Google gives Apps admins more control over their files and docs

One of the new features allows IT pros to disable the ability to print, donwload and copy certain files

Google is giving systems admins more control over Apps documents in an attempt to alleviate concerns about securing company data after moving email and productivity software to the cloud.

Specifically, admins will be able to apply more granular policies for sharing files inside and outside their companies, as well as set custom alerts that are triggered by certain actions and events, Google said Tuesday.

"Security ranks at the top of the list of concerns that companies have about moving to the cloud," Scott Johnston, Google Drive's director of product management, wrote in a blog post.

For starters, it will now be possible to assign departments different files access rights, allowing for example marketing staffers to share their documents with outside parties, such as an advertising agency, while limiting engineers to collaborating on files only internally.

Apps admins will also be able to turn off downloading, printing and copying for any file stored in Apps' Drive storage service. At the other end of the spectrum, it will also be possible to provide access to files to people outside of the company even if they're not signed into a Google account, via emailed links.

Google will also let admins set up customized alerts, so that they'll be automatically notified when certain things happen, such as the deletion of a shared calendar or the external sharing of a file containing specific terms, such as "confidential."

Finally, it will now be possible for admins to let employees reset their own Apps passwords, instead of always having to involve the IT department in the process.

All of these features will be available in the coming weeks to companies that use Drive for Work, the version of Google Apps that costs $10 per user/month and includes unlimited Drive storage as well as other advanced IT management features like e-discovery via the Vault component.

The custom alerts and user-initiated password reset features will also be available for companies signed up for Apps for Work, the version of the suite that costs $5 per user/month.

Everyone using Drive will get access to the ability to disable printing, downloading and copying for specific files, as well as to the feature that lets people who aren't signed into a Google account access files via links sent by email.

A feature that's in the works is establishing temporary access to files, so that the people they're shared with will only be able to view them for a limited amount of time.

Juan Carlos Perez covers enterprise communication/collaboration suites, operating systems, browsers and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Juan on Twitter at @JuanCPerezIDG.

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Juan Carlos Perez

IDG News Service
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