By Charlie Wood, CEO & Founder, Spanning
The newly-released Google Apps Vault is a powerful tool for lawyers. What it is not is a backup-and-restore system for users and administrators to protect against accidental or malicious data loss from Google Apps. For that, you need Spanning Backup for Google Apps.
Yesterday Google announced availability of Google Apps Vault, which adds e-discovery capabilities to Google Apps for $5/month per user. This will be a welcome addition for companies looking to ease the collection and review of documents in preparation for litigation.
The video introducing Vault features Google’s General Counsel Kent Walker laying out the purpose of an e-discovery tool:
Google Apps Vault allows you to easily have a dashboard that lets you have visibility into all the relevant documents that might be in a [legal] case, pull them together, assess the case quickly, figure out how you should approach it, and be able to respond to the demands from the other side.
PCWorld’s Tony Bradley further describes the use case for Vault:
As a part of any litigation, the company can be compelled by the court to provide all relevant material to the opposing legal counsel. The process of discovery–or in this case e-discovery–requires that the business be able to preserve, search, find, and retrieve electronic communications such as email messages or instant messaging chats.
If a customer has a complaint, or a lawsuit is filed against the company for some reason, businesses need an efficient means of sifting through thousands upon thousands of emails and instant messaging chat threads to identify and retrieve communications that might be relevant to the matter. That can be a daunting, and resource-intensive task if you don’t have the right tools.
Let’s say a user signs into Google Apps one morning only to discover that a folder of important documents, or a shared calendar, or a month’s worth of emails are missing. If her company is using Spanning Backup, she can simply go to the “More” menu in Google Apps, choose “Spanning Backup”, find the last known-good backup of her data, and restore it in just a few seconds. Or an administrator can do it for her, without ever handling her login credentials.
At Spanning, we have many customers who’ve implemented Spanning Backup for backup-and-restore alongside an e-discovery system like Vault (or its predecessor, Google Message Discovery).
The bottom line is this: before you can select the best tool for the job, you have to understand what problem you’re trying to solve.