The Electric Educator: Understanding Google Vault for Education

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Understanding Google Vault for Education

As of January 2015, Google Vault (formerly Postini) was made available to all Google Apps for Education customers. Formerly a paid service, Vault is now FREE for Educational institutions.

Google Vault is a e-discovery and archiving tool designed to help you retain district data. For public institutions, state and federal regulations require the retention of information for set period of time that varies by state. Vault will make you compliant with these regulations. Vault currently fully supports Gmail and Hangouts with partial support of Google Drive data.

During the 2015 Indiana Google Education summit I led a breakout session focused on the appropriate setup of Vault as well as using Google Vault to comply with Freedom of Information requests (FOIA), internal investigations (i.e. cyber bulling) or recovery of lost data.

The presentation below was captured using a Swivl camera. It's a long session, but you can skip to the parts that pertain to you by selecting any of the slides- the video will automatically jump to that point in the recording.

I have also embedded the original slide deck as well.


  1. I'm curious if you know whether the FOIA regulations apply to non public schools as well?

  2. Hey Josh, thanks for reading and commenting!

    Generally, private schools are considered private businesses therefore FOIA does not apply. That being said, if you receive any form of state or federal funding, your situation may be different. Charter schools do receive federal funding therefore they have a different set of regulations. Regardless of your FOIA status there are many other reasons to have an archiving solution in place.

    Keep in mind that I am not a lawyer or legal expert! Make sure you check with your legal counsel to ensure that you are in compliance with the rules and regulations that apply to your school.

  3. Hi John,
    Great article. Thanks for sharing all info. I have a question, It looks you work with a lot of education entities. Do you have experience with big universities, is part of their best practices to use Google Apps Vault?

    1. Every organization / business should have a data retention, archiving solution in place. Since Vault is free to all EDU customers (even universities), I see no reason NOT to use it. You may have additional needs that fall outside of what Vault can offer, but it can't hurt to have a backup plan.

      The setup and configuration outlined in the post above is appropriate for any organization and is not unique to K-12 schools.

      If I can be of personal assistance, please feel free to reach out to me directly - @jrsowash or jrsowash[at]sowashventures[dot]com


Thanks for contributing to my blog. I enjoy being a part of the conversation and do my best to respond to comments and questions that are posted.