Google Drive FAQ

See the following list of common questions about Google Drive.
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General Questions

Google Drive Utility Questions

Technical Questions

General Questions

What is Google Drive?

Google Drive is a cloud-based file storage and synchronization service. It allows you to store files in the cloud and share files with others easily. Google Drive is also an office suite, which includes the apps Google Docs (word processing), Google Sheets (spreadsheets), Slides (slideshow presentations), and more. You can collaborate with others to edit Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides concurrently.

What is “cloud-based” storage? Where are my files actually stored?

The “cloud” is a term for a network of servers all working together to provide a service. The “cloud” actually isn’t a cloud at all but is a shorthand term for describing a network of servers spread around various locations. When you store files on a cloud storage device, that means that the files are stored on a server network owned by the storage provider rather than in one physical location (like a computer’s hard drive).

When you upload a file to your Google Drive, that file is now stored in numerous copies (called “redundancy”) on Google’s server network, which is comprised of many data centers spread all over the world. For more information on Google’s data center network, go to Google’s Data center locations page.

The cloud is seen as more secure because there is much less risk of losing files. Cloud-stored files are accessible from anywhere with internet access. On the other hand, files stored on a physical hard drive are not as secure; if the hard drive fails, all of its files are lost.

Why is UCA using Google Drive?

With UCA switching to an Active Directory (AD) networking platform, faculty and staff need to store their computer files in a more secure manner (for more information about this transition, go to the Active Directory page). Google Drive is an ideal file storage option because:

  1. Cloud-based storage is far more secure than local storage on computer hard drives. Any files stored on your C: drive are vulnerable if your computer’s hard drive crashes. If your hard drive fails, files can be corrupted and/or irretrievable. Files stored in the cloud, however, are always available from any computer with internet access.
  2. Every UCA account already has a Google Drive associated with it. With the cloud storage infrastructure already in place, you can start storing your files on Google Drive right now to prepare for UCA’s transition to AD.

What are the advantages of using Google Drive compared to other file storage services?

Google Drive’s benefits include the following:

  • Easy online access to all your stored files – Because all files are stored in the cloud, you can access any of your Google Drive files wherever there’s an internet connection. Just enter your UCA username and password at myUCA, click the Google Drive task, and all of your files are available.
  • Safe way to back up your files – When your files are stored on Google Drive, you never have to be concerned about losing your files in the event of a computer crash. If IST must re-image your computer, your files on Google Drive will remain untouched.
  • Unlimited storage space for UCA accounts – G Suite for Education users have unlimited storage space, which means you never have to worry about running out of space to store your files.
  • Collaboration features – When you create Google Docs, Sheets, or Slides, you can share these files with others to edit.

How do I access Google Drive?

There are two main ways to access Google Drive:

  1. The web-based Google Drive platform – You can access the web-based Google Drive platform easily through the Google Drive task on myUCA.
  2. The desktop-based Google Drive utility – With the utility installed on your computer, you can open, organize, and store files in your Google Drive as if it’s a folder on your computer’s hard drive. For more information about the Google Drive utility, see the questions and answers in the section below.

How do I save files to Google Drive?

The easiest way to save files to your Google Drive is to move files to your computer’s Google Drive folder. When you’re logged into the Google Drive utility, it will automatically sync any files in that folder to your Google Drive account in the cloud. As long as you open and edit files through this Google Drive folder on your computer, your files will stay backed up in the cloud.

In addition, you can upload files using the web-based platform, as well as create Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides within the browser.

May I store personal files on my Google Drive?

While you can store personal files on your Google Drive, IST does not encourage this practice. Because all UCA technology belongs to the state of Arkansas, the University has full jurisdiction over the files you store on any of your devices, including your computer’s hard drive, your network drives (personal or pool), and your Google Drive account. Should UCA lock your account for any reason, you will lose access to any files in your Google Drive, both for work and for personal use. Should you need to access any personal files while at work, IST recommends using a personal flash drive or a Google Drive associated with a consumer Google account (ending with @gmail.com).

How can I learn more about Google Drive’s features?

IST offers specialized training sessions on Google Drive. For more information or to register for a session, go to the Training page.

Google Drive Utility Questions

What is the Google Drive utility? How does it work?

The Google Drive utility is an application installed on a computer that allows you to open and save files

The utility synchronizes (or “syncs”) all of your Google Drive files with all the devices you use, copying all the files to those devices. If you have the utility installed on several devices (such as your UCA-issued computer, your home computer, your mobile phone, etc.), you can access all of your Google Drive files from any of those devices as long as you are logged in. If you edit a file on one device and save your changes, the utility will sync those changes with the file on your Google Drive so that all devices have the most up-to-date version of the file.

How do I install the Google Drive utility?

Computers imaged by UCA IST since late July 2016 already have the Google Drive utility installed. If your computer does not have the utility installed, refer to the Knowledgebase article Google Drive: Installing the utility.

Technical Questions

What types of files can I store on Google Drive?

You can store virtually any file type on Google Drive. Google Drive office suite files (including Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides) are all native to Google Drive, which means that they can only be stored and opened within Google Drive.

Which browsers work with the web-based platform for Google Drive?

For the best Google Drive experience with the most features, use the Google Chrome browser. Most other browsers will run the web-based version of Google Drive but with more limited functionality.

How much space do I have on Google Drive to store my files?

You have unlimited space on Google Drive with your UCA account. Note that this is unique UCA’s license with G Suite for Education; consumer Google accounts (with emails ending in @gmail.com) also come with Google Drive accounts, but these accounts have limited storage space and require paid subscriptions for upgraded capacity.

What about HIPAA or FERPA data?

You can store any files with HIPAA or FERPA data on your network O: drive or pool drive. These network drives are local to UCA’s network and can only be accessed on campus.

What happens to the files stored on Google Drive if I leave UCA?

One of three things happen, depending on the circumstances:

  • If you retire from UCA after ten years of service – You will retain access to your UCA account, which includes your Google Drive files.
  • If you retire from UCA with fewer than ten years of service, or if you otherwise resign from your position at UCA – In most situations, you will have 90 days of access to your UCA account. During this period, you can archive any of your files, including emails from Gmail and files from Google Drive.
  • If you are terminated from UCA – For security reasons, IST will lock your UCA account, which includes access to your Google Drive. Therefore, the best practice is to not store any personal files on your Google Drive.
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