Google Vault and Spanning Backup: Two Great Products. Two Different Purposes.
G Suite administrators often begin their search for G Suite data backup by investigating Google Vault as a potential solution, leading to this common question: “What’s the difference between Vault and Spanning Backup for G Suite?”
This blog provides more details on both Vault and Spanning Backup — and their different use cases — to help you make the best choice for your organization.
Do You Want eDiscovery or Recovery? That Is the Question.
Vault is a valuable tool for archiving and eDiscovery, but using Vault alone is not a backup plan. As Google notes, Gmail messages deleted over 25 days prior can be manually restored with Vault – if the messages are covered by a retention rule or a hold. You will have to export the messages from Vault and put them back into Gmail using third-party tools. You cannot use it to restore files deleted from Google Drive, however.
Google Vault is purpose-built for archiving and eDiscovery. It was created for legal matters (litigation and compliance audits). Google Vault will prevent data loss if an account is placed on litigation hold and has not been deleted.
Restoring mail and files from Vault is not a seamless process, and requires considerable manual intervention.
- With Vault, you need to export the messages to either a compressed PST or mbox file, then extract them. Admins with access to Google Vault must manually export the messages to their local machine — either in mbox or PST format — and then upload those messages back into Gmail using third-party tools. Downloading the data locally adds additional risk for loss or error that can be avoided by using a direct restoration tool like Spanning Backup.
- With Vault, you’d need to export files from Drive in a similar restoration flow. You’d need to manually export one or more compressed files, every associated XML file for metadata, and a CSV file that maps document IDs to user accounts. You’d then need to manually identify exactly which versions of what documents to restore — and then upload those messages back into Drive using third-party tools. When using a direct restoration tool like Spanning Backup, you can save significant time and effort by restoring files directly into Drive for the same user or a different user along with the sharing settings — no download required.
- There are added data loss risks when using retention holds. Google warns, “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.” To use Vault for restoration requires the files and mail needing to be restored are under a retention rule or hold. To restore lost data using Vault — provided the data was covered by a retention rule or hold — also means manually searching for, exporting, then reinserting the mail or files in question.
- Google Vault doesn’t support versioning for non-Google files like PDF and .docx. If your Drive contents include non-Google files, you will not be able to access and restore earlier versions if you only use Google Vault.
As you can see, even if you use Vault, you still need a reliable backup and restore solution to quickly restore data – a best practice for any critical system. This will keep all your important cloud-stored data backed up and available at all times, allowing you and your end users to quickly find and recover data when it goes missing for any reason.
Spanning Backup for G Suite is purpose-built for backup and recovery. It was created to prevent data loss with automated daily backups, unlimited manual backups, and seamless, automated restores. Spanning protects Gmail, Drive, Team Drives, Contacts, Calendars and Sites, and it allows end users to restore their own data without waiting for an admin to assist.
To sum up, if you need to retain emails for legal and compliance, to know who had access to which documents when — and who made which changes at what time — you want Google Vault, because it’s designed for eDiscovery and archiving. If you want to keep your organization’s data protected and available in the event of accidental deletions or sync errors, and you want to protect your organization from malicious actors or malware / ransomware attacks, you want backup and recovery like Spanning Backup for G Suite. You may in fact decide you need BOTH products.
If backup and recovery is what you’re really looking for, start a free trial of Spanning Backup for G Suite today.Download Understanding the Difference between Google Vault and Spanning Backup