Google Workspace, formerly known as G Suite, is one of the most versatile tools available to businesses, offering an intelligent office suite that allows employees to instantly collaborate and communicate from anywhere. One of the main advantages presented by Google Workspace is the ability to store a nearly limitless amount of files and other data securely within Google Drive, where they’ll be instantly accessible by authorized members of your team no matter where they’re working from.

Unfortunately, much of this data can be lost when Google accounts are inactive for an extended period of time. In the business world, you just never know when you’ll need a certain file or piece of information, whether for eDiscovery, compliance, or for reference. That’s exactly why it’s always a good idea to keep Google Workspace accounts active, allowing you to retain data for as long as it’s relevant, ensuring that your business never faces the possibility of losing critical information.

Why you should keep your Google accounts active

Keeping accounts active (or ensuring that all important data is downloaded prior to account deletion) is a crucial part of keeping your business’s data intact. Inactive Google accounts, including Gmail, Google Workspace, and Google Photos, can lead to the removal of all files and data associated with that account after two years.

This means that if users leave your organization and their accounts go untouched for two years, you’ll lose every single piece of content ever created by that account unless it was downloaded or shared with other users within your organization. Thankfully, keeping Google accounts active is extremely easy. All it takes is simply viewing or loading your Gmail inbox, Google Drive content, and Google Photos gallery at least once every two years. In fact, the hardest part is remembering to set a reminder to check these accounts regularly.

How to download Google data

Rather than having to remember to check on inactive accounts from time to time or manually share each important document with people within your organization, it’s probably easier to download data before it can be deleted. A large variety of Google data can be quickly exported, including emails, documents, photos, calendars, and even YouTube videos. Once you’ve identified at-risk accounts and which files need to be kept for later access, head over to Google Takeout.

Here you’ll be able to select the appropriate data and be able to ensure that it’s archived in the format of your choice – this could mean that a download link is sent to your inbox, or that the archive is added to Google Drive, Dropbox, Microsoft OneDrive, or Box. Once files have been exported, you can ensure that they’re properly archived for later access in the solution of your choice, eliminating the risk that critical data is lost. If you need to delete Google Accounts in order to reduce the number of users, it is advisable to take this step. If you think you may need timestamped data for eDiscovery or other reasons, you will want to look into Google Vault. 

Retain important data using Google Vault

For businesses concerned about keeping files in storage for eDiscovery and governance purposes, Google Vault is the ideal way to ensure access to historical data from accounts within your organization. Vault can be used to retain Google data including Gmail messages, Google Drive files, Meet recordings and chats, messages from Google Groups, Google Voice text messages, voicemails, transcripts, and call logs, and messages from Classic Hangouts.

This data can be retained for as long as it’s needed, and is easily searchable from within Google Vault. Custom data retention rules can be created in order to retain and hold your data for as long as you need it, making processes like eDiscovery seamless. 

It’s also worth noting that this is done in real time, so if a bad actor in your company tries to send confidential data, writes something defamatory about a colleague or client, or anything else, all of that is stored in Vault. For example, if someone writes an angry email and deletes it prior to sending, the angry email draft version is saved in Vault. 

Sensitive data that is no longer needed can also be set to be deleted after a period of time. In order to take advantage of Google Vault, businesses must have a Business Plus or Enterprise Google Workspace license, as well as a Google Vault license.

If you’re interested in improving eDiscovery and governance with Google Vault, check with your Google Workspace partner to see how you can retain, hold, and search data for as long as you need.

ion8 is a longtime Google Partner with a full team of experienced consultants, designers, and developers ready to help you keep important data and eliminate the risk of data loss. We’ve worked with businesses of all sizes from around the world, implementing and integrating software solutions that focus on retaining data and stopping data loss at the source. To find out how ion8 can help your business make the jump to Google Vault, get in touch with us today.