Now that the archive account has been created and we have successfully consolidated one inactive account into that archive, what should an administrator do if this archive account reaches the storage limits for Gmail and Drive?
One possibility is to simply add additional Drive storage for that specific account, or to activate G Suite Business for the entire domain to get unlimited storage for every account. Either way, this can quickly become very expensive and unnecessary for most companies that are looking for a simple and affordable archiving solution.
We suggest, instead of paying for additional storage or for unlimited storage for all users, to simply add a single Google Vault license to the archive account. Vault is Google’s native eDiscovery functionality that can indefinitely retain a user’s emails and Drive files even after they are deleted from that user’s account. What’s more is that there is no storage limit for data retained in Google Vault.
Combine Google Vault with the Cloudasta migration tool, and now there is one centralized account that can store all past employee data at minimal cost. No need to pay for additional storage, and no need to keep accounts open just to retain this data. With the correct retention rules, simply delete all emails or files from the archive account --- Vault will still have that data for an administrator to search and export at any time.
Adding Vault to an archive account
Prior to starting this process, make sure to contact us to activate Vault on your domain. Once that's confirmed, access the Users Panel for the G Suite domain through the Admin Console.
Select the archive account to access account-specific settings.
Scroll down to the section with Licenses on the archive account.
Click on "1 License” (this will vary depending on how many product licenses are active for that account) and click the blue "Manage Licenses" button in the top right.
In the popup box, select Google Vault and click Save. If Google Vault is not listed as an option to be assigned to the archive account, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll get that sorted out. Google Vault is a rate of $4.17 per license assigned per month, or $50.00 per year for each license assigned.
The Google Vault license should now be reflected within the archive account settings.
While still in the account settings for the archive, scroll down a little bit to "Admin Roles and Privileges." In order to make the absolute most of Google Vault, the archive account will need Super Administrator privileges.
Click on the "Admin Roles and Privileges" block to reveal the settings. Click "Manage Roles" in the top left corner.
Select the Super Admin option and click Update Roles. This ensures that the archive account will have full administrative access for the domain.
Verify that the administrative role has been applied to the archive account.
Log in to the archive account. If it is the first time accessing this account, Google may prompt you to sign out of all other accounts. Once you are logged in, select Vault from the Apps dropdown Menu.
The first time Google Vault is accessed, there will be nothing retained by default. To change this, start by creating a Retention Rule for storage. In the menu on the left hand side, please click "Retention."
From here, retention rules can be added and altered. Click the red "Add Rule" button to the left of the screen.
Unless more complicated rules are required, Cloudasta suggests setting up a Retention Rule to retain all emails indefinitely within the archive account. This is very simple: after clicking "Add Rule" in the step above, do not change any of the settings and just click "Save" to add the rule.
The Retention Rule should now be reflected in the Vault settings. From this point onward, all data within the archive account will be retained. To search through this data, or to export any of it, a different Vault setting needs to be activated. Please click the "Matters" option directly underneath "Retention."
In order to access the data retained in Vault, a Matter is required to be created. Click the "Create" button in the top left.
Provide a name and description for the Matter and create it. These fields do not need to be extensive.
In addition to creating a Matter, it is also imperative to create a "Hold" within the Matter. Creating a Hold will allow data to be retained even after it is deleted from the archive’s mailbox. From within that Matter's settings, click the "Create Hold" button in the top left.
Enter a Hold name, leave all other fields blank, and click "Save." From this point forwards, all emails and Drive files retained within Vault will be stored even after they are deleted from the archive account.
Searching and Exporting through Vault
The Hold will now be reflected in the settings. Click "Search" as indicated above.
The Cloudasta migration tool will keep the original “To:” field (the original recipient) post-migration. This allows an administrator to search through the data by account even though Vault is assigned only to the account. Pictured above is a search for every email that contains "email@example.com" - note that this is entered in "Terms" and not "Accounts."
For every Search query, there is the option to export results of the query. Any of the messages in the search results can be opened and printed from this page. In order to download all messages, please click the Export Results button at the top of the screen.
Provide a name for the export. In this example, we simply used the account name with which we used to search the data. Please note, there is a known Google error with exporting Vault data onto Apple computers. If you are working on a Mac, the .zip file will not download correctly unless Safari is used to download the export. Otherwise, if Chrome or Firefox are used, the export will be corrupted and it will not be able to be opened.
Google will begin to prepare the export. Keep track of the progress in the Export view of the Vault settings.
Once the export has been prepared, click the link indicated to view the files. Note that the export will expire after 15 days, at which point it will be deleted from Google’s records.
The topmost .zip file is the archive of the .mbox data. While there are a few other options for download, but most likely this is the file that you want. At this point, remember to download the file using Safari if you are working on an Apple computer. If you’re working with a Windows, proceed using any browser.
Once the file has been downloaded, unarchive the .zip file. Using Safari on an Apple computer will ensure that the file is already converted to a .mbox file during the download process. Otherwise, use an archiving utility like WinZip to open the file on a Windows computer post-download.
To open an .mbox file, use an email client like Thunderbird import the .mbox file to an email account.