Common Sense is a leading independent nonprofit organization dedicated to helping kids and families thrive in a world of 21st-century media and technology. Millions of parents, teachers, and policymakers turn to Common Sense’s unbiased information, trusted advice, and innovative tools to help them use media and technology as a positive force in kids’ lives.
When Nick Vasilopoulos came onboard to help Common Sense modernize their IT infrastructure, one of his first projects was bringing the organization over to Google Workspace. However, when it came to moving employees from a traditional file server to Google Drive, he needed to find a way to secure files, control permissions, and prevent the oversharing of sensitive information.
With their existing setup, doing this would require individually resetting permissions for thousands of folders. He needed a solution that would help him globally reset folder permissions and give corporate ownership to files created by users. “It’s fast paced here and sometimes we don’t know when a contractor comes on or leaves,” explained Nick. “When a person left, we had to make sure to transfer their files to someone else, which was a pain for the admins to manage.”
For Nick and the rest of the management team at Common Sense, the challenge was to regulate where company data was coming and going. People started to use a combination of Drive, their personal Google accounts, Dropbox, and Box to share information with external vendors. There was a sense of urgency to adhere to the company’s internal privacy policies and ensure that information didn’t get out when it wasn’t supposed to. “I just thought, ‘All of this information is out there and we have no control over it,’” said Nick. “We needed to corral all of it and bring it under the control of IT. Not to mention, it doesn’t make sense to pay for two services and only use one of them.”
When Nick found AODocs, he was hopeful that it would allow the team to fully adopt Google Drive and eliminate the other tools that people were using to store and share their files. He started by testing AODocs with a small internal team that often interacted with other departments. Previously, they were using a combination of Google Drive and Dropbox. Nick’s goal was to try to get everyone’s data in one place. So, he sat down with them and went over AODocs. He found that they took to it quickly. “I started marching through each department and doing my song and dance about security, centralizing data, and the ability to push a folder to every member of the team,” he explained. “I thought that was incredibly valuable because now new employees who log into Google Drive for the first time have access to a library that they can start looking through to educate themselves.”
From there, Nick began to import files from the old server to AODocs and created AODocs libraries for each department based on their individual security requirements.
“Before AODocs, our employees couldn’t work with Microsoft Office. They would have to download a file, edit it, and then re-upload it to Drive,” explained Nick. “There were issues where they would open one version in Google Sheets and one in Excel and then not know which one to use.”
Now, Common Sense employees can work on Microsoft Office files directly in their browser. For example, the video team uses Microsoft Word to write their video scripts. With AODocs, they can work on Word documents directly in their browser then send them to the editorial department for approval before creating the video and posting it on the website.
“If you prefer working in Office, you can keep using it while working on your file in Drive. That’s why I like AODocs...You can make the changes, lock your file so nobody else can overwrite it, and then once you close your browser, it’s automatically saved.”
Nick Vasilopoulos, IT Manager at Common Sense
Nick explained that, overall, people are much happier working with AODocs and Google Drive. The switch has even helped in onboarding. “Now, new employees who log into Google Drive for the first time have access to a library that they can start looking through to educate themselves.”
Also, the security problems that they once faced have been solved and it’s made collaboration across teams much easier. “Collaboration is so much better and natively working in the browser is a lot stronger,” he concluded.