Shared drives are a great way to collaborate, but not if you’re spending more time sifting through outdated or unnecessary files to get to what you need. One of the problems with shared drives is that no one person can take responsibility for keeping it up to date and cleaned up. It’s easy to let things slide, but an overgrown shared drive not only diminishes productivity but also poses security and compliance risks.
It’s time to tame this records management nightmare, reduce your risks and improve productivity. It’s time to build a better shared drive.
Start with a solid information framework
If you don’t have the right folders with the right labels, you will have a mess. Base the structure of your folders on the organization framework that is already well established and understandable to all employees. Every document in your drive will pertain to a department within the company. Structuring it that way will make finding files intuitive rather than hit and miss. For documents that will be the same for all departments, like HR, create separate folders to avoid duplicating files.
With a logical framework in place, it will be easier to assign permissions for information on your drive. Your drive may be shared, but that doesn’t mean every employee needs access to all the information on it. By only allowing access to users who need that specific information, you can help to reduce the risk of the insider threat.
Create user groups and assign employees to groups to more easily manage permissions. It’s not only easier to manage permissions with groups, but it helps eliminate ad-hoc permission giving that can be time consuming for managers.
Purge unnecessary files
Before moving to the new and improved drive, clean up the old drive to avoid taking the old mess with you to the new shared drive. Ask employees to move unneeded files into a purge folder. The remaining files can be migrated into the new structure.
While purging files, it’s also a good idea to reconsider your file retention policies. Take a look at what’s being tossed and how long you’ve held onto it. These details will help you establish your new retention policies.
Educate your users
Creating new folder or renaming old folders within the new framework can create chaos in a shared drive. This may seem simple enough for records management professionals, but it can be absolutely baffling to your marketing department. Have the conversations and offer the training before moving to the new drive. No doubt your entire team will understand the benefits of a cleaned up shared drive, but that doesn’t mean they know how to keep it that way.
When you create your new framework, don’t rush the process. Optimizing your shared drive will take time and planning, but it will make up for that lost time in productivity and decreased security risks after the migration.