Shared cloud drive for the whole team

We have been using a shared folder on Google drive for our team to collaborate on different things. It has worked very well for us. (Except for maintaining files when a student leaves the program. When the student deleted a file, it is deleted from the shared folder as well) Using the shared folder allows our entire team to view documents, videos, and whatever we need them to easily without much set up. (Just share the folder with them)


Recently we have lost almost everything we had in the folder. When we look at the activity log it shows Google “automatically placed” hundreds of files (apparently) back into the main drives of the original owners. And we have no idea why.

This would be devastating but for the fact that we have be backing up the data. (Yeah for good data practices) Although we haven’t backed up since 2019, it’s not as huge a loss as it could have been.

The real issue is that Google KEEPS doing this. I don’t know why, but it seems at least once a week (sometimes within a day) everything we put in the shared folder gets put back into the original owners main drive. This makes the shared folder virtually useless to us.

We’ve tried contacting Google with no response. I tried looking it up to see if there was a solution, with no luck. We thought about buying our own “google workspace” but it is to expensive. We are not a nonprofit, and the school will not even give the mentors direct access to the computers because we are not school employees. (We are going to request some help again from them, but we’re not real hopeful)

Actual question:

What alternatives could we use? We average anywhere between probably 30-100 members in a given year. We need a single solution that would hold any kind of file, (for business, build, and media teams) possibly certain parts could be accessible by parents as well, and is easy to administrate. (The team leads are NOT programmers LOL) Also something where the team would “own” the files when placed there would be great.

Thanks so much for your help.


Have you considered creating a Google account for the team? That way, all files can be created and edited from that account. That’s what worked for us.


My team does this, as well as uses a Google Shared Drive. It acts like a regular Google Drive, but everything within it is automatically shared with everyone in the drive. There is also the ability to limit who can do what in the Shared Drive, so if there is a need for moderation, that can be done. I would suggest using the team Google account to make it though, so that way it becomes the ultimate power for the drive.

As a non profit, you can get google for nonprofits which would allow you to set it up as if you were a business. Nonprofit Management Resources - Google for Nonprofits

Op says in their post they wouldn’t qualify for this as they are not a non-profit.

I would agree with the other suggestions above though. Look at making a team Google account and setting up a shared drive with that. Has worked great for my teams in the past.

Since you are asking for alternatives, we use one drive because Google is usually blocked on the school network.

It’s not as good, and I particularly like Google forms way better, but it suffices mostly.

Insert Rant Here -

Your school BLOCKS Google??? Now that’s a new one for me. Around here at least, the schools practically worship Google. Makes things super challenging for outside mentors (ie, non school employees), and trying to convince the powers that be, that no, a Chromebook is not an all in one solution to tech classes (No SolidWorks/Inventor, 3d Printing or CAM software etc.). Or that the rest of the world doesn’t solely run on Google suites (Anyone heard of this super old/ancient software package called “Office”?)

Rant Over -


It takes a little extra to learn if you only know inventor, but I highly suggest it if the school is only allowing Chromebooks.


Definitely aware of Onshape as an option, and love the browser based implementation. The hickup for me/the team, is that all our Mentors are trained in SolidWorks, a vast majority of the industry around us uses SolidWorks (including several sponsors), and frankly, I have never met a company (so far) in the area that utilizes Onshape.

I’d really rather not ask my mentors to learn an entirely new software and workflow, and train my students in a software that they will likely never carry over to industry, all because our school board insists on using Chromebooks. Personal laptops and the odd contraband Windows machine will have to do for now :woman_shrugging:

– Sorry for hijacking/derailing the thread here a little :sweat_smile:

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To clarify, they block Google drive (and the docs/forms within). You can use Google search.

But they’ve got “Microsoft for schools” or whatever the proper term is so they force one drive and outlook on their teachers and students.

But github is also blocked… Which is dumb since it’s also now owned by Microsoft or something.


When will GitHub transfer to using your Microsoft account and being an office 365 product? The day the domain name gets sold to some other service.

That’s the first thing we thought, but it cost to much to add each user. Could we sign up as a single user (the team) and create a shared drive that everyone else can use with their personal accounts? Or does everyone have to sign in under the teams name? (I am ignorant how anything but the free Google works, sorry)

That was the original idea, but then we saw the price for “Google workspace” was per user and that’s where we stopped.

Is that different than a Google Workspace account?

We don’t have this problem. The school has their own Google accounts. Even just to get on to a computer the kids have to sign in with their account. The problem is the school refuses to give any of the mentors an account because we’re not employees, so we can’t even sign into a computer to turn it on ourselves. We will often use laptops and just access Google with our own Id’s.

That’s what I was thinking. The main document is created under the team account. If you want to share with others, do so.

If you all have school made Google accounts (like whatever@school/, then it should be free because of the education license. You just have to use one of those accounts to create it, I think. I don’t know exactly how that works.

That is a problem. I would go back to the school and see if there’s any way to get you guys accounts. Some possible useful arguments to make:

  • Easier tracking of student/mentor communication for YPP purposes (with individual accounts, there is no tracking).
  • Whether you’re being paid or not, mentoring the team is just the same as coaching a sport - do their coaches get email addresses?

With us, we used a shared Google Drive without problems for a long time. Then in 2017 the school transitioned to a google account (from Microsoft), and as part of the restructuring got all the mentors their own accounts too, using the above rationale.

This had a couple of big benefits for us, and the school has been super supportive with our use of the google account.

  • We’ve been able to create Team Drives, which have one big benefit over shared folders: the drive itself owns the documents, not individuals. You have control over access privileges, so you can make sure no one can accidentally delete files. (converting over to it wasn’t so easy… the files being in different domains means they can’t just have ownership transferred and dropped into the drive. I wrote a small java script that used Google’s API to copy the files over so they were owned by an account in the new domain, and then that account could add them to the team drive. I still have that script if anyone needs it!)
  • We can create templates for the team, so our “official” documents all have proper branding and look the same
  • We can use Groups, letting us set up general shared email addresses that forward to certain people on the team, and maintain YPP best practices, like not giving out individual student emails to outsiders, and ensuring mentors are copied on outside emails.
  • We could set up our domain to point to gmail - so my email address also works with (the same for all of our groups!)

We do plan to try again. (Although this will probably be the 2nd or 3rd time this year alone. But, you know, squeaky wheel and all.) Hopefully with the new information that everything is getting removed automatically by Google they might be more understanding of our position.

No, actually they don’t unless they are a school employee. But most sports don’t need access to the computers the way we do, so while it seems like a good argument. It wouldn’t do us any real good.

The YPP thing is a good argument and we will continue to stress that as well. Thanks.

We will continue to fight for it, (Even if we find another solution) But at this point I’m hoping to find something I don’t HAVE to rely on the school for. Even as a backup solution because our history tell us the school doesn’t seem very reliable when it comes to our team. Like so many teams out there we’re just not what the school expects or is used to dealing with and approving requests are difficult at best.

Do you have to have special privileges to create a shared drive? Could one of our students do it? Wouldn’t be perfect, but maybe we could use it as a “stop-gap” measure until we could figure out a more permanent solution.

I’m not sure, to be honest. I just right-clicked on the shared drive area and created the ones we use. (specifically, we have 3 - one that everyone on the team can access, one that only the captains and mentors can access, and one that only the mentors can access. This lets us control access to sensitive information - for example, we handle financial reimbursements (copies of receipts, invoices, etc) for mentors where students can’t get access to mentor’s home addresses or personal phone numbers, captains get access to the full roster, including all sorts of contact info for students and their parents. It’s tough right-sizing data access, but it generally works, and can be adjusted if needed!

Google removed this capability from standard free accounts and basic workspace accounts recently. You must have one of these subscriptions (found here):

Business Standard and Plus; Enterprise; Education Fundamentals, Standard, Teaching and Learning Upgrade, and Plus; Nonprofits; G Suite Business; Essentials.

Yeah, the school has an educational account/domain for it… thought i had mentioned that, sorry for any confusion!

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