How to Track Visitors and Editors with GAT

Even before Google made the API for reporting visitors available, GAT had figured out a way of reporting visitors to documents on your domain. This technology means that even today we are the only audit tool to report internal visitors to external documents. (Answering important questions like who was looking at that banned picture!)

As always some of the best feature suggestions come from the needs of our Admin users. To meet the request for scheduled ‘visit and edit’ reporting we have added two new buttons to the Drive Audit page on GAT, both of which considerably expand on the reporting of visitors and editors to any given selection of documents.

The first use case is simple, select any file, folder (remember to click on the -> after the folder name to see the contents), owner, user, group, OU, etc. to get the selection of files you want. Then click ‘Export Visits to Spreadsheet’ and you will see every visitor and time of visit to every document in the selected collection, output to a Google Spreadsheet.

The second use case (and second button) require a little more thought. The purpose behind this is to allow a daily report to a manager or managers, of visits or edits to selected documents. Clearly well used shared documents can build up hundreds or even thousands of visits, so it is pointless to report all of those day on day. To solve this problem we report all visits to the selected documents for the first scheduled run (a catch up if you will) then we report only the new visits for each subsequent run of the audit. This allows a manager to see at a glance who has visited or edited a document in the previous period. Reports can be CSV or PDF (and of course are automatically stored for future reference).

It is important to carefully consider the selection criteria. For example, they can be documents based on a search for ‘private and confidential’ as part of the contents (See example No. 2 here for how to structure this selection), or they can be all the files in a folder.

You can also, of course, keep track of all documents owned by a ‘User’ or used by a Group, etc. In fact any of the huge number of selections that GAT allows you to form a sharply focused group of files for you to report on.

It is important to distinguish between the role of ‘owner’ and ‘user’ if you wish to track the actions of an individual. For example, if you put a scheduled job in place to track all the files ‘owned’ by John, what you will see are John’s visits (and others) to John’s files only. If the job is to tracks visits to all files ‘used’ by John, then you will see his visits to all files, including ones he does not own. The report will also show other visitors to those files.

Example of the scheduled report tracking documents in a folder setup below

Admins can set this up to offer selected managers greater oversight of important document activity.