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Vault licensing

What is a Vault Former Employee license?

When former employees’ messages transition from Google Message Discovery to Vault, Google user accounts are created automatically and assigned Vault Former Employee (VFE) licenses. VFE licenses are no-cost ($0) licenses that enable a Vault administrator to search, hold, export, and retain data in Vault for inactive user accounts.

Note: Vault Former Employee licenses are currently available only for the customer domains that transition from Google Message Discovery to Vault.  All other customers that require a means to manage former employee data should contact their reseller or Google Account Manager for further details.


How do I continue preserving messages for an employee who leaves the organization after the transition to Vault?

Preserving a former employee's messages in Vault is different for customers who transition from Postini to Google than for a non-transitioning customers. Any user whose data is subject to retention policies, holds, searches, or other Vault functionalities requires a Vault or a VFE license. To continue preserving messages for an employee who leaves the organization, you must assign an available VFE license to the former employee's user account. 

Assigning a VFE license results in the following actions:

  • All Google licenses are removed.
  • All licensed Google services are turned off except for Vault.
  • All messages in Vault are retained for eDiscovery.

Caution: Do not delete or unlicense the user account if you want to continue preserving messages.


What happens if I delete or unlicense a user account with an assigned Vault Former Employee license?

Before unlicensing any user with an assigned Vault license, the Google administrator should talk to the organization's Vault administrators, Vault investigators, or the legal or compliance team to confirm that the user no longer needs a license because:

  • If you unlicense a Vault user and also remove the Google license, user data may be lost, as the data will no longer be managed by Vault.
  • If you remove only the Vault license, user data may also be lost, as the following actions occur:
    • The user will no longer be searchable in Vault.
    • Any holds on the user's data will be removed.
    • Vault retention policies will no longer apply to the user's data.
    • Any email or chats that the user deleted will be purged from Google's systems.
    • If you also remove the Google license, all user data may be subject to purging from Google’s systems.

If an employee leaves and you wish to keep the employee’s user data, you should assign a VFE license, which removes all Google licenses from the user's account and turns off all licensed services except Vault.


What if I need more Vault Former Employee licenses?

How you obtain more VFE licenses depends on whether you obtain Google licenses online or offline:

  • Online—Contact support.
  • Offline—Follow the same process that you normally use to add other Google licenses.

How do I assign Vault Former Employee licenses?

See Assign Vault Former Employee licenses.