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G Suite Admins Blog > G Suite Admin

Your Complete Google Drive Enterprise Admin Guide

google-drive-enterpriseIn the past, if you wanted to access all the file sharing and storage features of Google Drive, your only option was to sign up for a full G-Suite Business subscription. Though for most people, the addition of extra useful features like Gmail, Calendar, Sites,etc wouldn't have been much of a problem, those tools quickly become more frustrating when you're paying for features that you don't need, want or use. Fortunately, in 2018, Google rolled out a new solution for people who were eager to sign up for Drive but didn't want the additional productivity tools of Google Workspace ( G Suite).

Introducing Google Drive Enterprise.

What Is Google Drive Enterprise?

According to Google, a standalone version of Drive had been in demand from enterprise customers for quite some time now. The service gives users the option to access Google Drive, without the additional features of G-Suite. It's a great way to save some extra money if you don't need the other tools that come with G-Suite.

The decision to offer Google Enterprise Drive as a standalone feature was a positive strategic move by Google, and an excellent way for the company to show that it can deliver more than just desktop productivity applications and legacy email tools. Enterprise Drive helps teams to work more effectively together through file sharing, content collaboration tools, and storage solutions.

The cloud-based content management platform combines Google-grade safety and security features with the latest innovations in real-time collaboration, artificial intelligence and more.


The Benefits of Google Drive Enterprise

Ultimately, Google Drive Enterprise delivers the same familiar experience that you're used to if you've used the Google cloud to manage and share files in the past. With tools like Microsoft Office available, users can open, comment on, and share more than 60 different types of files through the web. Additionally, Drive Enterprise allows you to track your collaborative workflow by showing you who is actively editing files to prevent conflicts in documents and version overrides.

If you already have a comprehensive collaboration strategy in place, then Google's integration opportunities mean that Admins can continue to empower their teams through tools like Salesforce and Slack too! Other benefits include:

  • Google-grade Security: Every aspect of the Google Google Workspace ( G Suite) is protected using security standards that exist within the heart of Google. On Enterprise Drive, you can keep your private content secure, while still making sure that critical team members can access the files that they need. The Data Loss Prevention tool is even available to alert administrators when sensitive information is discovered.

  • Manage compliance with vault: If you're concerned about legal audits and compliance, Google can help with Vault, accessible through your Google Enterprise Drive account. What's more, Team Drives ensure that you always have complete control over the internal employee permissions.

  • Built-in AI: Ensure that your employees can access the files that they need fast with built-in state of the art machine learning and artificial intelligence features from Google. The Drive Enterprise edition experience comes with features like Quick Access to reduce the time you spend searching for files by up to 50%. Additionally, Drive Enterprise comes with machine-learning empowered search to help you find the most relevant content based on frequent collaborators, commonly shared files, and meeting occurrences.

  • Modern content management platform: Access the content you need anywhere with an easy-to-use cloud-based storage system. Google Enterprise Drive makes collaboration simple with solutions for easily sharing files, requesting approvals, tracking versions, and more. Additionally, there's always the option to access additional productivity with extras like Sheets, Docs, and Slides!

  • Manage sharing permissions: Admins have complete control over the access that their users have to the Team Drives and content within Google Cloud Enterprise. Team members will automatically see the same files regardless of who adds or moves them, and data can be edited in real-time, so you don't have to worry about team members working on old versions of projects.

  • File Sync and Share with Drive File Stream: Access all of your content on the cloud with ease using Drive File Stream. Available as part of the Early Adopter program, this tool allows teams to quickly stream files from the cloud to their computer so that all company data can be accessed on a laptop or computer, even if the device has limited space.

  • File System Migrations: Make moving your files to the cloud easy with AppBridge. This tool from Google helps you to migrate from on-prem, hybrid, and cloud-based solutions into Google Drive. You can move files easily from content management systems and cloud platforms, without having to worry about a complicated transition.


How to Access Google Drive Enterprise

Google Enterprise Drive is the unlimited cloud storage solution that's free from additional tools like Google Calendar and Gmail. To sign up for and start using Drive Enterprise, you'll need to sign up for access with your business email address. However, you can also potentially access additional features by verifying your domain.

When you sign up with your business email, you'll be able to add users that exist in the same email domain as you. However, as the IT admin for your organization's domain, you'll also be able to verify your accounts and unlock features like identity management, security controls, auditing, and so on.

Features that are available through email sign-up alone include:

  • Files available from any location or device
  • Collaboration features
  • Remove or add drive users
  • Assign super admin roles
  • Access Docs, Forms, Slides, Sheets and Drawings
  • Admin Directory
  • Google Sites (Internal sites for team projects)


When you authenticate the Google Drive Enterprise domain, you'll also have access to features like:

  • Groups and groups for business
  • Add domains
  • Manage security settings
  • 2-factor authentication
  • User profile management
  • Custom admin roles
  • Audit logs
  • Google Vault for secure files
  • Data loss prevention


Additionally, users with Google Drive Enterprise will also have the opportunity to upgrade to the entire Google Workspace ( G Suite) experience at any time during their time with Google. To make it easier for companies to access the full Google set-up, there is also a range of partner migration tools available that companies can use to move their business data into Drive Enterprise.


Billing and Prices for Google Drive Enterprise

Perhaps one of the main reasons why a company would consider using Google Drive Enterprise instead of Google Workspace ( G Suite) is that it allows them to access a more cost-effective Google experience if they don't use additional Google Workspace ( G Suite) tools. When you sign up for Google Drive Enterprise, you won't be charged for your usage straight away. Instead, you get your first fourteen days as a "free trial," during which point you can cancel at any time.

When the trial is over, Google Drive Enterprise gives administrators the unique opportunity to access storage and cloud support on a pay-by-use basis. The monthly bills you receive will work like this: First, you pay for the number of "active" users on your Google Drive system, then you pay for the amount of storage accessed by your organization.

Per active user: The price per active user is $8 (USD). You'll pay the full amount for every active user, even if the person on your Google account doesn't necessarily complete a number of different charged activities during that time. You'll also pay the full amount for any active users if your subscription is cancelled in the middle of the month for any reason.

Per storage used: The additional cost for Google Drive Enterprise is connected to the amount of room you use. The price is $0.04 per GB per month. To track how much space you're using, Google measures the amount of storage you're using in MB per hour. As you begin to use additional storage, the number of MB will increase, and Google can add up your total usage at the end of the month, dividing it by the number of hours you used that storage for.

At first, this unique approach to billing might seem complicated, but it means that you're only paying for the exact amount of space you're using on the Google cloud. According to Google, the majority of users today only use 200GB or less on Google Drive Enterprise, meaning that they can achieve cost-savings of between 30% and 80%.

For instance, imagine you were paying for Google Workspace ( G Suite) for 100 users (some of which aren't always active), but only using the drive function. Instead of spending $10 per user per month on tools that you didn't use, you could be spending around $560 for your active users and $140 for GB usage.

Additionally, Google offers users the option to pay for their Google Drive allowances in their local currencies, although the payments will be calculated using US dollars. This means that, depending on what the exchange rate is at the time of your payment, you may discover that your costs go up and down according to economic fluctuations, even when your storage and users remain the same.


Understanding Active Users and Monthly Storage

To get a better insight into the price and cost-saving potential of Google Drive Enterprise, it helps to understand how Active Users and monthly storage are calculated. The first thing you need to know is that Google identifies an active user as anyone in your team who takes part in a "charged" activity during the month. Even if your user only accesses one charged activity, you'll still need to pay the full price for them that month. Some of the charged activities that Google tracks include:

  • Downloading, viewing, printing, or previewing Drive files
  • Changing the contents of a file, uploading files, removing, renaming, copying, or moving files.
  • Adding files to the Drive
  • Managing membership for a Google Team Drive
  • Sharing data with colleagues or changing the sharing permissions on a Drive file
  • Syncing new editions of edited files


If a user accesses and changes a record during the course of a month, then they will be deemed an "Active" user. However, if the owner of that file doesn't do anything with the document in the payment period, then they will not be seen as an active user until their file is synced. Certain actions on Google Drive Enterprise won't trigger the active user charge, such as:

  • Browsing through, searching for, or sorting files
  • Looking at the "View" details panel of a file
  • Syncing unchanged files
  • Changing settings on Google drive
  • Accessing files shared by people outside of the business domain


When it comes to the charges for monthly storage, Google Drive Enterprise is charged according to the amount of GB used by everyone in your organization. The files that contribute towards this storage price will include:

  • Non-Google Doc editor files like photos, videos, audio files, Office files, and PDFs
  • Files in user's trash folders
  • Data owned by suspended accounts
  • Files held within the Google Vault

Data excluded from your GB count will include Google Docs, Slides, Sheets, Forms, Drawings, Maps, Sites, and folders.


Is Google Drive Enterprise Right for You?

Although there's a good chance that Google created Enterprise Drive as a launching pad for customers who weren't yet ready to embrace the full Google Workspace ( G Suite) experience, there are various benefits to using this system for companies in the mid-market. If you're not prepared to move away from your desktop-based productivity applications and legacy email tools yet, or you want to take a hybrid approach to your cloud experience, then Google Drive Enterprise could be the ideal solution.

In 2018, Google's Drive solution hit a milestone of 1 billion users, and it's easy to see why. Not only is the Drive incredibly easy to use, but it also comes with all the immersive features that administrators need to keep their teams secure and productive in a transformative business environment. If you're ready to discover the benefits of the cloud for storage and file sharing, but you don't need the other features of G-Suite, Google Drive Enterprise is the answer you've been looking for.


Contact Coolhead Tech today to find out more about making the most out of your Google Cloud experience.