Inside TDV - The Data Vault Blog

Organizing Shared Drives

If organized properly, shared drives can be a major asset to any modern records management program. Unfortunately, these spaces seem to regularly morph into chaotic public folders filled with confusing groups of unstructured documents; making it difficult to efficiently find and retrieve information. By understanding some of the common problems with public drives and following a logical methodology to addressing them, team members can develop a systematic approach to sharing and storing information. Start with these steps:

Designing Folder Structure

Folders should be customized to each team. To get an understanding of each department’s unique needs, you’ll need to talk to staff to conduct a file and document analysis. Interviewing employees from each business unit will also give you an understanding of high-level business requirements, as well as security settings and functionality they need. The document and file analysis will give you an idea of what kinds of folders and files staff are using, what records they are creating, and insights into permission needs.

Once you’ve gathered this information, you can use it to create draft designs of the folder structure and incorporate standardized records management principles, such as an existing functional classification scheme or retention schedule. Creating these structures doesn’t require expensive software; it can be done in a word document or spreadsheet.

Documenting User Permissions

Now you can start determining and documenting user permissions for the various folder levels. By creating user groups based on permission, security and access requirements, you can eliminate inconsistent access. User permissions also:

  • Ensure employees have access to information they need
  • Protect confidential and sensitive information
  • Decrease the on-going role of information technology staff, since they won’t have to contend with constant access requests

Preparing for Implementation

Getting a handle on a mismanaged shared drive doesn’t have to be a daunting task. Breaking the process down into logical steps will make it easier to tackle even the most chaotic drive, but make sure to securely back up all data before beginning the implementation. Communication throughout the transition to a new organizational structure will make everyone involved more confident about the changes, and help ensure the success of the new system.

The Data Vault has been helping clients with information management since 1984, and building on that foundation of trust and expertise is a critical part of our mission. If you have questions about best practices or need guidance during this time of change in the business world; contact us and one of our team members will be in touch.


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