A Forum reader recently asked:
"We have an ex-staff member who previously shared folders containing very important information we do not wish to lose.
When you take items like mail and put them into a shared folder, do they become part of the mailbox of the sharer? If we create a new shared folder and move all of the contents from the old share to the new shared folder, does this mean it's safe to remove the old user and not risk losing any data?"
And here's the response from Lori Quinn ...
You are right. When you put an item (e-mail, appointment, task ... any type of item) into a shared folder, that item then belongs to the owner of the shared folder. If the folder were unshared, that "owner" would have a personal folder with all the contents. If items in a shared folder are deleted, they go into the owner's trash, not the trash of the person who
deleted the item.
Yes, you can drag all the items out of a shared folder to someone else, but the "new" person must have full rights to the folder, specificially delete rights. You will need to change those rights from the original person's shared folder. Here's the scoop:
1. As the "old user," change sharing rights for the new user to everything (mark all 3 checkmarks at the bottom of the sharing screen).
2. The new user creates a new (personal) folder.
3. The new user selects all items in the shared folder - Ctrl-A will work - and drags the whole bunch into the new personal folder. The original shared folder is now empty.
4. The new user shares the new personal folder with whomever needs it. Once the folder is empty, the old user's account can be deleted.
Consider the following as a long-term plan, because eventually the "new user" will leave the company too, and you're back in the same boat:
1. Create a resource called "The Department" (e.g., Accounting Department, Human Resources). If it's a small organization, you might have one called "The Company."
2. Someone is the owner of this resource - a department secretary is a good choice. It should be someone other than IT probably, because IT has enough things on their plate.
3. The department secretary proxies as "The Department" and creates, then shares all department-wide folders. Ditto with shared address books. Maintaining the folder (new users added/removed) or creating new folders is up to the department secretary. If she leaves the company, her replacement has the ownership rights. The folders and all the contents remain intact. They are "owned" by an entity that will never leave.
4. Always thinking of Plan B, the department secretary goes on vacation or is off sick. So as the owner, she should grant another secretary full permissions to proxy as "The Department" to manage shared folders if necessary.
Using a resource rather than a user for this is practical because of the ownership feature. Plus, resources don't use a mailbox license. In fact, it's likely that every department will have its own "The Department" resource to maintain.
True, you're not going to stop people from making shared folders, so you've got some educating to do as well. Once they understand the benefits, they usually go along. They may want rights to add items to the folder. But be careful of granting everyone delete rights. They would be able to delete not only the items they put in the folder, but any item in the folder. And they could accidentally drag items out of the folder as well. I recommend that no one has delete rights, even the department secretary. If somethings needs to be deleted, the department secretary should proxy as the resource and delete it as the owner.
There's one more thing to be aware of. I mentioned that sharing address books is also good to do with this ficticious resource. But when you proxy as an entity, the address books are the one thing that you cannot proxy into. So to manage an address book, the ficticious account must be logged into rather than proxied into. To do this, close GW and notify and use "/@u-thedepartment". Now you can manage the address books.