Leaving no part of the business software suite untouched, Google has recently introduced its new e-Discovery product within its Apps for Business offerings. Called Vault, it serves to automatically store and save emails and chat sessions of users within a Google Apps ecosystem. Like any good e-Discovery product, Vault allows you to easily preserve, retain and retrieve information that may be needed in the course of litigation.
Vault is, like most Google offerings, cloud-based and quite easy to deploy according to reviewers. It is instant on and provides access to all Gmail and on-the-record chats. It’s a bit different – instead of making copies of the tracked content and storing them in a separate storage locale, Vault merely changes how users “see” their content – when an end user “deletes” emails and IM sessions, they are removed from the user-interface view but retained on the Google Apps servers.
Vault costs $5 per user per month, on top of the $50 per user per year, $5 per user per month Google Apps fee. While it certainly isn’t “free”, like many Google products, the price is doable from a small business perspective.
Vault is not the only Google product that can be used for e-document preservation and retrieval – Google Message Discovery is already available and being used by Apps users, at a cost of $33 per user per year. Message Discovery operates more like a traditional e-discovery solution – with copies of docs stored in a separate section of the server. Google advises that the differences between Vault and Message Discovery include:
(1) Google Apps Vault is built natively in Google Apps and provides a true manage-in-place capability
(2) Vault can archive on-the-record chat messages
(3) Vault plans to support additional data types in the future (stay tuned for more information). GMD only supports email.
(4) There is no time limit on retention. GMD has a maximum retention period of 10 years
(5) Easy set-up through the Apps CPanel. GMD has a separate, non-integrated user interface
(6) Vault supports archiving email and on-the-record chat messages in all languages that Google Apps supports. GMD does not support as many languages, particularly double-byte languages.
(7) Vault can leverage existing migration tools for Gmail which gives customers more flexibility and can lower costs.
(8) Vault can be deployed “on-demand” and immediately begin applying information governance policies to the data that exists in your domain’s Gmail inboxes (legacy and newly created data). GMD starts capturing messages from the time that it is deployed and requires Historic Message Journaling to load historical email into the GMD archive.
At release, Vault is available to new Apps customers only. Google assures that it will be available to existing Apps customers in the future, with automated data migration for Message Discovery users. Google likely will expand Vault to other Google products as well, such as the Google Talk client and perhaps even Google voice transcripts.
Google has released the video below outlining it’s Vault product. Take a peek: