Surface files from Google Drive, SharePoint, Quip or Box inside Salesforce

Salesforce Files Connect

With Files Connect, Salesforce users can access, share, and search files stored externally (in systems like Google Drive, SharePoint, Quip or Box) from inside Salesforce. Setup process to connect to each external data source is different and it varies by each data source.

Google Drive is most common use case for Files Connect as lot of small and medium size organizations are using Google suite of business apps to run their business. Hence, for the purpose of this blog post, I’ll walk you through how to connect to Google Drive using Files Connect. Once connected, you can use your Google Drive files in Salesforce to attach to records and share with your colleagues.

There are two important points that you need to note with regards to Salesforce Files Connect

1. File Sharing

There are two types of File Sharing methods in Files Connect i.e.

  1. Copy: This method creates a copy of external files in your Salesforce org which in turn is counted against your org storage. The Salesforce copy of the file doesn’t get updated when source file is modified. New version needs to be manually updated. File access and sharing is based on Salesforce sharing settings as the file resides in the org.
  2. Reference: This method creates a reference to the file in external repository hence does not use org storage. It always shows the latest file in Salesforce file preview and points to the latest version of file when clicked on the external data source link. File access and sharing is based on the external data source access and sharing settings. In this blog post we will use this method.

2. Identity Type

  1. Per User: Select Per User to require separate credentials for each user who accesses the data source. With this identity type, users will only be able to see and access the files that they can access on the respecitve document management systm. Also in Salesforce the admin must enable the data source for specific permission sets and profiles. Users will then need to enter their credentials when first the data source for the first time. In this blog post we will use this method.
  2. Named Principle: Select Named Principal to use the same set of credentials for every user who accesses the data source from Salesforce.

Connecting to Google Drive from Salesforce is easy but requires you to be a bit familiar with APIs and Credentials. If you have ever created a connected app in Salesforce then you might be already familiar with the terminologies we’ll be using in this blog post.

That’s enough talk. Get yourself a coffee, wear your Architect’s hat and get ready to dip your toe in the water. Here’s what this guide covers. After going through it, you will learn how to:

  1. Enable Files Connect
  2. Assign Permission to Users to Access Files Connect Data Sources
  3. Configure Google For Access
  4. Create Authentication Provider for Google Drive
  5. Define an External Data Source for Google Drive
  6. Access Google Drive Files in Salesforce

And within next 45 minutes you will be able to access your Google Drive files in Salesforce.


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