Vault license FAQ

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For Google Workspace administrators: License management

Are add-on licenses assigned to all users in my organization by default?

It depends on how you set up licensing after you buy Vault add-on licenses. When you first buy the licenses, they aren’t automatically assigned. You can set up Vault to auto-assign licenses or assign licenses to specific users or organizational units. Learn how

If you already have Vault and use autolicensing, everyone in your organization has a Vault license and new users get a license when you add them, as long as you have licenses available to assign. For details, see How licensing works.

How do I remove a user's Vault license?

Before you remove a user’s Vault license, talk to your organization’s Vault users or legal and compliance teams to confirm it’s OK to remove the license. When you remove a Vault license from a user:

  • That user's data can't be searched or exported in Vault.
  • Any holds on the user's data are removed.
  • Vault retention policies don't apply to the user's data.
  • Any data deleted by the user but retained by Vault is purged from Google's systems.

For instructions, go to Assign Vault licenses.

My organization had Vault enabled before partial-domain licensing rolled out, so all my users have a Vault license. Can I license only a subset of users?

Any user who had a Vault license before the rollout of partial-domain licensing still has a Vault license.

To assign Vault licenses to only a subset of users:

  1. (Optional) To prevent new users from automatically being assigned a Vault license, turn off autolicensing. Learn how
  2. Remove Vault licenses from the users who you don’t want to have licenses. You can make bulk changes by organizational unit or by using a spreadsheet. Learn how
Does a user need a Vault license to use Vault, such as to create retention rules or search?

No. A user who performs tasks in the Vault interface only needs a Google Workspace license and Vault privileges. The user needs a Vault license only if you want their data to be subject to retention policies, holds, or searches.

For Vault users: Licensing effects in Vault

Is it possible for the data of users who don't have Vault licenses to appear in Vault?

Yes. The data of a user without a Vault license can be included in a search if it’s shared or sent to a licensed user. For example:

  • An unlicensed user sends a message or shares a file with a licensed user
  • An unlicensed user leaves a voicemail for or messages a licensed user through Google Voice for Google Workspace
How will I know if a user doesn't have a Vault license?

We strongly recommend that you and your Google Workspace administrator communicate often about Vault licensing changes so that you know when a user's Vault license is removed.

Vault indicates when a user doesn’t have a Vault license under the following conditions:

  • Search—When you search by specific accounts and include a user who doesn’t have a Vault license, Vault returns an error and indicates the user account.
  • Holds—For holds set on specific accounts, a user is displayed in red with a strikethrough if the user no longer has a license. Without a license, the user is no longer on hold.

Vault only indicates unlicensed users for searches and holds applied to specific accounts. You won’t get indications of unlicensed users in searches, holds, and retention rules based on other scopes, such as set on organizational units, all accounts, shared drives, or Chat spaces.

If a user doesn’t have a license who needs one, you can then ask your Google Workspace administrator to assign a license to the user.

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