Google Vault now allows admins to archive, search, and export your user’s Google Drive files.

Vault is Google’s archive, search, and file export app for Gmail. It lets Google Apps administrators search user’s emails to allow organisations to meet their data compliance needs. Now Google has expanded Vault to support Google Drive, which allows administrators to monitor Drive files for any users within their Google Apps domain.

Vault resolves one of the biggest problems with Google Apps for Education. Google Drive is essentially a black hole into which students can store and share any files they wish. Until now there was no way for teachers or administrators to monitor the type of content stored in a user’s Google Drive, apart from taking control of a user’s account, or transferring all of their work to another user.

Google Vault has the following features:

  • Email and chat archiving: Set retention rules to control how long email messages and on-the-record chats are retained before they are removed from user mailboxes and deleted from Google systems.
  • Legal holds: Place legal holds on users to preserve all their emails and on-the-record chats indefinitely in order to meet legal or other retention obligations You can place legal holds on all content in a user’s account, or target specific content based on dates and terms.
  • Drive file search: Search your domain’s Google Drive accounts by user account, organizational unit, date, or keyword. Search results include Google file types as well as non-Google file types such as PDF, DOCX, and JPG.
  • Search: Search your domain’s email and on-the-record chats by user account, date, or keyword. Vault supports Boolean, Gmail-specific, and wildcard operator searches.
  • Export: Export specific email, on-the-record chats, and files from Drive to standard formats for additional processing and review.
  • Audit reports: Use Vault audit reports to learn about actions Vault users have taken during a specified period of time.

Searching your organisation’s Google Drive files is really simple. You specify the user accounts() to search, the data range you’re interested in, and specific details about the files you want to locate.


Unlike most Google apps, Vault is a paid for service, even for Google Apps for Education users. The cost is £3.30 (around $7) per user/per month, although schools do get a discount if they contact Google direct. You can buy a Vault license for specific users, so you don’t have to cover every user, but you don’t really get the full benefit if only a few users are supported,

Will your school be investing in Google Vault now Drive is supported? Let me know in the comments.


About Author

Profile photo of Karl Rivers

Karl is an award winning Director of IT for the Royal Grammar School Guildford, based near London, England. He has been working in education for more than ten years and founded ClassThink in 2013 to share technology best practice with other schools. In 2014 he won the NAACE Impact Award for support services in schools, and writes edtech articles for Education Executive Magazine.

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