Retain messages in Groups with Vault

As part of your organization's information governance plan, you can control how long messages in Groups are retained. Use retention rules to set how long to keep messages and when to delete them, if ever.

Set custom retention rules to keep data that matches specific conditions for set time. Set a default retention rule when you need to keep all data for a service for all licensed accounts in your organization for a set time. Custom retention rules override default retention rules, even when the default retention rule has a longer retention period.

Before you set retention rules, we strongly recommend you read about how retention works.

WARNING: An improperly configured retention rule can allow Groups to immediately and irreversibly purge messages. Use caution when you create or change retention rules. We recommend that you test new rules on a small set of accounts before you apply the rules to your entire organization.

Important information about Groups and retention

  • Archiving must be turned on for messages to be retained in groups.

    Vault can hold, retain, and search messages in groups that have archiving is turned on. However, group owners can turn archiving on or off for their groups. If a group owner turns archiving off, the messages from that group are still available in user mailboxes.

  • Messages in Groups are deleted when the group is deleted.

    When a group is deleted, messages in the group are also deleted, similar to what happens when you delete a user's account. Messages in Groups are deleted even when the deleted group was subject to a hold or retention rule. However, messages in Gmail that accounts receive through a subscription to a group aren't deleted and are subject to Gmail retention rules and holds.

Set a custom retention rule for Groups

These steps are for new Vault (vault.google.com). Go to steps for classic Vault

  1. Sign in to vault.google.com.
  2. Click Retentionand thenCustom Rulesand thenCreate.
  3. For the service, select Groups and then click Continue.
  4. Choose which groups the rule applies to:
    • Specific groups—Enter the email addresses of one or more groups.
    • All Groups—Apply the rule to all groups in your organization.
  5. Click Continue.
  6. (Optional) Choose the conditions that must be met for messages to be covered by this rule:
    • Enter Date sent values. If you specify only a start date, the rule applies to all messages sent after that date. If you specify only an end date, the rule applies to all messages sent before that date.
    • Enter any terms that messages must match. You can use all supported search operators except wildcards (*).
  7. Choose how long to keep messages:
    • To permanently retain messages covered by this rule, choose Indefinitely.
    • To discard messages after a set time, choose Retention period and enter the number of days, from 1 to 36,500.
  8. If you set a retention period, choose what to do with messages when the retention period ends:
    • To purge only messages that are already deleted, choose the first option.
    • To purge all messages, including messages that aren't deleted, choose the second option.
    Warning: Vault allows Groups to immediately purge messages that exceed the retention period when you submit a new rule. The purged data can include data that users expect to keep. Don't proceed to the next step until you’re sure the rule is configured correctly.
  9. Click Create. If you set a retention period, Vault asks you to confirm you understand the rule's effects. Check the boxes and click Accept to create the rule.

Set the default retention rule for Groups

These steps are for new Vault (vault.google.com). Go to steps for classic Vault

The default retention rule applies to messages in Groups that aren't covered by a custom rule or a hold.

  1. Sign in to vault.google.com.
  2. Click Retention. The list of default rules opens.
  3. Click Groups "".
  4. Choose how long to keep messages:
    • To permanently retain messages covered by this rule, select Indefinitely.
    • To discard messages after a set time, select Retention period and enter the number of days, from 1 to 36,500.
  5. If you set a retention period, choose what to do with messages when the retention period ends:
    • To purge only messages that are already deleted, choose the first option.
    • To purge all messages, including messages that aren't deleted, choose the second option.
    Warning: Vault allows Groups to immediately purge messages that exceed the retention period when you submit the rule. The purged data can include data that users expect to keep. Don't proceed to the next step until you’re sure the rule is configured correctly.
  6. Click Save. Vault asks you to confirm you understand the rule's effects. Check the boxes and click Accept to save the rule.

Use classic Vault

Click below to open steps for classic Vault (ediscovery.google.com). Go to steps for new Vault

Set retention rules for Groups in ediscovery.google.com

Create a custom retention rule for Groups

Custom rules can be based on organizational units, date ranges, or specific search terms. Custom rules always override the default rule, and if multiple retention rules apply to a message or file, it is retained according to the rule with the longest retention coverage period.

To create custom retention rules:

  1. Sign in to Vault.
  2. In the left navigation, click Retention.
  3. Click Create Rule.
  4. Choose where to apply your rule: Groups.
  5. Choose one of the following:
    • Group Accounts—Apply the rule to one or more groups.
    • All Groups—Apply the rule to all groups in the domain. 
  6. Choose what conditions must be met for messages to be covered by this rule:
    • Enter the sent date for messages subject to this rule. If you enter only a start date, the rule applies to all messages received after that date. If you enter only an end date, the rule applies to all messages received before that date.
    • Enter any terms that might appear in messages subject to this rule. You can also use search operators in this field.
      Note: Do not use wildcards (*) with retention rules.
  7. Choose how long to keep messages:
    • Choose indefinitely to permanently retain messages that match the parameters of this rule. Click Save to create the retention rule. You're done!
    • To expunge messages after a period of time, enter the number of days, from 1 to 36,500.
  8. Click Preview to display a list of messages or files that will be covered by this retention rule. Examine the list to verify that you've set the rule correctly. Make sure it does not permanently delete data that users may need.
    Warning: Vault immediately begins the process of purging data that exceeds the retention coverage period as soon as you submit a new rule. This can include data users expect to keep. Do not proceed to the next step until you’re sure the rule is configured correctly. 
  9. Depending on the type of rule you’re creating, you need to:
    • Click Save to create a retention rule that keeps messages and files indefinitely.
    • Click Continue to create a retention rule that expunges messages and files. Vault asks you to confirm you understand the effects of this retention rule. Check the boxes and click Confirm to create the rule.

Set the default retention rule for Groups

The default retention rule applies to all messages and files that are not covered by a custom rule or a hold. 

To set the default retention rule for your organization:

  1. Sign in to Vault.
  2. In the left navigation, click Retention.
  3. Under Default retention rule, click Mail, Drive, or Groups.
  4. Check the Set a default retention rule box.
  5. Choose how long to keep messages or files:
    • Choose Indefinitely to permanently retain data. Click Save to create the default retention rule. You're done!
    • Enter a number of days from 1 to 36,500:
      • Mail and Groups—days from when the message was sent.
      • Drive—days from when the file was either created or last modified.
  6. Choose what to do with messages or files past the duration you selected:
    • Choose the first option to expunge just the messages or files that users have already deleted.
    • Choose the second option to expunge all messages or files. This includes messages that are in users’ inboxes and Drives. It also includes data that has already been deleted.
    Warning: Vault immediately begins the process of purging data that exceeds the default retention coverage period as soon as you submit this rule. This can include data users expect to keep. Do not proceed to the next step until you’re sure the rule is configured correctly. 
  7. Click Continue to create a retention rule that expunges data. Vault asks you to confirm you understand the effects of this retention rule. Check the boxes and click Confirm to create the rule.
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