Who Owns That?

Managing Your Data

Every day, people log in to Google, Canvas, Dropbox, ARC services, OneDrive, and other services across the University of Michigan. They access data that creates knowledge for their research, teaching and learning, patient care, and university administration. But who owns those documents, images, files, and other types of data?

Information and Technology Services has tips below for learning who owns what data and ensuring that data lives on in the right place with the right person.

Is my data in the right place?

Storage Finder

Got data? We can help you find the right home for it. The Data Storage Finder is designed to help you find storage solutions to meet your needs. It is not intended to be a complete or comprehensive catalog of storage services available at U-M.

Researchers can check out the U-M Research Computing Package on the ITS Advanced Research Computing (ARC) website to learn more about allocations provided by ITS.

Sensitive Data Guide

This ITS-created guide is designed to help you make informed security and compliance decisions about which IT services to use when collecting, processing, storing, or sharing university data. This guide is not intended to be a complete or comprehensive catalog of all IT services available at U-M.

Data Management & Classification

Certain data needs to be stored in specific places. This includes data protected by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), or International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR).

Classification of this data is up to the data steward. If that’s you, check out the Safe Computing Sensitive Data Classification page to make sure it’s stored in the right place.

Not sure how a specific data set should be classified? Questions or concerns about specific classifications should be directed to Information Assurance by contacting the ITS Service Center.

Sharing Files

  • Sharing in Google Drive

  • Sharing in Dropbox

  • Sharing in Microsoft OneDrive

Tips for Sharing Google Drive Files/Folders

Google provides a vast set of features to assist you when collaborating on and sharing files and folders in Google Drive. While this list does not include everything, the following are the top ITS-recommended tips and best practices for sharing in Drive:

  • Use caution when choosing permissions for your files and folders in Drive to ensure the privacy and security of university data.
    • Only the individuals who own U-M data should fully control who can access it.
    • Only share your files with those who need them.
    • Set permission levels to the minimum level of access needed for a collaborator. (If they don’t need to edit the file, don’t assign them as an Editor.)
  • Use link sharing with access set to the "University of Michigan" only as needed. If link sharing is used, ensure appropriate file permissions are in place, particularly with external collaborators.
    • Whenever possible, avoid setting access to “Anyone with the link.”
  • External collaborators should use a Google account when accessing files within U-M Google, as it is the most secure way to collaborate with them.
  • Use a Google shared drive to store collaborative data related to administration, learning, teaching, and/or research at U-M. The data are considered to be owned by a group or team rather than an individual, so if someone leaves the university, their institutional data doesn’t leave with them.
  • Shared folders in My Drive do not have cascading ownership. This means that if someone adds a file to the folder and then leaves the university, they still own the file, and there is no easy way to transfer ownership to yourself. Therefore, if you use a shared folder, ensure that any ownership transfers are made before the departing individual’s last day.
  • Periodically review your shared files, folders, and drives to ensure that access and permissions are kept up to date, and ownership is appropriately assigned.

Additional resources