Businesses generate and consume massive amounts of email and instant messaging communications. For many businesses, all of that data has to be preserved, and produced on demand in the event of litigation. Google has introduced Google Apps Vault–a new service for Google Apps for Business customers that promises streamlined data retention and e-discovery.
As a part of any litigation, the company can be compelled by the court to provide all relevant material to the opposing legal counsel. The process of discovery—or in this case e-discovery—requires that the business be able to preserve, search, find, and retrieve electronic communications such as email messages or instant messaging chats.
If a customer has a complaint, or a lawsuit is filed against the company for some reason, businesses need an efficient means of sifting through thousands upon thousands of emails and instant messaging chat threads to identify and retrieve communications that might be relevant to the matter. That can be a daunting, and resource-intensive task if you don’t have the right tools.
Google Apps Vault (simply “Vault” for short) makes the process easier for Google Apps for Business customers. Google claims that Vault can reduce the costs of litigation, regulatory investigation, or compliance actions by providing a way to manage and preserve important business data generated or transmitted within Google Apps.
A post from the Official Google Enterprise Blog explains, “Vault provides access to all of your Gmail and on-the-record chats and can provide significant savings to your business over the traditional costs of litigation and eDiscovery.”
Vault enables Google Apps for Business customers to search through archived communications based on dates, senders, recipients, or labels to quickly locate the desired information. Vault relies on the same Google infrastructure that Google Apps for Business customers already count on. Because it’s a Web-based solution, there are no hardware or infrastructure costs involved, and the service can be activated and deployed in minutes.
Google Apps Vault can be added to your Google Apps account for an additional $5 per user per month. For one user, that doesn’t sound too bad, but if you’re talking about 100 users, or 1,000 users, or more, that $5 per user can add up quickly.
If you’re a Google Apps for Business customer, check out Google Apps Vault and see what it has to offer. Before deciding, though, make sure you weight out the annual cost of the Google Apps Vault service compared with other data archiving and e-discovery solutions and make sure Vault is the best value for your needs.