Google Drive is a great product for productivity and has been adopted by many organizations both private and public as a cloud document creation and management/storage tool. The benefits of Google Drive are vast (look into it) and for the purposes of Business Continuity, it provides some key features that every Business Continuity Manager can use for the control and distribution of Business Continuity Plans.
Some benefits/key features of Google Drive:
- Hosted by Google – Take advantage of Google’s high availability and resiliency.
- It is not on your IT Infrastructure – Google’s infrastructure and geographical distribution reduces operational risk.
- Document Sharing – Documentation is easily shared and controlled.
- Security – Google provides infrastructure and documentation/asset security.
- Mobility – Google Drive for iOS and Android have a great user experience and are easy to use. In fact, most of your users/customers already use Google Drive.
- Local Sync/Storage – Google Drive can sync to the web, local and mobile storage.
There are many ways that Google Drive can be used for Business Continuity, but I am going to focus on the easiest implementation which can be a quick win for your BC Organization. We are going to maintain and share Business Continuity Plans via Google Drive which among other things will add a higher level of accessibility and redundancy to your Business Continuity Program..
The reality of our current environment is that most organization are still using Business Continuity plans maintained in documents (Word or Spreadsheets). If you are lucky enough your organization has a great Document Management or Business Continuity software system where you maintain Business Continuity Plans and distribute them in a controlled manner. If you are even luckier this system also has a mobile application that allows users to sync their Business Continuity Plans to their device in case they are needed in an emergency and all of the features and functionalities of this system can be provided at the same level of availability and resiliency as Google. Now a system such as this sounds great, but in reality not many of us have access to system as described but if your organization has access to Google Drive, we can setup a Business Continuity Plan storage and distribution system in a couple of minutes including syncing to mobile devices.
I’m going to show you how to setup a simple Business Continuity Plan deployment for Google Drive containing web, local and mobile sync. What does that mean? It means that we will create a central location in Google Drive to load and maintain our Business Continuity Plans. These plans will be shared with your Business Continuity Team and every time that you update these plans your Business Continuity Team will automatically receive the updated document by an activesync to their Google Drive web, local and mobile storage. Therefore your Business Continuity Team will always have the most up to date documentation even on the go!
The only prerequisites are that your organization has access to use Google Drive and that the people that you will be sharing the Business Continuity Plans already have or have the ability to create Google Drive accounts.
The guide to creating a Business Continuity Plan deployment in Google Drive contains the following steps:
- Create a Business Continuity Plan folder in Google Drive and uploading your Business Continuity Plan. – This folder will be the centralized storage location for the Business Continuity Plan document(s). For the purposes of this guide, we will create one folder named “Business Continuity Plans” but you and create a folder structure to reflect your needs.
- Sharing the folder with your Business Continuity Team. – To be effective, we need to share the Business Continuity Plan folder with our team. In this step you can control the security that you would like placed on the documents. For detailed security options see the Google Drive security documentation.
- Provide direction to the Business Continuity Team how to save the folder to “My Drive” for Google Web Based Syncing.
- Install/verify the Google Drive Desktop Application for Local Syncing.
- Install/verify the Google Drive Mobile Application for Mobile Syncing.
We will start with Step 1. creating a Business Continuity Plan folder in Google Drive and uploading your Business Continuity Plan.
- Login to your account via the web at Drive.Google.com.
- On the left hand side menu click “My Drive” .
- Click on the button labeled “New” and select “Folder” .
- In the ” New folder” box type in the folder name, we will type in ” Business Continuity Plans”
and click “Create” the folder will be created .
- Now double click on the folder Business Continuity Plans folder and then click the “File upload” option . This will display the file explorer and proceed to find and select your local Business Continuity Plan file and click ” Open” .
- Your file will now be uploaded to Google Drive and we will move on the the next step sharing our files.
In Step 2. we will share our Business Continuity Plan with our Business Continuity Team and additionally anyone that you would like to allow access.
- We have two options for sharing, we can either share the whole Business Continuity Plan folder or we can share the individual Business Continuity Plan document within the folder. For the purposes of this guide we will share the whole folder. To do so, click on the Business Continuity Plan folder on the left hand menu to activate it and then click on the “Share” button .
- The Share settings pop-up box will be displayed, click the option for “Advanced” to display all security options, in addition you can reference the detailed security options Google Drive security documentation.
- In the “Invite people:” box, add the email addresses of all of the individuals that you would like to grant access to the folder and to the right hand side of the box select their security/permissions.
- Complete all permissions options to your liking and then click the “Send” button. You may see an addition box pop asking “Are you sure?”, click “Yes” and your document will be shared.
Step 3. is to ensure that your Business Continuity Team saves the Business Continuity Plan folder to their “My Drive” so it can be automatically be synced to their Google Drive web, local and mobile.
- To sync to Google Drive your users will need to login to Google Drive and do the following.
- On the right hand menu click “Shared with me” and then have the user select the Business Continuity Plan folder and have them drag and drop the folder into the folder labeled “My Drive”.
- After dropping the Business Continuity folder into the My Drive folder Google will automatically sync it to the web and all available activated sync locations (e.g Google Drive desktop and mobile).
In Step 4. let’s ensure that your Business Continuity Team is syncing to the local Google Drive desktop application (i.e. local storage).
- First ensure that the Business Continuity Team has Google Drive installed on their desktop. If they do not have it installed they can follows these directions “Install Google Drive on your Mac/PC” if you cannot install it directly call your IT.
- If installed or after installation go to the desktop or file explorer and select the Google Drive folder . If Google Drive was just installed allow a little time time for the folder to sync.
- Within this folder the user should/will see the “Business Continuity Plans” folder and when they open the folder they will see the “Business Continuity Plan” document.
- From this point on when you update the Business Continuity Plans within your Google Drive Business Continuity Plans folder, the plans will automatically sync to the user’s local Google Drive folder.
Now in Step 5. let’s ensure that our Business Continuity Team is syncing to their mobile devices.
- First ensure that the Business Continuity Team has Google Drive installed on their mobile device. If they do not have it installed they can download and install the application from the Apple App Store or Google Play.
- If installed or after installation go to the application screen and select the Google Drive icon and launch the application. It might take a couple of seconds to load/refresh the Google Drive contents.
- Within this application the user should see the “Business Continuity Plan” folder and open the folder to see the Business Continuity Plan document .
- From this point on when you update the Business Continuity Plans within your Google Drive Business Continuity Plans folder, the plans will automatically sync to the user’s mobile device when the application next launches.
- In addition, you can direct your users to select the option to “Keep offline” option for the document. This will allow the user to keep an offline version of the document on their device at all times. To see if you would like to use this option please review “Google Drive Keep Offline documentation“.
Good luck with your deployment!