Google Docs has added a new feature that would set a time limit beyond which third party entities would no longer be allowed access to shared documents, sheets or slides. This feature is of particular significance for workgroups that operate on a collaborative basis and tend to share a lot of stuff. While sharing becomes imperative under certain circumstances, the sharing workgroups are also required to clamp down on unrestricted access. It is for such groups, that the new Google Docs feature will come handy.
Consider a case where a company hires a third party agency to carry out a certain task. During the course of its association with the company, the third party might want to access information regarding the product sales information for the past twelve months. Paying heed to this need, the company shares its confidential spreadsheet containing information regarding the same with the third party. Upon completion of the task, when the third party severs ties with the company, it is obliged to not share any information with any external agency. Although there are legal norms in place to prohibit this kind of sharing, the setting of expiration date from the company’s end ensures foolproof security of its personal documents, eradicating any scope for misuse of the same.
Microsoft’s Office 365 incorporates a slightly tweaked version of this feature, wherein the user can set the expiration date before sending out invites for its documents to be shared. The catch is that once the invites get accepted there is no way to modify the expiration date. The only thing that the user can resort to is manually remove the third party from its list of permitted shared users, but then again it can be quite impolite and going against the principles of normal business practices.