Vault glossary

These are the key terms you need to know when using Google Vault:

  • Delete: When users move messages to the trash. After 30 days, Gmail's normal behavior is to expunge messages from the trash.
  • Delete forever: When users permanently delete messages from user mailboxes by emptying the trash; users cannot recover these messages. When users delete forever, messages are marked to be expunged from all Google systems.
  • Export: An exported set of user data that Google Vault creates for a matter.
  • Expunge: When messages are permanently removed from Google systems, including Vault. After expunge, the messages are not available in any system.
  • Held data: Any supported data type that is placed on hold for a matter.
  • Indefinite (or data retained indefinitely): Retaining data indefinitely means data is permanently available in Vault for the duration of your Vault contract. Data retained indefinitely won't be retained if your Vault contract is terminated or not renewed.
  • Litigation hold: When placed on a user, a litigation hold suspends deletion of the user's Gmail data for litigation purposes.
  • Matter: A collection of the information related to a specific case or investigation.
  • Message: A general term that includes email and on-the-record chats.
  • Period before expunge: A maximum of 30 days. During this period, Vault admins can still search for and find messages in Vault. After this period passes, the messages are expunged. 
  • Remove: When messages are removed from user mailboxes. These messages are then marked to be expunged. Before expunging, Vault admins can still search for and display these messages in Vault.
  • Retention rule: A policy that sets a limit on the number of days that messages are available to users. Messages match criteria that are in the rule (for example, users, terms used in messages, organizational units) and are retained for the retention period (if users haven't deleted forever on their own). A rule always includes a retention period.
  • Retention period: The number of days that messages are available to users if users have not deleted forever; the number of days starts on the date the message was received. After the retention period expires, messages are removed from user mailboxes. They are then marked to be expunged.
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