ICT Services 4 Education


Google Drive file sharing and security

When creating or storing any content in your Google NSIX account Google Drive it is important to ensure that the sharing configuration is correct and the content is not accessible to anyone that shouldn’t have access. This is particularly true of any content that may contain personal data or confidential information.  If documents containing personal data are accessed by unauthorised people then this has GDPR implications.


Checking a file’s sharing settings


In your Google Drive:

  • Click on a file
  • Click the ‘Share’ icon on the top right menu options   


  • The ‘Share with others’ box will appear. Click on ‘Advanced’
  • The ‘Sharing settings’ screen will appear. On this screen you can see how the file is currently shared and amend if necessary.

If you are viewing a file:

  • Click on the blue share button top right
  • The ‘Share with others’ box will appear. Click on ‘Advanced’ to access the ‘Sharing settings’ screen.



Sharing settings:


Who has access:

  • This section lists everyone who can access the document.
  • Click the icon next to each person’s email address to change their access or click the cross to remove their access.


The default sharing setting for any Google document is ‘Private – Only you can access’ as seen in the screen shot above. If you change this by clicking on ‘Change’  and choose to switch Link Sharing on then you need to be aware what each option means:


On - Public on the web: Anyone can search on Google and get access to your file, without signing in to their Google Account.

On - Anyone with the link: Anyone who has the link can access your file, without signing in to their Google Account.

On – Norfolk Schools (NSIX) : Anyone with an NSIX account in the Norfolk schools domain can log in, search for and access your file.

On - Norfolk Schools (NSIX) with the link: Anyone with an NSIX account in the Norfolk schools domain can log in and access your file via the link.

Off - Specific people: Only people you share the file with will be able to use it.


Note: Previously our Google domain was called ‘Norfolk County Council’ and the above configuration screen would have stated ‘On - Norfolk County Council’. Because this could be misleading we have now changed this to ‘Norfolk Schools (NSIX)’.  It is important to understand that if you have a document that was set to Link Sharing – ‘On – Norfolk County Council’ then anyone with an NSIX account could potentially access and view this document and not just Norfolk County Council employees.


In addition to these link sharing options, if you select a link sharing on option, you can configure what those who are able to access the document can do via the Access drop down:

Options:              Can View ( default )

                            Can Comment

                            Can Edit



Link to share (only accessible by collaborators):  The link provided at the top of the ‘Sharing Settings’ panel can be used by anyone with access to the document. You can send this in an email for example.


Invite People:  To share your document with specific people use the ‘Invite people’ option. 

Note: Only users signed on to a Google account will be able to view or edit shared files unless you have set the Link Sharing options to Public.

  • Complete the person’s email address and then click on the pen icon to set what access they will have to the document: View, Edit or Comment
  • Notify people – if the box is ticked then the person will receive email notification that you have shared the document with them.
  • Click send when you are happy with the settings.
  • Once added the person will appear in the ‘Who has access’ section.




Sharing settings and file searching:


By default, search results in Google Drive are limited to items that have been shared with you or that you’ve accessed.

However, if a document’s link sharing option is set to ‘People at Norfolk Schools (NSIX) can find and access’ or ‘Public on the web’, everyone in the NSIX domain can find that document by searching for it in Google Drive.



Google support pages:


  • Share files from Google Drive



  • Stop, limit, or change sharing