Google Vault

With everything being digital these days, there is no such thing as too much protection.

As it happens with data generated within office productivity suites such as Google Workspace and M365, it has become increasingly important to understand how to manage electronically stored information (ESI), within your ecosystem.

Millions of businesses using email, value the ability to securely save company data and communication. No business is immune to legal proceedings, whether founded or not. If you have employees, you are also responsible for the communication that they have with other people using their work account.

If someone should say that you or a colleague did something inappropriate, wouldn’t you feel better having something to back you up than just “I never said that.”?

That is where Vault comes in. It will archive your conversations for you, and you can search them out if ever needed.

What is Google Vault?

Google Vault is the eDiscovery and compliance application for Google Workspace that allows IT administrators to retain, hold, search, and export data.

It is a core Google Workspace (formerly G Suite) app that allows you to determine what content is retained and then offers easy functionality to search for and export data to ensure it meets your eDiscovery and compliance needs.

It’s beneficial to anyone that has confidential data such as financial information. Google Vault safely stores the information in the cloud, so it doesn’t take up any room on your actual computer.

what it is not.

A misunderstanding made by some Google Workspace users is that Google Vault acts as a backup and restore service for all of their Workspace data.

This is not the case –  and is an assumption that we want to address early! Google Vault is for archiving, not backing up. 

Users can store data for as long as it’s required, but once it is deleted, there is no recovery. The primary function of Google Vault is for eDiscovery and investigations.

what it is.

Vault is an information governance and eDiscovery tool for Google Workspace. You can use Vault for the following data:

  • Gmail messages
  • Drive files
  • Google Chat messages (history turned on)
  • Google Meet recordings and associated chat, Q&A, and polls logs
  • Google Groups messages
  • Google Voice for Google Workspace text messages, voicemails and their transcripts, and call logs
  • new Google Sites
  • Classic Hangouts messages (history turned on)


Uses of Google Vault

  1. Archiving—Set retention rules to control how long data is retained before being removed from user accounts and deleted from Google systems.
  2. Holds – Place holds on users to preserve their data indefinitely in order to meet legal or other retention obligations. Any holds you create will also override retention rules, so if a previously defined rule says to delete a certain users data after x-amount of days, but if this user has a hold placed on their data for legal purposes, it will remain secure until the hold is removed.
  3. Search – Search your domain’s data by user account, organizational unit, date, or keyword. Vault supports Boolean and wildcard operator searches. After doing so, you can save your search queries for the next occasion so that you can quickly access the data you need. These searches are also dynamic, meaning that they will include new data that’s been added since your last search.
  4. Export – Once you’ve got the data you need from Google Vault, you can export them in a variety of formats for external use. The export includes highly detailed information that shows its relevance to your search. A data export is available in Vault for 15 days, then the export is deleted to protect that data.
  5. Audit reports – Vault provides a complete audit log of user activity in Vault, including when a user creates or edits a retention rule, runs a search, or exports data. The audit log can’t be edited.

Access Control

You can control who can access Vault and what actions are available to them. This ensures that only authorized users have access to your organization’s data. 

Get started with Vault

Google Vault is available for these Google Workspace editions:

  • Business Plus
  • Enterprise Standard & Enterprise Plus
  • Enterprise Essentials (domain-verified only)
  • All Education editions

NB: If your organization’s edition of Google Workspace doesn’t include Vault, you may be able to buy Vault add-on licenses.