How to use Google Apps Vault

– Your Ultimate Quick Start Guide for Google Apps Vault –

Netkiller provides archiving implementation services for Google Apps clients. Many people like Vault but they want to feel confident before adopting an additional service.

Vault can help protect your organization from legal and compliance risks.  With Vault, you can be prepared to assess a legal matter or compliance issue in a timely, cost-effective way, with minimal disruption to your business.

Integrated within Google Apps for Business and Education, Google Apps Vault is developed and designed to reduce costs and risks by allowing users to archive, manage, and preserve emails and on the record chats for information governance, e Discovery, and regulatory investigations.

Now here’s the quick start guide how you can make the most of Vault for your organization.

Create or modify a Default retention

With Vault you can set a default retention policy to control how long your company’s messages are archived before being permanently expunged from your users’ mailboxes and all Google systems.

After Vault is enabled, Super Admin user can access eDiscovery at

Click “Retention” link and select to confirm your default retention period. In this case, I’ve chosen “Retain data for a specific number of days” and enter 36500. In other words, email messages including historical data are being archived upto 100 years.

Now you can find that the default retention period is confirmed as 36500 days.

You can also add additional retention rules by clicking “Retention” link again.

Create a New Matter

Whether you want to search email contents, export data or create contents policy, for any job that you want, you always have to create a new matters.

In Google Apps Vault, a matter is a container for all of the data related to a specific topic, such as a litigation case or investigation.

When you sign in to Google Apps Vault, you see the Matters page, which lists of all open matters your account can access. These include matters you created and matters that are shared with you.

To create a new matte, Click ‘Create’ button and enter the name that you desire. Click “Create new matter”.

Create holds

A hold allows you to preserve messages (emails and on-the-record chats) in Vault indefinitely in order to meet legal or preservation obligations; create a hold to override data from deletion beyond default retention rules.

Click “Create Hold” button and enter desired hold name, users and date range or terms.  You can leave then blank if you would like to.

Once a hold is created you can see hold name and config. information as below.

Also, you can search All or Held data by choosing on Source. And unless you want to narrow down with particular accounts(email), date range, or keywords, just leave them as blank and click Search. In this demo, “Held Data” is chosen, so I can search only hold data that I have defined previously.

Here is the search result. You can save query for future use as favorite. You can also export the result or share it with someone.

In this demo, I’ll export the data and enter the task name for the data.

As you see, the data is exported to the Google Cloud. It can take a few minutes to up to a day depending on the size of the data.

Once exporting is done, you can see the results as below. The results can be downloaded into a MBOX file format.

Additionally, you can share the data with other users, just like sharing the google docs via gmail.

Audit search activity

Vault audits provide details about actions that Vault users have taken during a specified period of time.  Audit archives every activities of admin users.

You can export the audit trails by going to Reports > Audit and in  Select date range, include start and end dates for the audit. In Select Vault users, include users on whom you want to run the audit.

The Vault users you enter here have Vault privileges; you are auditing their actions in Vault (for example, if they’ve set retention rules, searched in matters, modified holds, or performed any other administrative actions). In Select action types, check the boxes next to actions about which you want audit information. Click Download CSV. A CSV file that contains audit information will be downloaded to your device.


Here’s the sample csv file.

To learn more about Vault functionality and availability for your Google Apps, consult with Netkiller, listed as the first Vault partner on Google Apps Marketplace which helped hundreds of organizations to implement archiving features to protect their businesses.