What affect will the introduction of Google Vault have on companies provising backup services for Google Apps™?

Post date: 16-Apr-2012 14:28:46

Where does this leave companies who are providing backup services for Google Apps?

Now that Google have announced they are releasing Google Vault on the unsuspecting world of Google Apps™, I have to ask where does that leave companies who are providing backup services for Google Apps.

Companies such as Spanning and Backupify, backup your Google Apps data to another cloud service provider ensuring if your data is lost on Google you will always get it back again.

Google are releasing this first in the US, so those of us in the UK and Europe will have to wait a bit before we are able to get some hands on, with the product. They seem to be pitching the product towards compliance and litigation which in todays world of expensive employee relations cases could save time and money.

Though initially only covering email and chat, Google plans to expand this to other products in the marketplace later this year. In January Google enhanced email Spam filtering in the main product and replaced and phased out the Free edition of Postini, which came with the paid for version of Google Apps for business. Now they are taking it a step further and including compliance and archiving as an integrated part of Google Apps. This will be an additional paid service on top of what you already pay for with Google Apps.

Should I stop backing up my Google Data when the Vault becomes available?

As I have not seen the product yet, it is not easy to comment, however if you look at it this way; Would you back up your data on a server and then store your backup tapes or backups on, or near the sever you backed up? I think you would agree that this would not be a sensible idea. So personally I would continue backing up my data to a third party, either another trusted cloud provider or to a server in-house.

Spanning posted a useful Blog Post on the subject - Spanning Post. Essentially they see Vault as just Postini V2.0. Lisa Messelt goes on to say, "It's a question of whether a company requires an e-discovery solution, a backup solution, or both. The two products fit very different use cases. While I agree that some people may choose one over the other, it will be due to a difference in needs not some competitive edge. Doing a side by side comparison is appropriate between Spanning Backup and other backup solutions. To do that kind of comparison between Spanning Backup and Google Vault is comparing apples to oranges. They don't solve the same problem.

Before looking at anything brand specific, a company must decide whether they need e-discovery or backup. Spanning Backup isn't an e-discovery tool - we're not competing with Google Vault".

The pitch

In legal actions, a business can be required to turn over all emails on a topic, or between certain employees and customers. This can be a huge and expensive headache, hunting down these emails, especially for smaller companies who don't have dedicated IT staff. Even then, there's no guarantee they'll REALLY get everything relevant as emails regularly gets deleted.

Google Apps Vault lets IT staff set make sure that all relevant emails are stored forever, then gives them an easy way to search those emails.

Information Governance - Google Apps Vault allows you to reduce risks and costs associated with litigation, investigation, and compliance audits. For an additional $5/user/month, you can add capabilities to Google Apps that help prepare your business for these situations.

Archive and manage in place - A single archive for Gmail and on-the-record chat messages, built on Gmail, where the data is managed in-place. Governance policies are applied directly to the native data store, eliminating the need to duplicate data in a separate archive and helping to reduce the risks associated with data movement and from spoliation. A robust audit trail provides complete visibility across the archive.

Retain business documents - Email and chat retention policies allow businesses to define standard retention policies for Gmail and on-the-record chat messages based on content, labels, and metadata. Once a message reaches the end of the retention period, Google Apps Vault automates compliance with the retention policies. The automated enforcement of policies, as well as legal holds, reduces the risks of spoliation and noncompliance. The legal hold functionality helps ensure email and chat messages can be preserved beyond their standard retention period for a litigation or an investigation.

Find relevant documents - eDiscovery tools allow authorized users to search across the domain for data that may be relevant to a specific matter or investigation. Google search algorithms can search domain wide, across large amounts of email in the archive and quickly return results. Authorized users can define and manage collections of message search results and collaborate with others to manage them. Email can be exported for further review and processing.

By Chris Barrow

Aragorn Consulting - Google Apps™ Authorized Reseller