Set retention rules for Hangouts Chat

Use retention rules to control how long Hangouts Chat data is retained for eDiscovery purposes.Before you set retention rules, we strongly recommend you read about how retention works
WARNING: An improperly configured retention rule can cause the immediate and irreversible purging of data from user accounts. Use caution when creating or changing retention rules. We recommend that you test new rules on a small group of users before applying them to your entire organization.

Important information about Hangouts Chat and retention

Action required: prepare for the retirement of classic Hangouts

Hangouts Chat and Hangouts Meet together are the next generation of Hangouts. Later this year they will replace the original version (classic Hangouts) in G Suite.

Vault administrators must take action to prepare for this transition. ​Learn more.

Retention rules and holds apply to DMs only when history is on

Retention rules and holds always apply to rooms. However, they apply to DMs only when history is turned on. A G Suite admin can control whether history is on or off, or they can allow users to decide.

Retention coverage varies depending on the type of rule
  • The default retention rule applies to all DMs and all rooms.
  • A custom retention rule applied to an organizational unit only covers DMs. Rooms aren't covered.
  • A custom retention rule applied to all rooms only covers rooms. DMs aren't covered.
Direct messages and conversations in rooms are owned by all participants
A DM is owned by both participants in a chat.  A conversation in a room is owned by all participants in the conversation. When participants are covered by different retention policies, Vault retains messages based on the rule with the longest duration.

When a retention period expires, Vault expunges all covered Hangouts Chats

A retention rule that removes messages will expunge all messages when the retention period expires. There is no option to set retention rules that only expunge messages deleted by users.

Create a custom retention rule for Hangouts Chat

You can create custom rules that apply to individual organizational units or to all rooms:

  1. Sign in to Vault.
  2. In the left navigation, click Retention.
  3. Click Create Rule.
  4. Choose where to apply the rule: Hangouts Chat.
  5. Choose an entity:
    • Click organizational unit and choose a unit from the drop-down menu. The rule applies only to DMs that include a member of the organizational unit (not rooms).
    • Click all rooms to create a rule that applies all rooms in the domain (not DMs).
  6. Choose how long to keep messages:
    • Choose indefinitely to permanently retain messages covered by this rule. Click Save to create the retention rule. You're done!
    • To discard messages after a period of time, enter the number of days, from 1 to 36,500.
    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. 
  7. Click Save to create a retention rule that expunges all messages. 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 Hangouts Chat

The default retention rule applies to all messages in your organization that are not covered by a custom rule or a hold.

  1. Sign in to Vault.
  2. In the left navigation, click Retention.
  3. Under Default retention rules, click Hangouts Chat.
  4. Check the Set a default retention rule for Hangouts Chat box.
  5. Choose how long to keep messages:
    • Choose indefinitely to permanently retain all messages. Click Save to create the retention rule. You're done!
    • To discard messages after a period of time, enter the number of days, from 1 to 36,500.
    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. 
  6. Click Save to create a retention rule that expunges all messages. 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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