Enterprise Solutions [Go to GAT Labs for Education solutions here]

How To Reduce Archived User (AU) Accounts In Google Workspace

Archived User (AU) License

See GAT Labs
in action

Table of Contents

The evolution of Google Workspace has brought about a fundamental shift in how organizations manage their digital environments. While it offers scalability and a suite of collaborative tools, one of the subtle complexities lies in managing Archived User (AU) accounts, especially regarding data belonging to former employees.

What is an Archived User (AU) Account?

An Archived User (AU) account is a cost-effective solution for retaining data from employees who have left the company. By converting a former employee’s account to an archived state, their data is preserved without the need for a full user license, preventing any new activity while retaining their data securely.

Google Vault: eDiscovery and Compliance

Google Vault serves a more expansive purpose than the AU license. It’s a tool that goes beyond retention, providing comprehensive eDiscovery and compliance capabilities. With Vault, organizations can implement holds and searches across the entire Workspace for legal investigations and compliance mandates.

Takeaway: Use Google Vault when you need a powerful, search-ready repository for current and historical data across your organization.

Understanding the Key Differences

While AU accounts focus on the retention of a specific user’s data, Google Vault provides functionalities that go beyond preservation. Here’s how they differ:

  • Data Retention Scope: AU accounts are specific to an individual’s data after they leave the organization, whereas Google Vault can manage data across all Workspace users for eDiscovery purposes.
  • Functionality: AU accounts simply retain data, but Google Vault allows for in-depth searches, holds, and exports for legal and compliance reasons.
  • User Access and Control: Archived users cannot access Google Workspace services, but their data can be managed and accessed by administrators. Google Vault, on the other hand, offers more granular control and is integral for active compliance management.

Takeaway: Align your choice between AU licenses and Google Vault with your organization’s data retention needs and compliance requirements.

Practical Implications for Google Admins

When an employee leaves, administrators can opt for an AU account to preserve the user’s data within Google Vault without the additional Workspace features. It is a straightforward, cost-contained approach. 

However, if there’s a need for ongoing access to the data for legal or compliance reasons, Google Vault’s robust capabilities become essential.

Data Retention: A Double-Edged Sword

While retaining data is crucial for compliance and continuity, it comes at a cost. The key questions to consider include:

  • How much of the retained data is indispensable?
  • Are there cost-effective strategies for data retention?
  • What are the long-term implications of accumulating AU accounts?

These questions underscore the importance of a well-considered offboarding process that aligns with financial prudence and regulatory compliance.

Making the Right Choice

Deciding between an AU license and Google Vault functionality will depend on several factors:

  • Regulatory Requirements: If your organization is subject to legal hold and eDiscovery requests, Google Vault is indispensable.
  • Cost Management: For budget-conscious organizations, AU accounts can help reduce costs associated with data retention.
  • Data Accessibility: Consider who needs access to the retained data and for what purposes. For simple retention, AU accounts suffice; for complex queries and legal contexts, Vault is necessary.

Educating on Best Practices

To empower organizations in making informed decisions regarding AU accounts, here are some recommended best practices:

  • Align with IT Policy: Define clear offboarding procedures within your IT policy that reflect the specific needs of your business.
  • Stay Informed: Keep informed of changes in Google Workspace’s pricing structure and storage limits to plan for future costs effectively.

Action Step: Review and update your IT policies regularly to ensure they align with the latest legal requirements and best practices for data retention and offboarding.

Reducing Archived User Licenses: A Comparative Look

Making informed decisions often requires a clear understanding of how various solutions stack up against each other. To aid in this process, we’ve compiled a competitor comparison table that illustrates the effectiveness of different tools in managing AU licenses.

This table showcases key features and capabilities across several solutions, highlighting where GAT stands out in terms of functionality, cost savings, and overall value:

Reducing AU Licenses Competitor Comparison Table

GAT’s Distinct Advantage in Managing AU Licenses

The comparison table illustrates the key advantages of using GAT’s tools:

  • Enhanced Google Vault Management: GAT Flow enables seamless setting and removal of Google Vault holds as well as the creation of data exports. These features enhance administrative efficiency.
  • Cost-Effectiveness: GAT’s pricing model is highlighted in the table as a more economical option, particularly notable when considering the comprehensive suite of features offered.
  • Simplicity and Automation: GAT tools simplify the offboarding process, reducing the need for AU licenses and the associated costs, as shown in the table.

By considering these factors, Google Workspace admins can make a more informed decision about which tools best fit their organizational needs.


Understanding and managing ArchivedUser (AU) accounts in Google Workspace is critical for maintaining cost efficiency and compliance. By educating on the implications of AU licenses and offering solutions through tools like GAT Flow, organizations can navigate the complexities of data retention with confidence and strategic foresight.

Stay in the loop

Sign up to our newsletter to get notified whenever a freshly baked blog post is out of our content oven.

Don´t miss any updates!

Enter your email address to be kept up to date with content that helps you manage, audit and secure your entire Google Domain.