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Using Group Share at UM-Flint

What is Group Share?

Group Share is software for Windows XP, Vista, and Windows 7 (31 and 64 bit) that will encrypt files at the folder level to prevent disclosure of the folders and files to unauthorized users in the event the files are lost or stolen. It can be used to encrypt files on the local machine as well as network shares such as the H:\ and I:\ drive

Who can Use Group Share?

Group Share is available to all Faculty and Staff Members using university owned computers here at the University of Michigan-Flint. In some cases it will also be available for personal computers containing university sensitive material. Please contact ITS Helpdesk at 810-766-6804 to find out more about use on your personal computer.

Group Share is currently only available for 32 and 64 bit versions of Windows and Group Share is currently not available for Mac users.

Some Things to Remember Before you Begin

  • Selecting very large folders does use a lot of memory on your computer. It is strongly advised that you only do necessary folders and try to limit the other programs running while you are doing the initial folder securing.
  • Securing Folders department drives over the network will be a slower process because it is over the network. Please be prepared for this.
  • If your computer DOES NOT regularly connect to the UM-Flint network (on campus or through VPN) you will need to adjust the key cache length to eliminate the possibility of being unable to access your documents that are secured. See the section “Adjusting the Length of Time Your Key is Cached” below.
  • Only those who have been given permission will be allowed to access any file that has been protected with Group Share
  • Files or folders protected by Group Share will only be able to be accessed by authorized users on computers where Group Share has been installed
  • For all departmental folders at least two people should have access to them. This will help in the case of illness or absence of the primary person.

How do I download Group Share?

The following directions are for downloading Group Share on a university owned desktop or laptop. Group Share will need to be installed on any computer you are looking to access an encrypted folder on.

Please close all open programs before installing Group Share as you will need to restart your computer once the installation is complete.

  1. Go to L:\Secure Software\GroupShare
  2. Double click the icon that says Setup
  3. When you mouse over it the type should be “Application”
  4. Click Next
  5. Accept the license agreement and click Next
  6. Use the default destination folder and click Next
  7. Use the default typical install and click Next
  8. Click Next
  9. Allow Group Share to update the system
  10. Click Finish
  11. Click Yes to restart

Group Share has now been successfully installed on your machine.

 

How do I Secure a Folder with Group Share?

These steps will walk you through how to secure a folder or document.
  1. Right click the folder you would like to secure with Group Share
  2. Click Secure Folder with Group Share
  3. Leaving the defaults click Next
  4. Placing your contact information in during setup is optional, Click Next
    1. Including your contact information and a description of the secured folder will help others to know who has secured the certificate.
  5. As a default only you will have access to this secure folder or document. We highly suggest that for departmental documents at least two people have access to them. A good suggestion would be you and your Supervisor.
    1. To allow someone else access click Add Windows Users or Groups
  6. When finished adding users click Next
  7. Wait while the document or folders are analyzed
  8. Click Finish
  9. Wait while the folder is being secured. Depending on the size of the folder this could take quite a while.
You have now successfully secured your folder.

How Do I Change Folder Roles or Users with Group Share?

These steps will walk you through how to change roles or users on a folder.  You must be a folder owner or a folder administrator to make the change.

  1. Right click the folder you would like to change  
  2. Click Properties 
  3. Click the Group Share Tab 
  4. Select a user from the list
  5. Click Edit
  6. Select the role(s) that you want the User to have.
    • Administrator:
      • Can add or change the users who have access to the folder
      • Can update the folder encryption key
      • Can view users who are allowed access
    • User: 
      •  Has permission to decrypt and encrypt files

 

How do I Unsecure a Folder with Group Share?

These steps will walk you through how to unsecure a folder or document:

  1. Right click the folder you would like to unsecure
  2. Click Properties
  3. Click the Group Share Tab
  4. Click Advanced
  5. Click Unsecure Now

You have now successfully unsecured your folder.

Adjusting the Length of Time your Key is Cached

The default cache time for the key that allows you to access your secured files is 7 days.  This means that 7 days from the last time that you accessed your secured files on campus, or through the VPN (using Network Connect), your key will expire and you will need to return to campus, or connect to the VPN using Network Connect, and access the files.  Doing this will reset the cache and provide you with 7 more days that you can access the files without being connected through the VPN (using Network Connect) or physically on campus.

It is possible to make the cache period longer or shorter depending on how often you access these files through the VPN via Network Connect or while on campus.  To adjust this time please follow the directions below.

How to Adjust Key Cached Time

1. Right Click the Secured Folder
2. Click Properties
3. Click the Group Share Tab
4. Click Advanced
5. Under Folder Options increase your Cache lifetime to however many days you would like
6. Click OK to save the settings
7. Click OK on the properties window

You have now successfully extended the cached life of your key.

A Few Notes:

  • Including your contact information and a description of the secured folder will help others to know who has secured the certificate.
  • As a default only you will have access to this secure folder or document. We highly suggest that for departmental documents at least 2 people have access to them. A good suggestion would be you and your Supervisor.

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