When an employee leaves your company, you can change that user’s status from active to archived. This assigns the user an Archived User (AU) license. You can maintain users’ data more securely, while preventing them from accessing G Suite services.
How AU licensing works
To archive a user, you must have an AU license available.
The license type corresponds to your G Suite edition. For example, if you have G Suite Enterprise, you buy G Suite Enterprise – Archived User licenses. AU licenses are currently available for the G Suite Business and Enterprise editions only.
When you archive a user, their active G Suite license becomes available to be assigned to another user. In some cases, it might take up to 24 hours before you can assign the active license to a different user.
If you upgrade or downgrade your G Suite subscription, you can archive users after you separately upgrade or downgrade your AU license subscription to match. If you already have archived users, their AU licenses don’t change—you can unarchive them after you upgrade or downgrade your AU subscription.
To upgrade or downgrade your AU subscription, contact your Google sales representative.
How archiving and unarchiving affect a user
When you archive a user, Google safely maintains all of the user’s G Suite services data and makes it available in Google Vault. The data is protected according to Vault retention rules and holds. See How retention works and Place mail and classic Hangouts on hold.
- The user’s data also stays in any previous data regions that the admin set. See Choose a geographic location for your data.
- Google+ data (posts, comments, and +1s) is retained, but other users can’t access it.
- For G Suite Enterprise users, Google Drive data loss prevention (DLP) continues to run on their data. Refer to Scan and protect Drive files using DLP rules.
An archived user:
- Can’t sign in to their Google Account at all, on any system. This includes Gmail, Google Calendar, Drive, or any other G Suite service.
- Doesn’t appear in the Global Address List. In user directory listings, the user appears with archived status. Learn about the Global Address List.
A user’s archived status appears in user reports, making it easy to monitor, manage, and eventually delete archived users.
If you unarchive a user, the G Suite edition that matches their AU license is applied. If no active license is available, the unarchiving process fails and the user remains archived with their AU license. The user’s Google+ data and profile become accessible to other users again.
How archiving and unarchiving work
You must archive users manually. If no AU licenses are available, an error message appears when you try to archive a user.
You can archive both active and suspended users. If you unarchive a user, they return to their previous state.
An archived user can be deleted or unarchived, but not suspended.