Get started: Vault administrators

Welcome to Google Apps Vault! This guide will walk you through the steps to get Vault up and running for your organization.

Be sure to complete these steps as soon as possible after purchasing Vault. Vault won't begin preserving data according to your organization's policies and legal requirements until you complete these steps.

Before you proceed, make sure of the following:

  • You are a Google Apps super administrator for your organization. Only super administrators can complete the steps in this guide.
  • You are a Google Apps for Business or Education customer.
  • Google Apps Vault has been purchased for your organization.

Click each step below to learn how to complete it.

1. Make sure Vault is turned on

After purchasing or starting the 30-day trial, you might not see Google Apps Vault under Google Apps for 30 to 60 minutes.
  1. Sign in to the Admin console at, using your administrator account email address (including username and domain) and password.
  2. Click Google Apps.
  3. Under Services, find Vault. Make sure that it is ON.

2. Assign Vault licenses

After you make sure that Vault is on, you can assign licenses to everyone (full-domain licensing) or to just a subset of people (partial-domain licensing).

To assign licenses in the Admin console, do the following:

  1. Consult with people in your organization who understand its business and legal requirements to decide who needs a Vault license.
  2. Follow the steps in the full-domain or partial-domain licensing article.

3. Grant privileges to authorized employees

You can grant privileges to employees who can use them to create retention rules, place litigation holds, or perform investigations. This step is not mandatory for the initial setup of Vault.

To grant privileges in the Admin console, do the following:

  1. Understand the various privileges that you can grant users.
  2. Follow the steps in the Grant administrator privileges article.

4. Sign in to Vault

After purchasing Vault or starting the 30-day trial, we recommend that you wait 30 to 60 minutes before signing in to If you sign in immediately after purchase, you might not see all the areas of Vault that you have access to.

Now that Google Apps Vault is enabled and licenses have been assigned in the Admin console, sign in to Vault by doing the following:

  1. Go to
  2. Sign in with your Google Apps username and password.

Other authorized employees in your domain will sign in to Vault the same way after you've given them access.

5. Set your company's default retention period for archiving

You set a default retention policy to control how long your company's messages are archived before being permanently expunged from your users' mailboxes and all Google systems.

Your company should have a policy about the amount of time messages should be retained. We recommend that you consult your company's legal team when you set up a default retention rule.

  1. In Google Apps Vault, click Retention in the left navigation.

  2. Click Modify default retention period.

  3. In the dialog that appears, select one of these three options:

    • Do not specify a default retention period. Your users' messages will not be archived in Vault unless a custom rule or hold applies.

    • Retain data for a specified number of days (36,500 max). Your users' messages will be archived for the period you specify unless a custom rule or hold applies. After the period elapses, messages will be expunged from users' mailboxes and all Google systems. After expunge, you cannot get messages back.

      Note: The retention period starts on the date the message was received, NOT the day that you set the rule. For example, you set the default for 3650 days (10 years). If a user received a message on January 5, 2004, that message would be removed from the user's mailbox on January 5, 2014, and from Vault shortly thereafter. Learn details about how retention works.

    • Retain data indefinitely. Your users' messages are permanently available in Vault unless a custom rule applies to them.
  4. Click Submit.

Important notes:

  • What happens after you set the default retention rule: Unless a custom rule or hold applies to them, current and future messages in your users' mailboxes are preserved in and expunged from Vault according to the default retention rule.
  • What happens when a user deletes a message: The message is removed from that user's mailbox. However, when the default retention rule or a custom rule applies, the message is still available in Vault for the remainder of the retention period.

Google Apps Vault is now up and running! Vault will preserve your domain's mail and on-the-record chats for the retention period you specified. Learn more about the default retention rule and custom rules.