Google’s G Suite software as a service offering provides organizations with tremendous functionality. Organizations today utilizing Google G Suite are taking advantage of cloud email, calendaring, file storage, and many other features provided by Google G Suite. With the tremendous advantages that moving to the cloud provides, there are also additional manageability issues that come with organizations moving to the cloud. Organizations may find it more difficult to keep a handle on data that exists in the cloud. This can be especially challenging when it comes to archiving data and any requests for that data that may come due to a legal issue that is presented.
As an example, educational institutions today must maintain compliance with regulations such as the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) and Freedom of Information Act. FERPA enables students and parents of students to review student records, including email if they so choose. The Freedom of Information Act which government agencies including public schools and universities, must make available any copies of information requested, which would include any relevant emails. IT departments must comply with these requests within 10 days. When organizations move to the public cloud, utilizing Google G Suite, they can make use of Google Vault to stay in compliance with these and other types of regulations requiring archived data. What is Google Vault and what features does it bring to the table? How might Google Vault be lacking?
Table of Contents
What is Google Vault?
Google Vault is an offering from Google for G Suite organizations to retain, hold, search, and export data to support archiving and eDiscovery needs. The supported list of services for Google Vault includes:
- Gmail messages
- Hangout chats and Google Talk chats that are on the record
- Google Groups
- Files in Google Drive and Team Drives
The use cases addressed with Google Vault include the following:
Google Vault allows setting retention rules to determine how long data is kept for user accounts and then deleted.
- Keep data as long as you need to keep it if you need to preserve data for a longer period of time. You can configure Google Vault to keep messages even if users delete messages and files and even empty their trash
- Additionally, if you have organization policies to delete data after a certain period of time, Vault is configurable to allow this as well
- Organizations can create two kinds of retention rules – custom and default
Allow the preserving of data for an indefinite period of time to meet legal or preservation obligations.
- If a hold is placed on a user and they delete data, the data is removed from the view of the user, but is retained in Google Vault.
Allows searching domain data from various aspects, including user, OU, keyword as well as Boolean and wildcard expressions for finding data.
Data can be exported for additional scrutiny and review.
- Provides comprehensive copies of all data matching search criteria
- Provides metadata to link exports to G Suite users
- Provides corroborating information required to prove exported data matches data stored on Google servers
- Mail chat and groups exports provide PST or mbox formats
Check out this guide on how to Import MBOX to Gmail.
These reports allow auditing Vault user actions taken during a specific period of time.
- This includes users who have permissions to perform Vault actions such as adjusting retention rules or searching
- Export Vault audits to CSV files
The above is certainly great functionality when it comes to legal, compliance, and other eDiscovery initiatives for organizations utilizing G Suite. However, one very important distinction for organizations to make about Google Vault is that it is not a “backup” mechanism. Let’s see why Vault should not be considered as an effective backup solution for Google G Suite environments.
How to Use Google Gault? Google Vault – Backup for G Suite?
Google Vault contains no direct restore functionality of items contained in the Vault. The items that are found in the Google Vault can only be searched, viewed, and exported. They cannot be “restored” as such to the original location whether it be an email inbox, Drive, or Team Drive. This is certainly a major feature of any effective backup mechanism that is missing in Google Vault.
Additionally, Google Vault only contains the latest versions of files that are maintained and not multiple versions of the file. Any effective backup solution affords the ability to pick a “restore point” that allows restoring the file back to a point in time, perhaps before changes were mistakenly made, or ransomware infected the file. Since Google Vault maintains no revisions of files, organizations relying on Vault to be a pseudo-backup mechanism would be left in an extremely vulnerable position in the event of the aforementioned file changes that would require separate versions of files to truly restore data.
Another important point that organizations thinking of utilizing Vault as a backup mechanism is that it does not cover all the apps found in G Suite. It is not designed to back up or directly restore data found in G Suite including Drive, Calendar, Sites and Contacts.
Google Vault is great at what it does – archiving and eDiscovery operations. Organizations will benefit by using it in this way and realizing these capabilities are Google Vault’s strengths and intended purpose. It is not meant to be and wasn’t designed to be a backup solution for Google Workspace. Organizations who incorrectly assume that it is may find themselves in a position of losing valuable business-critical data that they may not be able to recover.
Backup and control your data with SpinOne – Google Vault is not enough
What can organizations today rely on if they are using Google G Suite apps for business-critical data and operations? As shown, Google’s Vault solution is NOT a backup solution, but rather an archiving and eDiscovery tool. SpinOne provides a powerful solution that fills all the needs of organizations today looking for an effective and efficient backup solution for G Suite environments.
SpinOne is a one of a kind solution that offers data loss protection, data leak prevention, and powerful G Suite security features, all in a single product. The “single pane of glass” dashboard allows G Suite administrators to have complete control and visibility over their G Suite environments from both a data and security perspective.
Consider 7 Tangible Benefits that SpinOne DLP Brings to the Table
- Built on top of powerful cloud architecture that is not dependent upon Google’s infrastructure. While Google Vault relies on its own infrastructure, SpinOne is a standalone solution that provides resiliency outside of Google infrastructure.
- Automated Daily Backups – SpinOne provides true backups. The backups created are automated and provide multiple restore points to go back to in the event of data loss. The powerful “Restore in Time Machine” functionality is like a DVR for organizations looking to roll files back or restore them to a specific point in time.
- This provides true protection from total data loss as well as events such as ransomware infection that may render files totally corrupted.
- Risky third-party apps control – The G Suite marketplace provides access to myriads of third-party applications that can greatly increase functionality in the G Suite environment. However, even though Google screens the apps, there are apps that may have malicious intent or that have access to data in the G Suite environment they should not have access to. SpinOne is able to control which applications are installed and what data they have access to.
- G Suite Ransomware Protection – Ransomware is probably the single most concerning security issue to business-critical data today. As mentioned, Google Vault does not protect organizations from this extremely malicious security threat. SpinOne Ransomware Protection proactively monitors and automatically remediates access to G Suite data that is infected with ransomware. Additionally, it can perform automatic restores of data that has been affected by ransomware.
- Insider Threat Protection – By monitoring end user usage patterns, file access, and other metrics, SpinOne is able to determine insider threats that may exist with users who may be downloading data they should not, sharing it with unauthorized outsiders, or whose account may have been compromised from attackers just to name a few.
- Sensitive Data Control – SpinOne protects organizations from data leakage that contains sensitive data such as credit card numbers.
- Powerful proactive alerting – SpinOne empowers G Suite administrators to be proactive by receiving alerts when certain important events are detected such as ransomware and other malicious activity.
When comparing SpinOne DLP with Google Vault, there simply isn’t a comparison between the products. While Google Vault has a specific use case in archiving data and making it available for eDiscovery and other needs, it is simply not a backup solution for G Suite environments. Quite simply, SpinOne provides a much more powerful and robust feature set when it comes to backing up G Suite data that qualifies it as a true data protection solution. This is designation that can’t be applied to Google Vault.
Aside from the superior backup and recovery features that SpinOne provides, it is a fully featured solution that goes way beyond simply backup and recovery of G Suite and its applications. It provides true data loss AND data leak protection. The powerful cybersecurity features contained within SpinOne such as the ransomware protection is truly powerful and can greatly bolster an organizations cybersecurity stance in the G Suite public cloud.
When you consider that SpinOne costs the same per user as Google Vault for a much more powerful solution that provides far reaching capabilities and features that Google Vault simply does not provide, it is a much better choice for organizations who want to truly implement backup, recovery, and cybersecurity for their G Suite organization.
Comparing Cost of Google Vault Pricing and SpinOne DLP
When comparing Google Vault pricing with SpinOne, let’s take a look at a typical use case comparing G Suite subscription levels, Google Vault, and SpinOne along with the price points for each.
In the following scenario we have:
- 100 users in the G Suite domain
- 10 users that are privileged users
Pricing Utilizing G Suite subscription levels and Google Vault
G Suite basic subscription:
- Does not include Google Vault
- Vault with G Suite Basic cost – $5 for each of the 100 users = $500 required to upgrade to G Suite Business
- G Suite Basic cost – $5 for each of the 100 users = $500
G Suite Business subscription:
- Includes access to Google Vault
- G Suite Business costs $10 per user
- For the same number of users (100), $10 for 100 users = $1000
Pricing of G Suite with SpinOne
SpinOne provides a much more economical solution for much greater features and functionality. Consider the same user scenario mentioned above.
- 100 users with 10 privileged users
- With SpinOne, you only have to purchase the G Suite Basic subscription – $5 per user = $500
- SpinOne allows purchasing licenses for only those users you want the functionality. If you only want to protect the 10 privileged users, you can do that with SpinOne.
- 10 privileged users = $ 5 for SpinOne Security & Backup license per user = $50
- The total expenditure for the G Suite basic subscription (100 users) adding SpinOne for the 10 privileged users = $550
Most organizations today are moving some if not all of their infrastructure to the public cloud. Google’s G Suite environment provides a great, fully-featured, solution for businesses today to be agile and efficient and move much more quickly than building their own systems and infrastructure. Protecting data in the public cloud should be a foremost concern to organizations looking to store business-critical data in environments such as Google G Suite.
Google provides a great solution for archiving and eDiscovery in Google Vault. It allows many great features that allow for quickly searching, holding on to, exporting, and reporting on audit data. However, it is not a data protection solution that organizations can trust as being a type of “backup” of their data.
SpinOne provides all the features and functionality that you should look for in a true solution to protect G Suite data and have a means to quickly recover from disaster. Aside from the backup and recovery features, SpinOne provides many other features that go way beyond backup and recovery. Fully GDPR compliant data loss and leak protection along with the powerful cybersecurity features make SpinOne a superior solution to Google’s native tools, including Vault.
Check out our Ultimate G Suite Security Guide!!