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Share Google Files Securely: The Why and How

Use correct Google share settings to keep data secure
Wednesday, September 21, 2022
Infographic showing Google file share access levels and guiding principles. Described below.

Share Google Files Securely at Stanford

Guiding Principles

  1. Share with the fewest people and lowest level of access/permission as the work allows.
  2. Be aware of searchable settings that may unintentionally share the file with others.
  3. Reduce sharing permissions or delete files if no longer needed.

Access levels, listed in order of best for use with Lower Risk Data to High Risk Data

  1. Anyone in the world (lower risk data)
  2. All of Stanford can find in search results
  3. All of Stanford must have link to access
  4. Specific people
  5. Only me

For step-by-step instructions, visit

View the infographic page to download or print.

Google share settings can help Stanford community members keep our data safe.

Yet, if not set correctly, file and folder share settings can also compromise Stanford’s data–and people. 

Let’s look at why and how to always choose Google share settings carefully .

What’s at risk?

Incorrect Google share settings create a risk for data security breaches. It can even put you and your colleagues in harm’s way.

For example, during a fast-moving project needing quick collaboration, it might seem easy to create a shared link for “Anyone with the link.” However, that type of shared link could also allow the file or folder to spread further than you ever intended. 

Carefully choosing Google share settings helps to prevent non-public data from becoming accessible outside of the Stanford community and ensures information is available only to those who need it.

Guiding principles

Always remember these three guiding principles when choosing your share settings:

  1. Share with the fewest people and lowest level of access and permission as the work allows. 
  2. Be aware of searchable settings that may unintentionally share the file with others. 
  3. If no longer needed, reduce sharing permissions or delete files.

Combining these principles with an understanding of Stanford’s risk classifications will help you make the best sharing choices.

Searchable settings can be adjusted when creating a shareable link for Stanford University. Choosing whether your content is searchable across Stanford University is an important factor for data privacy and security.

To help you remember the three guiding principles and apply best practices, save or print the Share Google Files Securely Infographic (also shown above).

How to update Google share settings

Visit to learn step-by-step instructions on how to apply Google share settings.

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