Screenshot of WhoHasAccess

Why we’ve built WhoHasAccess and where it’s heading (if you help us)

Martin Böhringer
3 min readAug 7, 2014


We’re the creators of CatchApp and Hojoki. Both apps are focused on integrating multiple cloud applications like Dropbox, Github, Basecamp or Google Drive. Forrester recently named us Pioneer Vendor for our cutting edge activity streams engine.

“Eat your own dog food” is what they say. Therefore our ten-people startup completely runs on software in the cloud. Our file collaboration is in Google Drive and Dropbox, we code on Github, customer support is provided via Desk and Zendesk, and product management is all about Trello.

Working completely in the cloud is great. We don’t have to worry about operating systems, setup, updates or mobile access. Everything just works. On top of that, you can share everything you’re working on easily with others. That’s where it starts to get nasty.

A few weeks ago one of our long-term colleagues, lets call him Hans, left the team. My co-founder Lutz told me to remove Hans from all shared content. Sure, let’s do this, I thought, just to realize that this was more challenging than expected. The only way to find out where Hans had access to was to open each and every cloud application we used. Most apps didn’t even provide a central place to handle access management.

It got ridiculously difficult when I tried to remove him from Google Drive. There is some kind of structure in our Drive, however it eventually ended up as a huge collection of files and folders with different owners and individual access rights. If you work with a few team members, freelancers, customers and external partners you know what I’m talking about. To find out what Hans had access to I’d have to open each and every item and check its sharing settings. What a huge pain!

This was when we realized that there needs to be someone to fix this situation. From first sketch to product launch it took us 8 days to build WhoHasAccess. WhoHasAccess shows you who can view or edit the files and folders in your Google Drive. I can definitely recommend taking it for a try. In my case it was a very awkward feeling to find out that you share your content with 268 people. Suddenly you realize that this strange guy who worked with your company in a four-weeks internship three years ago still has access to an important roadmap document. If you think your user management is well-structured you haven’t tried WhoHasAccess yet!

Right now WhoHasAccess shows you the status quo of your Google Drive. That’s it and should be enough for a MVP. To change access rights you have to head over to Google and adjust the sharing settings individually for each file and folder. We‘d like to improve this with a single “Revoke access to all files & folders” button. We’d also like to support more cloud storage apps like Dropbox and Box. I could even see how WhoHasAccess develops into a feature-rich permission management app for all kinds of cloud applications. Employee on- and offboarding would become much easier if you could grant and revoke access rights for all your apps in a single place.

At this point WhoHasAccess is our little summer side-project. However, we’re ready to push it forward if we see that it hits a clear need, which people are willing to pay for. That’s why we included a donate button: if WhoHasAccess just saved your day (or your ass) let us know what it is worth to you and send over a coffee or two for the team. As soon as we collected $1000 of donations we’ll start working on WhoHasAccess 2.0.