Why You Still Need to Archive Google Apps for Education

If you are in the market for a collaboration and productivity solution, you should know that Google Apps for Education (GAFE) is free for all K-12 schools. This product provides your school with free web-based email, calendar, and document creating tools for collaborative work and study anytime, anywhere. Included with Google Apps for Education or GAFE is Google Vault. Google Vault is an archiving solution that provides email searching and exporting capabilities for Gmail messages and “on the record” Google Hangouts conversations.

Google Vault Archiving

There are some decent archiving features in Google Vault. Unfortunately, the features are lacking in many key areas which makes managing your information a rather difficult task. For instance, Vault does not allow you to perform full eDiscovery of your archive. This limitation, among the others, puts your school at risk of potential litigation or compliance violations.

Here are the limitations of Google Vault Archiving:

  • Google Vault Only Archives Gmail Email – Your school or district needs to archive email, and also the social media and mobile communication data generated by your users.
  • Limited Exporting Options – Gmail messages can only be exported to MBOX format, and not in the preferred PST or PDF formats.
  • Lack of Email Restore – Archived email messages in Vault can only be restored using a third-party application.
  • Poor eDiscovery Tools – To redact or strikeout confidential email data, you must use a third-party tool.
  • Full Archive Access is Limited to Administrators – Auditors, HR, Legal and other outside teams cannot be granted access to the full email archive, leaving the burden on IT.
  • Incomplete Hangouts Messaging Archiving – “Off the record” Hangout chats are not archived, and Hangout messages are retained in each user’s account despite any deletion requirement in your retention policy.
  • No Control Over Where Data is Stored – Google will not identify the exact location of your data, or who has access to your data.
  • Complex Multiple-User Alias Archiving – Vault retention rules do not automatically include email aliases.

And this isn’t the whole list! There are even more issues you should worry about. To learn more about Google Vault limitations, read our blog post “Top 10 Google Vault Archiving Drawbacks.”

You Need a Better Solution

Whether you are using Google Vault or not, it is essential that your school use a third-party archiving solution. Yes, Google Vault is free with GAFE. And yes, a third-party solution will cost you money. However, considering the risks, the investment is well worth it. The money you spend on an archiving solution will save you in time and effort when the requirement to search and perform eDiscovery on the archive is present. More importantly, a good archiving solution can help prevent fines and sanctions for not complying with regulations regarding email archiving and it helps prepare you for potential litigation.

Retain Unified Archiving is that Solution

When it comes to archiving, the better solution for your school is Retain Unified Archiving by GWAVA. This solution provides a complete and compliant archive of Gmail and Hangouts within Google Apps for Education. In the 2014 Gartner Magic Quadrant for Enterprise Information Archiving, stated that “Retain is one of the few archiving solutions that offers native Gmail archiving support.”

Here are some of the features that make Retain the best solution for archiving Google Apps for Education:

  • Unified Archiving – Retain doesn’t just archive Gmail. Retain can also archive your user’s social media, web search, and mobile communication data, in one central database.
  • Comprehensive Export Functionality – Retain can easily export your message data into PST, PDF, or portable stand-alone archive viewer formats. The exported file is fully indexed, searchable, and includes a table of contents for quick browsing.
  • Quick and Seamless Restore – With Retain, end users have the ability to restore their individually archived messages directly to their live mailbox. Administrators and other named users also have the ability to restore email messages to any mailbox. There’s no need to call IT.
  • Full eDiscovery Tools – Administrators, records management, and other authorized users, can perform complete eDiscovery and regulatory tasks such as place litigation holds, print, forward, save, redact, strikeout, and export with the built-in tools.
  • Configurable Access – Grant archive access, feature sets and functionality to named users in Retain. Rights are based on the roles you set, such as HR, Legal auditors or others.
  • Google Hangouts Archiving –Retain intercepts the incoming and outgoing messages directly from the firewall, using the social compliance proxy, meaning that Hangouts messages are archived whether “History” is turned on or off.
  • Complete Data Control – Whether your data is archived on-prem or in the cloud, you maintain control of your data. You will always know where your data is stored and only your named users have access to the data. When you need to access or export the data, you can do so easily and quickly.
  • Multiple-User Alias Archiving – Retain supports multiple email addresses, per user. No matter how many email addresses a user has, all of their email data is archived.

Retain provides complete archiving for Gmail on-prem or in the cloud. Retain securely archives all Gmail messages, Gmail notes, files, attachments, appointments and calendar items (iCalendar only). This data is archived in one central location, which can be accessed by end users and administrators directly through Retain’s Web Access Archive Viewer.

So what should you do now?

Here are some good next steps:

Photo Credit: Lockers at school by Brett Levin is licensed under CC BY 2.0 – cropped and color edits

Sheldon Mills
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