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Migration to Google Team Drives for Enterprise

Google Team Drives Best Practices

In today’s highly connected and collaborative world, organizations are recognizing the benefits of empowering employees and teams with the tools that make collaboration in this high-tech age possible. Many public cloud technology offerings help to eliminate the complexities of being able to allow team members to collaborate despite different geographical locations, sites, or other physical boundaries. Shared storage became a staple for organizations of every size. Google Team Drives is one of the premier collaboration cloud storage spaces.

In this post we will take a look at Google Team Drives, what are they, what are a few best practices organizations can use to outline a migration to Team Drives, and how can they begin to perform the initial evaluation of resources to migrate?   In the next post, we will continue looking at migrating to Team Drives including – deciding who migrates files and how they are migrated, whether professional services should be leveraged, staged vs single cutover migrations as well as the importance of backup and recovery of Team Drive Drives.

What are Google Team Drives?

Google Team Drives are shared spaces where teams can easily store, search, and access their files anywhere, and from any device. Many who are familiar with the Google ecosystem may have utilized the My Drive as a personal public cloud storage account. However, unlike files stored in a My Drive account, the files on the Team Drive belong to the team and not to any individual. This is an important benefit to Team Drives – file permissions of an employee do not have to be assumed if an employee leaves. Files that are put in Team Drives are automatically shared with members of the Team Drive. These files can also be shared with others in the organization as well that are not members of the Team Drive.

The ease of administration with Google Team Drives allows G Suite organizations to be agile when it comes to provisioning and deprovisioning storage and collaboration tools for employees, as well as to quickly and easily set appropriate permissions on public cloud resources. This helps to make the onboarding process for organizations efficient and streamlined, and allows them to have the access they need quickly.

Google has also poured countless research and development into what they call “Quick Access,” which leverages powerful machine learning techniques to provide the most relevant documents as soon as you visit the Team Drives home screen. Google has been able to cut the time it takes to find the documents you need in half with the power of “Quick Access” machine learning algorithms. The accurate predictive models that have been developed computes a relevance score for each of the documents in the Team Drive, and top scoring documents are presented at the top of the home screen.

As we can see in this overview of Google Team Drives, organizations are able to benefit from the power, efficiency, and ease of administration simply by migrating from on-premise, or other public cloud file storage, to Google Team Drives.

How to Migrate to Google Team Drives?

There are several areas of thought that need to go into a successful migration to Google Team Drives from either on premises file servers or individual Google My Drive storage. These best practices include but are not limited to:

  • Performing evaluation and discovery of current file, folder, and share resources used by the organization and various departments who will comprise members of various Team Drives.
    • Potentially utilize AppBridge Surveyor
  • Decide who migrates files and how the migration is performed.
    • Potentially utilize AppBridge Transformer
  • Enlist professional services to assist with the migration.
  • Will this be a staged migration or a single cutover?  If staged, how will data be accessed during the interim?
  • Backup Google Team Drives data – Organizations must plan on how to start backing up Google Team Drives data during the migration and thereafter.

Performance Evaluation and Discovery of Current File Resources

By far, one of the most important aspects of any migration is understanding the data that is being migrated. The importance of proper evaluation, discovery, and planning when it comes to any type of migration cannot be stressed enough. Well before the cutover date of implementing team drives, organizations need to have a thorough understanding of the data, where it lives, and who accesses it.

All too often, users may utilize obscure file shares or other unknowns when it comes to server resources including files and shares that applications may depend on. Making a point to thoroughly document and understand where data lives for all departments, as well as how any applications make use of this data, makes a migration to Team Drives much easier.

Recently, Google acquired a company called AppBridge whose sole focus is to allow organizations to seamlessly migrate on-premise data to G Suite. Additionally, AppBridge allows organizations to migrate to Google’s platform from other cloud services such as Box.net, Microsoft SharePoint, Office 365, etc. There is a cost involved for the AppBridge products.

AppBridge Transformation Suite

AppBridge helps to take the heavy lifting out of the discovery phase of the migration project. Surveyor, which is AppBridge’s tool for the discovery phase, helps organizations evaluate and discover key resources that need to be migrated.  Its features include:

  • Scan – A scalable, efficient scan and collection of information about source systems both on-premise and in the cloud.
  • Report – Surveyor creates very useful reports on the layout of the data involved with the migration, from folder structure and shared information, either public or private.
  • Analyze – With the analysis performed by Surveyor, organizations can make data-driven decisions based on the content that is needed, and how this data should be represented in the Google environment.

Benefits to using AppBridge for the discovery phase

  • Ability to discover the content you have, and analyze what needs to be migrated
  • Determine how to reorganize your resources to maximize G Suite value
  • Make use of quick and efficient scans that have little impact on business-critical systems
  • Help identify potential roadblocks in the migration, including folders, insufficient permissions, etc.

As shown, the AppBridge Transformation Suite is a powerful tool that organizations can utilize in performing the initial discovery and evaluation of resources to migrate.  Even if not using the AppBridge tool, organizations must realize and understand the importance of this step in the process as often it can mean the difference in a successful or failed migration to Team Drives.


In this post, we looked at Google Team Drives, what are they, what are a few best practices organizations can use to outline a migration to Team Drives, and how can they begin to perform the initial evaluation of resources to migrate.  Proper planning and evaluation beforehand is a crucial step for organizations as it identifies and evaluates resources to be moved.  Utilizing powerful tools such as Google’s AppBridge Transformation Suite can make this process much easier and more effective as well as efficient.  Next, we will continue to look at the migration process to Google Team Drives as we delve into deciding who migrates the files and how, using professional services, staged vs. single cutover, as well as the importance of backing up Team Drives.

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William William Tran Product Manager
About Author

Will Tran is the Product Manager at Spin.AI, where he guides the product's strategic direction, oversees feature development and ensures that the solution solves his clients’ cybersecurity needs.

Will is a security professional who started his career at Lockheed Martin where he worked on National Security Space programs in business development and product management.

Will holds a BA in Economics and Mathematics from UCSB and an MBA with a specialization in Technology Management and Marketing from UCLA Anderson School of Management.

At Lockheed Martin, Will developed the multi-year strategy campaign and supported the product development satellite program for the United States Air Force, which resulted in a multi-billion dollar contract.

During business school, Will consulted 2 non-profit organizations as part of a series of national consulting case competitions. He set strategic priorities, optimized business operations, and developed a process to qualify new revenue streams for his non-profit clients. These initiatives resulted in 15-20% increase in gross profit.

In his spare time, Will can be found at local coffee shops around Los Angeles, traveling to different countries, or hanging out with his cat.

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