5 Reasons Why Google Vault is Not a True Archive

If you’re a G Suite for Education user who thinks that Google Vault will fulfill all of your eDiscovery and compliance needs, you might want to reconsider.

As school districts search for ways to archive new data sources such as social media and mobile, Google is building self-driving cars and doesn’t seem too worried about data governance for photos, Docs and other files stored in Drive.

Here are five reasons why Google Vault is not an archive. Updated: 3/9/17

1-2016You can’t set a retention policy for files in Google Drive. While searchable (more on that later), Google Vault only references what is presently in Drive for each user. So if you or an employee delete a file, or if you delete a user, the file will no longer be searchable or accessible within Vault.

2-2016You can’t assign files in Google Drive to Litigation Hold. Files are assigned to a Litigation Hold when they are relevant to an active legal situation within the organization. If you have a file that needs to be held for one, five, 10 years or more, you’re out of luck. Your only option is to keep that file in the user’s Drive account for the specific amount of time, which also means that you have to keep that user’s Google Apps license and their Vault license.

Needless to say, this unexpected cost will add up pretty quickly. Moreover, this fails to fulfill the requirements for an archive, because archived files should not be vulnerable to possible deletion by any end user.

3-2016You won’t be able to restore deleted or corrupted files. Most, if not all, third-party archiving solutions will be able to do a full restore of damaged or deleted files, but since Vault doesn’t create any copies, you won’t have good news for an employee, your legal team or a judge when the need arises to produce an important file.

4-2016You don’t have access to revision history in Vault. It could be a serious legal concern if, in an eDiscovery situation, counsel or a judge learns that an employee had the ability to change the content of a file at any given time, and there’s no record of what previously was in the document.

5-2016Your search capabilities are limited. Google Apps Vault can search Drive files of up to 5,000 users. In large organizations, it can’t even be used as a search tool across the entire enterprise. What’s more, Google Vault has very basic searching functionality and is extremely cumbersome. There’s also a very short list of other file types that are indexed, searchable and exported.

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