What data is covered by Google Vault?
G Suite offers more than 60 core (with SLA) and non core (without SLA) applications, and it is important to understand which services are covered by Google’s e-discovery solution.
Understanding Google Vault’s scope in details would help you decide-:
(i) Does it meet our compliance needs?
(ii) Is it the right solution for our needs?
(iii) How should we setup right expectations to our management?
(iv) How and What should we communicate to our employees / users in terms of education, training and contract/legal binding.
Google Vault Product Coverage Summary Table
Product NameCovered by VaultGmailYes (details below)Google GroupsYes (details below)Google DriveYes (details below)Google SitesIn Public Roadmap*Google ChatYes (details below)Google MeetYes (details below)Google VoiceIn Public Roadmap*Google Currents (Google +)In Public Roadmap*
Google Vault Default Retention screenshot showing the covered products.
Now let us understand in a bit of details of what exactly is covered within these covered products.
- All the emails that your users send and receive in Google Workspace are archived in Google Vault based on the retention rules you set. I will talk about retention rules in much detail later in this guide.
- There are a couple of special scenarios which you should be aware of where emails are not archived in Vault
- Emails sent from other services -: If your users send any email from products other than Gmail (e.g the message you send while sharing Google Drive documents).
- Exclusion of reference material in emails -: If you link references from non covered products in your emails, for e.g a youtube video in email, though the email will be archived but not the video in it.
- Whether you create a distribution list or have a Q&A type group, you are covered with Google Vault, however for latter one (e.g Collaborative Inbox, Q&A group etc) you or your group managers should turn the “Archiving” on from the groups interface.
Google Drive Coverage
There is a lot of content you store in Google Drive including Google native documents (e.g docs, sheets, slides etc) and non Google native ones like pdf, word etc. so lets us see in detail what’s covered by Vault
- Google Docs are covered
- Google Sheets are covered
- Google Slides are covered
- Google Forms are covered
- Google Drawings are covered
- Non Google format files (e.g pdf, jpeg, word) are covered too if you have uploaded them to Google Drive
- Recording of Hangout Meet calls are covered
- Jamboard (Google’s innovative whiteboarding solution) files that users store in their Google Drive
Hangouts Chat Coverage
Your hangout chats are also archived in Google Vault, but it is important to note following
- Chats in rooms are always archived
- In case of 1:1 or Group chat, only “on the record” chats are archived, however as a Google Workspace admin, you can change hangout chat setting to “History is always ON” which means “Chat history is always on the record and users cannot change it”.
Hangouts Meet Coverage
- Google Workspace enterprise customers get an additional functionality of recording Google Meet meetings, and these recordings are saved in Google Drive and hence covered by Vault.
Google Sites Coverage
- Though Google Sites is not covered by Vault today, however as per the “Google Workspace Upcoming Releases” page, it seems it is under development and will be launching soon.
Google Voice Coverage
- Similar to Sites, upcoming releases page shows that Google is also working to increase the scope of Vault by adding Google Voice coverage.
Google Currents Coverage
- Google’s social platform for Google Workspace customers called Currents (which was previously known as Google +) would also be covered under Google Vault in future based on the publicly shown roadmap here.