The Beyond Blog

Four Quick Tips to Clean Up & Unclutter Your Google Drive

Cloud-based file share and storage platforms like Google Drive can make our lives easier, but often they don’t because they swell into a chaotic repository of files with no reason or rhyme. In the workplace, the ability to collaboratively access and change work-in-progress files is invaluable, and something that 67% of organizations deem to be business- and mission-critical. Content Collaboration and Access is Mission Critical for 67% of Companies The following are a few I recommend to help you gain control over Google Drive and other cloud-based file-sync-and-share (FSS) platforms. Multiple versions of the same file? Locate the two most recent versions and open them in separate tabs. Utilize Google Drive’s revision history to determine what changes were made between the two, and delete the outdated duplicate. If a file hasn’t been modified in 6 months or longer, is it still relevant today? Are there files stored that are related to long-completed projects? Can they be archived in another system and removed from your cloud storage drive? I prefer to start in ascending order and work my way toward more recent files. It’s much easier to weed out older files that are clearly no longer relevant or useful. TIP: Define a retention period for your Google Drive moving forward, and set a repeating calendar reminder to review files on your Drive. Separate work files from personal files, if you store any of the latter on your Google Drive account. Create and use one umbrella folder for your organization. Move the non-duplicate files that haven’t been modified in 6 months into an Evaluation folder, to be addressed with necessary team members to determine whether it can be If files on your Google Drive tend to serve an ephemeral purpose, you may want to create quarterly folders dating back to the oldest, still-relevant and critical content. If your role interfaces with numerous teams and departments, you may want to develop a taxonomy similar to your company’s structure. TIP: To learn more about the importance of Taxonomy to manage the ever-growing volume of information flow, watch our webinar on Taxonomy here. The easiest way to move forward after this is to identify what types of files you store on your Google Drive, or other cloud-based shared drive, and who needs to access it. Using Google Drive’s Folders, you can share only the content your team members need to access, and set edit/view permissions. While Google Drive and other similar products, like Dropbox and Box, can provide many of the functions you need to manage digital files, it’s often not an ideal solution at an enterprise level. The security levels may be subpar for your company, and as it’s stored on Google’s vast shared cloud, your IT team can’t effectively audit how data is being stored. When uncluttering your Google Drive, you should contact your Information Management and IT teams, and review their policy of shared drive usage. They may have a policy in place, but many companies, including 27% of companies surveyed still do not. Of those with policies in place, 26% of companies say they restrict network access to the most likely applications, like Google Drive and Box, while 17% say the policies are actively circumvented by employees. 27% of companies don’t have any policies in place on the use of Google Drive or other cloud-based file share and storage services. Without some type of process and policy in place for governing cloud-stored data, it puts the entire organization at risk if anything happens to go awry. In terms of effective management and control of business-critical content, enterprise companies should move away from cloud-based file share usage, like Google Drive and Box, and onto a secure and flexible enterprise content management platform. Many ECM companies lend more control over information storage and management through both a cloud-based SaaS option and on-premise hosting on a private server in a company’s datacenter. Regardless of your cloud-based file sharing platform or hosting solution, you need to regularly chip away at any clutter or data rot, and ensure that all necessary teammates have access to the files they need. Developing a strategy to tackle the clutter that accumulates on FSS platforms, like Google Drive and Box, will make your day-to-day and long-term management of content far simpler. If you have any questions about this post, contact the author at mktg [at] If you’d like to learn more about FileTrail’s Enterprise Content Management platform, please get in touch: