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What are the Limitations of Google Vault? Complete Discussion

Published By Siddharth Sharma
Anuraag Singh
Approved By Anuraag Singh
Published On June 13th, 2024
Investigate the reasons behind Google Vault's limitations as a backup option, which stem from core design issues. Find out the reasons behind the common misconception that Vault is the preferred choice for archiving content outside of Gmail, even though Google has explicitly stated its disapproval, and uncover better options that are being recommended.

Google Vault has limitations that extend beyond the archiving domain, making it an inferior backup option. The system directly incorporates these problems, as they contradict the fundamental design of the service. First and foremost, investigators use Google Vault as an e-discovery tool during investigations and data catalog creation.

Any alternative use is purely a coincidence and thus does not receive any direct support from Google. Therefore, via this write-up, we inform users why not to use Google Vault as a backup system and provide the alternatives as well.

Let’s start our discussion by understanding why users still choose to archive data in Google Vault even though it’s not designed for such use.

What is Google Vault?

what is Google Vault

Google Vault is a service provided by Google Workspace (formerly known as G Suite) that assists companies in handling, storing, finding, and sharing their information for legal and regulatory needs.

Why Users Archive Their Data in Google Vault

  • Unaware of Drawbacks: The most basic reason is that the employees might be unaware of the role that Vault plays. Google Vault only Archive Gmail email. It does not archive mixed environments, social media, or any other devices like mobile phones. To deal with this issue, conduct an informational seminar throughout the organization informing every employee about the dos and don’ts of Google Vault.
  • Familiarity with UI: As Vault is a part of Google’s ecosystem, users may start to use it due to the similar design. This gradually results in employees being entirely dependent on Vault for all backup and archiving scenarios, no matter how big or small. Introduce a company-wide policy to prevent the misuse of the Vaults archiving feature. Moreover, administrators can limit access to the vault by applying strict need-to-know criteria.
  • Confusing Naming Scheme: Not all blame is to be put on the users themselves, as the naming convention chosen by Google in this case does not fully fit the service. In the physical world, banks and museums use vaults to store important information. So users might have put two and two together to assume that the digital Vault offers the same service as well.
  • Easy Searching: In the end, one of the core reasons why Vault is so popular among professionals for storing and backing up data is how easy it is to search for any information. Considering it is the brainchild of the same people behind the world’s most popular search engine, searching is something that has always been the USP of all Google products. Including Vault. 

No matter what the reason might be, the truth is that Google by default only recommends using Vault as an e-discovery application and nothing more. However, despite this recommendation, users continue to use Vault as an archiving and data backup system. Let’s see the drawbacks and other negative aspects of not following the industrial guidelines.

Drawbacks of Using Google Vault as a Backup Platform

  • High Risk of Data Loss: Google itself is under no obligation to preserve the data stored within the Google Vault. According to them, it is just an e-discovery tool. Therefore, users who keep their data might lose years of hard work without warning.
  • No Versioning Capability: Another one of the many limitations of Google Vault as a backup is the lack of versioning. This feature is essential in any modern storage software. The indication shows that Vault is not designed for this purpose.
  • Limited Customization Options: Vault is an e-discovery tool at its core; therefore, almost all data types are stored similarly. This is not feasible for a backup scenario that heavily depends on compartmentalization and separate sections for different data types.


Now we hope users are aware of the various limitations of Google Vault as a backup. Moreover, they now know why not to use it in a professional setting. As mentioned earlier, most users are simply unaware of the fact that Google itself forbids them to archive their data in Vault.

And we might soon remove the functionality altogether. That’s why users need a quick way to transfer their data to a better alternative. For moving their data, users can take advantage of the automated utility discussed briefly in the writeup.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. What can organizations do to prevent the misuse of Google Vault?

Companies ought to hold educational workshops to teach staff how to correctly utilize Google Vault and put in place company-wide rules to limit its use to only e-discovery.

Q. What makes Google Vault a significant risk for losing data?

Google Vault doesn’t ensure the safety of data since it’s primarily made for e-discovery purposes. Information kept in the Vault might disappear unexpectedly.

Q. Can Google Vault store data from sources other than Gmail?

No, Google Vault is mainly designed to archive Gmail emails and does not support archiving from mixed environments, social media, or mobile devices.

Q. What is the core purpose of Google Vault to Google?

The main function of Google Vault is to serve as an e-discovery tool for adhering to legal and regulatory standards, rather than as a system for data backup or archiving.