What is Google Workspace Archive User

Instead of straight away jumping to Google Workspace Archive SKU as a solution, let us first discuss the problem to understand why do we even need something like it in the first place?

The Problem

Employees join and leave your company, this is a part of business lifecycle, everyone at some point leaves an organization for a better opportunity.

However, these former employees usually leave behind lots of valuable data that can be in the form of emails, documents, chat, video recordings etc.

As a business you need to keep this data for future references whether to get some insights from it OR to mere meet your data retention compliance.

So, as a Google Workspace customer, you use Google Vault, which helps you retain all of this valuable data.

(Note – If you are not familiar with Google Vault, consider learning about it in this Definitive Guide to Google Vault)

So far so good.

But there is a problem here…………………..

To retain your former employees data in Google Vault, you need to keep their Google Workspace license, and it costs you same amount of money as they are still active users.

So what do you do? How do you retain their data but without paying equal money as your active Google Workspace users?

You guessed the answer – Google Workspace Archive User SKU – Let’s talk about it now.

What is Google Workspace Archive User License SKU?

As we now understand the problem at hand, let’s discuss how archive user SKU can help us save money on our Google Workspace licensing along with securely retain our former employees data.

The Solution - Google Workspace Archive User License


What is Google Workspace Archive User?

Archive User SKU is a Google Workspace license type for businesses using Google Workspace Business or Enterprise. It allows businesses to retain data of their former employees at less cost than active or suspended users license price.

Google Workspace Archive User SKU Advantages-:

  1. Cost Savings -: You may save on your Google Workspace licensing with archiving user.
  2. Ease of Administration -: You can archive users right from your Google Workspace Admin Console, It also provides unarchiving flexibility, so you can anytime unarchive the user to provide him/her an active account back if required.
  3. Complete Data Coverage -: It covers all the data as per the policies you have configured in Google Vault, so you can put the user on legal hold, search Vault, export data etc.
  4. Rich User Experience -: Viewers and Editors can still see/edit the documents and sites shared by archived user.
  5. Data Security -: Archive users data is also scanned like active users for DLP policies (if on Enterprise SKU and DLP configured, we’ll talk in details about it)

Google Workspace Archive User SKU Limitations-:

  1. No Directory Integration -: We do not get flexibility to manage (assign / unassign) Archive user licenses via Google Cloud Directory Sync.
  2. No OU based automatic licensing -: Unlike other Google Workspace license type, you can not assign archive licenses automatically based on the Organization Unit (OU) membership.
    (I will show you a workaround for it though leveraging script later in this post when we talk about license assignment).
  3. No online Purchase option -: There is no option to purchase Archive Licenses online, you would need to contact either Google Sales OR Reseller representative.

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