny, cute kittens playing AS YOUR CLIENT’S CHANNEL. This does have an effect on algorithms. You can catch it, and unlike. You will want to remind your team who manages your YouTube channel and that of your clients to make sure they are logged in as themselves when they are taking a break watching comedians, old Rocky and Bullwinkle cartoons, and past episodes of Friends.

Finally, if you work from home and have to share your computer, remember to logout of work stuff before someone you share with accidentally deletes, edits, or comments on client or company profiles and files.

(Photo by Andrea Piacquadio:

(Video by Grasya Moon: