IT director Jeremy Scarpa realized he had a file-sharing problem in Google Workspace and had been proactively searching for a solution. Read about his file-sharing problem and why he ended up implementing Tricent in both of his companies - BrightLogic and MicroFirst.

About BrightLogic and MicroFirst

MicroFirst was incorporated in 1985 as a company building automation for climate control systems. Over the years, they moved into 2 new areas of work, namely casino analytics and interactive LED technologies. Because of that, the company split into two: MicroFirst Associates and MicroFirst Engineering (later renamed BrightLogic).

MicroFirst caters to the casino gaming industry, being a slot system boards manufacturer that gathers analytics on slot machine player behavior. Currently, their focus is the manufacturing and repair of the displays and the internals that hook back to the computer systems in the slot machines.

BrightLogic focuses on the development of IR sensing, interactive LED technologies. They deliver software systems that  work with various vendors (LED, tiles) to create interactive LED floor and wall panels used in conference rooms, interactive exhibitions, trade shows, etc.

BrightLogic interactive LED product

The file-sharing problem in Google Drive

MicroFirst and BrightLogic have been using Google Workspace since 2012, but they were essentially using Workspace for documents and email, and Dropbox for sharing digital content (interactive applications, games, video applications, etc.) with their clients.

In May 2020, they decided to go all virtual and, for cost reasons and because Dropbox wasn’t adding any extra value for them, they gradually switched to Google Drive. Jeremy wasn’t aware of how many hidden layers Google Drive had, but once they moved their internal files to Google Drive, he then realized they needed insight into their file-sharing footprint, and the ability to discover and remediate file exposure.

Externally-shared files were primarily project documentation and custom digital assets developed for their customers, the latter being particularly sensitive. In addition to that, intellectual property, financial and HR data, as well as NDA agreements were their main compliance concerns.

“Hey, Reddit. How do I solve the file-sharing issue in Google Drive?”

Jeremy had been using GAM to clean up orphan files and to work out what was externally shared, but it was becoming too labor intensive to be a good long-term solution. At that point he trialled GAT+, but he couldn’t choose specific features that he truly needed, which would end up being quite expensive. In April 2021, while looking for an alternative to GAT+ on the r/gsuite Reddit thread, Jeremy stumbled upon a comment where someone mentioned Tricent as a company that had been able to help them out with a problem similar to his.

Tricent is a web application that helps you unshare any Google Drive files shared with third parties. It involves the end-users in the unsharing process while allowing the admins to configure the cleanup (unsharing) settings. It sends out email reminders when it’s time to unshare files, lets you extend the sharing period according to your need, and automatically unshares files if you don’t take any action. What’s more, access to unshared files can easily be restored.

After checking out Tricent’s website, Jeremy requested a demo. The next day, he got contacted by a sales agent, got the demo, and signed the contract within 2 days. BrightLogic was onboarded the following week and, provided everything went well over the summer, MicroFirst would be onboarded, too.

They had us at the “set-and-forget” killer feature

“The pre-sales demo and information was very helpful. The pricing is dependent on the amount of users which makes the pricing flexible [unlike with GAT+]. But the real killer feature is that the product is nearly ‘set and forget.’ Tricent brings to the table a set of sensible and secure defaults that are otherwise missing from Google’s file sharing offering.”

How it (doesn’t) affect the end users

In terms of how the end-users behave after Tricent, not much has changed.

“Nobody’s doing anything and that’s absolutely fine with me. Everybody’s got their day-to-day tasks to do and nobody wants to be worried about data management. The fact that Tricent comes with a sensible and secure set of defaults is huge. If we simply go live with it and never touch it again, it’s infinitely better than what we had before that. It’s working as intended. Once the file has been shared for 30 days, it becomes eligible by default to be unshared. I’m completely happy with that. It’s a tool that is so effective because it stays out of the users’ way.”

Tricent from an admin’s perspective

“Tricent provides sensible and secure defaults for Google Drive shared files. It greatly mitigates our risk of unintentional file exposure by default. Prior to implementing Tricent, there was no reasonable way for a user to answer the simple question of “What files am I sharing?”, and even if they were educated on which tools to use, they would have to proactively discover and unshare the files. Tricent handles all this with zero interaction required from the user, yet still gives the user agency and control should they choose.”

How did Tricent help BrightLogic?

First of all, Tricent turned out to be an essential tool in Google Workspace.

“The move to cloud-managed infrastructure has really saved a lot of time on a day-to-day basis, and tools like Tricent compensate for the deficiencies of that [Google Workspace’s setup]. Its functionality is missing from Google’s offerings, and regardless of whether you think you have a data compliance problem, this is a necessary product. I would not consider deploying Drive as a legitimate file-sharing solution without Tricent on top.”

Secondly, Tricent also alleviated the admin’s workload.

“[As an admin,] I’m not as worried about file-sharing anymore. Previously I was more proactive, but now the app is proactive for me. All I do now is check the dashboard every now and then. I was regularly working 12-16 hour days and now I’m down to 10-12, which is nice.”

And last, but not least, the users were also able to breathe freely because of Tricent.

“Users shouldn’t have to worry about it [unsharing files], that’s the software’s job.”

What were the outcomes?

Among the most important ones, Jeremy mentioned that:

  • His admin workload has been significantly reduced thanks to Tricent
  • Users can literally forget about unsharing files and Tricent would still take care of that
  • Users have the option to take (or not take) action within the tool
  • Users have a record of their file-sharings within Tricent and can easily revoke or restore access to their files
  • Tricent contributes to a better file-sharing security in Google Drive

After summer 2021, Jeremy bought Tricent for MicroFirst after seeing how well Tricent performed in BrightLogic. “Since MicroFirst’s data footprint is way larger than BrightLogic’s, and its manpower is significantly less, the automation that Tricent provides is therefore extremely important.”

So, after reading all about Jeremy’s experience, do you want to be able to audit, clean up, and protect all your business files?