When an employee leaves or is fired from your organization, you are left with the problem of how to handle the data stored within their Google account. While some administrators may be tempted to delete the account for security reasons, this is usually not the best option as there may be vital files and emails stored within G Suite.
Once the account is deleted from Google, all files and data that were stored there are gone forever. If you discover that a vital business document was in a deleted user’s account, there is no way to retrieve it. Additionally, access to apps such as Google Analytics or AdWords may be lost if that employee was the primary user for these services.
You have the option of keeping the account open (with a changed password for security), but as it costs $10 per month for every user account, this is not the most economically viable solution, as a single organization could end up paying for hundreds of unused Google accounts.
The other option is to securely migrate all of the data including email, Google Drive documents and spreadsheets, contacts, and all other relevant information to another user account. You can then delete the original account without losing any of the data and without paying for an additional, unused account.
Google Services Migration with Spinbackup
Spinbackup provides an easy manual method of securely migrating G Suite data from one account to another including:
- Gmail messages
- Google Drive files
- Google Calendar
- Google Contacts
- Google Sites.
The procedure for migrating each service is very similar. Following are instructions for migrating Gmail Data in G Suite:
By default, only the route administrator can migrate data between accounts. However, you can nominate an additional administrator and give him/her permission to migrate data. You can revoke this permission in the future if needed.
To migrate data follow these steps:
- Go to www.spinbackup.com and log in as G Suite / Google Apps Administrator.
- Insert your e-mail and password or sign in with Google.
- At your dashboard on the left, click Users.
- In a new window, you will see a list of all your domain users subscribed to Spinbackup. Choose the name of a user whose data needs to be migrated and then expand it by clicking the +/- button. Press the Google Mail button.
- You will see the user’s Google Mail backup interface. Now you can choose the backup version that you want to restore. To do this, press the Version button and choose the version by finding it in the list or choosing the required date in the calendar. If the desired restore point corresponds to the last backup version, simply skip this step
- Now press the Restore button.
- In a pop-up window, select the email address of a domain user you want to migrate the data to. You can only select among those users subscribed to Spinbackup. Then press the Start restore button.
- The system will notify you as soon as the migration process is done. Check your Google Mail “Restored by Spinbackup at…” folder and enjoy your migrated data.
Migrating G Suite Data With G Suite Migration Service
Manual data migration through G Suite only is also possible if you do not have a Spinbackup account, however there are several more steps to the process, you are restricted in terms of the data you can export, and it will take more time. Some services require the original owner of the data to complete the migration rather than an administrator.
Transferring Google Drive Files
There is no real option within Google to migrate individual files from one user account to another. To complete this task you need to use the Google Drive APIs and either have custom software developed, or use a service like Spinbackup.
To move all of the files within a user’s account:
- Sign into your Google Admin console with an administrator account
- Go to Apps > G Suite > Drive and Docs
- Click “Transfer ownership“
- Enter the username of the account you want to migrate from in the “from” field and the account you want to migrate to in the “to” field
- Click “Transfer files“
All files will be added to the new user’s Google Drive in a folder named with the email address of the original migrating account. The original owner will still have permission to edit the files until their account is deleted. You can also manually change the permissions of each file to prevent this.
Migrating Gmail Messages to Another Account
You can use the data migration service within G Suite to migrate data from one Gmail account to another. You must be signed in as a super administrator to do this and you need access to the Gmail account of the employee you wish to migrate data from.
- Sign into Google Admin console
- Go to “Data migration“
- Select “Email” and “Сontinue“
- Select “Gmail” from the migration source and click “Сonnect“
- Choose whether or not to migrate deleted and junk email. You can also choose to exclude specified folders from migration
- Click “Select users“, put the old user account email in the “Migrate From” field and the new user account email in the “Migrate To” field
- Click authorize
- The original account owner will receive an authorization email requesting permission to migrate data. They must click “Allow“.
- Copy the authorization code and paste it in the field in the admin console (you have ten minutes to do this before authorization will automatically fail)
- Click “Start“.
Gmail recovery can be paused and progress of the migration can be monitored by hovering over the “status” column.
Migrating Google Calendar Data in G Suite
There is no easy way to migrate calendars you don’t own to a different user account, even as G Suite Administrator. To complete this task, it is necessary for the user to complete his or her own data migration before the account is closed.
Ownership of individual calendars can be changed by using the “share this calendar” option, making sure to grant permissions and manage sharing to the new user. The new owner can then remove access permissions for the original owner.
Calendars can also be exported as an ICS file, which can then be imported to the Google account of the new user.
Export Google Contacts to Another Google Account
Contacts cannot be exported by G Suite administrator and must be exported by the original user account holder. Google Contact recovery if possible if the data is exported as a CSV file, which can then be imported into the new user account.
Other Steps to Maintain Data Security After Migrating a User Account
Once you’ve completed migrating all of the data from the original user account to another employee account, it is important to take some steps to ensure there is no access to company data or applications from the original user account.
- Clean mobile devices of company files – If your employee is given a mobile device to use for work which will then be recycled for another employee, or if you have a BYOD policy and allow employees to use their own mobile devices to work, it is important that any corporate data is removed from this device before the employee leaves your organization. You can do this from the G Suite admin console and either wipe the device completely clean or only remove G Suite data.
- Disable password recovery – Changing the password of an ex-employees account is not sufficient security, as they may be able to use the password recovery options within Google to reset the password. This can be done by simply removing the recovery email address and phone number.
- Change the password – After revoking access to password recovery, the original password should be changed to prevent unauthorized access.
- Revoke OAuth 2.0 application tokens – Application tokens are revoked automatically after a password change. It’s good practice to review all authorized access and revoke any other authorized applications.
- Delete cookies – Deleting the sign-in cookies of the ex-employee will reduce the risk of any unauthorized logins.
- Revoke security keys and app password access – You can access the user’s security settings via the admin console and should make sure that 2-step verification is set. Revoke security keys and application passwords that have been granted to the user account you are migrating.
- Migrate data and delete account – After taking all these steps, the account should be secure and you can safely migrate the data without the risk of any unauthorized data. Once the migration has been confirmed as successful, delete the account to release the licence key and prevent any future access using that account.
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