Google Drive for your Business?

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Are you considering using Google Drive to host your business data? If so, you might want to read this article about the security issues we have identified.


Google Drive and Google Docs have become increasingly popular in recent years and have some great features. We recommend them if you want to set up webforms and capture data remotely without incurring any costs. We also love their document collaboration features, but it’s not all good if you want to use Google Drive to host Microsoft Office content.

Excel Security

If you open a Microsoft Excel document via Google Drive online it bypasses any worksheet protection you have applied. It bypasses workbook structure protection too. And it even exposes worksheets hidden by macros. In short, anything you publish online is going to be all out there.


One of the things we like about many of the current cloud applications are that they allow you to store documents on your own computer and have them synched to the cloud. Google Drive does this too…….unless your file is too large. Then it will only let you retain the document in the cloud. Less that ideal! Even worse is that the file size is not massive. We ran into problems below 2Mb.


Collaboration is a great tool….in some situations, not all. Google Drive supports collaboration, but annoyingly it can’t be turned off. They advise users to stop sharing the content if they want to stop collaborating. This isn’t the same thing. Sometimes it makes sense to have a document ‘checked out’ to a specific user for editing. This is not possible in Google Drive / Docs.


Despite the collaboration tool. When we tried to use it on a large complex Excel file, we found that it did not work and both users ended up with their own unique versions of the same document (even though they had successfully ‘synched’ back to the cloud).

We also found that if synching has stopped….and it does frequently, this can cause problems. We had a customer delete 200 files, but when a colleague synched his computer after not having done so for a few weeks, the 200 files returned.


In summary, Google Drive and Google Docs is great for personal use. Schools are also making good use of it (or is that just because of Google marketing. It has some really useful features which are attractive for businesses.

However, if you are considering using it to manage your Microsoft Office documents, you might want to think again.


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