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In this article

  • Introduction
  • Why data retention for Google Meet?
  • Where are Google Meet data stored?
  • What happens when Google Meet data is deleted?
  • Native retention settings using Vault
  • Retention rules
  • eDiscovery holds to retain Meet data
  • Are Google Vault retention and eDiscovery ideal data backup solutions?

A Guide to Google Meet Retention

7 Dec 2021
11 min read

1. Introduction

Google Meet is a popular video-communication service developed by Google. It allows participants to engage in audio/video calls, and boasts of unique collaboration features such as polls and Q & A. Google Workspace also allows organizations to record important meetings that they can come back to later.
However, IT Administrators must be aware that Google does not take responsibility for safeguarding Meet recordings or logs. To overcome any kind of data loss due to events such as human error or cyber threats, it is essential to have retention policies in place.
Use the diagram below to directly navigate to a particular section:

meet retention summary flowchart

2. Why data retention for Google Meet?

  • Data retrieval in case of accidental deletion

    When a Google Meet recording is hard deleted, it is lost forever unless retention policies are in place. Using retention helps you manage data deletion and recovery efficiently, thus increasing business productivity.

  • Storage management

    Google Workspace storage is shared between Google apps such as Gmail, Drive, and Photos. The amount of free storage for each user depends on the type of account opted. Google Meet files are stored in Drive, and employees should not be forced to delete recordings once the storage limits are reached. Implementing retention policies saves storage costs by only retaining essential data.

  • Statutory regulation & compliance

    Regulated industries such as healthcare, legal, and finance are required to retain data for a longer duration. The Sarbanes-Oxley Act, for example, specifies the standards for financial document record-keeping and having controls in place to retain data.

3. Where are Google Meet data stored?

Google Meet recordings and logs are automatically added to Google Drive. The recordings are saved in the organizer’s ‘Meet Recordings’ folder in MP4 format. In addition, an email with the recording link is sent to the meeting organizer and the person who started the recording. 
Meeting chats are saved as .SBV files, while Q & A and polls logs are saved as Google Sheets files.

4. What happens when Google Meet data is deleted?

Deleted Google Meet data move to the user’s Trash (located in Google Drive). It stays here for a 30-day period within which the user can restore it back to its original location. After 30 days, it is lost from Trash and the user cannot recover it. However, an administrator can restore the data from the Admin Console within the next 25 days, after which it gets permanently deleted.

To know how a Google Workspace Administrator can recover permanently deleted files from Google Admin Console, click here.

The diagram below shows the default data retention procedure in Google Meet and how data can be restored by users and administrators within specific timeframes.

meet swimlane diagram

4.1. Limitations of default Meet recordings retention

  • Data retained using the default retention is counted towards your Google Workspace storage quota, and you will need to purchase additional storage if you exceed the limit. The amount of free storage for each user depends on the type of account opted.

  • As seen in the illustration, Meet data is permanently deleted after the 30-55 days timeframe.

5. Native retention settings using Vault

The advanced licenses of Google Workspace offer an extra layer of native data retention using Google Vault. Admins can use Google Vault to set retention policies for Google Meet and perform searches of Google Meet data. Similarly, if an organization uses Google Vault to hold Drive files, it will be applicable to Meet as well.

To learn in detail about Google Vault, Vault retention rules, holds, and license requirements, read our in-depth article on Google Vault Fundamentals.

The diagram below summarizes the basic capabilities of the two data retention features available with Google Vault.

meet retention using vault

5.1. Retention rules

Google Workspace administrators can set two types of retention rules in Google Vault:
1.     Default retention rules
2.     Custom retention rules

By default, Meet data is retained according to Drive rules as the files are stored in Drive. To know more about how to create rules for Google Drive, click here.

To set Meet-specific retention rules, admins must first enable the Meet retention option in Vault settings.

Enable Meet-specific retention

As mentioned above, Meet follows Drive retention rules by default. To change this and enable Meet-specific retention rules, follow these steps:

  • Step 1: Sign in to Google Vault.

  • Step 2: Click ‘Retention’ and navigate to the ‘Settings’ tab.

  • Step 3: Next to Meet, select ‘Retained by Meet rule’.

  • Step 4: Click ‘Save’.

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Default retention rules

Admins can apply a default retention rule when data of a particular service needs to be retained for a period of time or indefinitely. Default retention rules are applied to all licenses in the account, and cannot be customized according to users/org units/service.

Note: Irrespective of how Meet is retained, Drive holds always apply to Meet data.

How to create default retention rule for Meet?

  • Step 1: Sign in to Google Vault.

  • Step 2: Click ‘Retention’, and select ‘Meet’.

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  • Step 3: Under ‘Duration’, choose how long files need to be retained.

    a. To permanently retain files, select ‘Indefinitely’.
    b. To discard files after a set time, select ‘Retention Period’, plug in the number of days it needs to be retained, and the start of the reference period

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  • Step 4: If a duration has been set, choose what to do with Meet data after the retention period ends:

    a. To purge only data that users deleted, select ‘Purge only permanently deleted data.’
    b. To purge all meet data, choose the second option. This rule can purge both deleted data and data in Drive.

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  • Step 5: Check the boxes and click ‘Save’.

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Note:

1. A Meet retention rule gets applied only when it is enabled under ‘Settings’. Click here to know more.
2. Custom retention rules and Drive holds always take priority over default retention rules.

Custom retention rules

Custom retention rules allow admins to customize retention rules according to specific org units or shared drives. For Google Meet, you can define the retention period by date created, last modified, and date of deletion of recording or log.

Note:

1. Custom retention rules always take precedence over default retention rules.
2. There is no limit to the number of custom retention rules you can create.

How to create custom retention rules for Meet?

  • Step 1: Sign in to Google Vault.

  • Step 2: Click ‘Retention’, select ‘Custom Rules’, and then click ‘Create’.

  • Step 3: Select ‘Meet’ under Service, and then click Continue.

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  • Step 4: Under ‘Scope’, choose an entity, and click ‘Continue’.

    a. Select ‘Organizational unit’ to apply the rule to a specific organizational unit and choose the unit. If you want to apply the rule to shared drives that accounts in the selected organizational unit are members of, enable ‘Include results from shared drives’.
    b. Select ‘All shared drives’ to apply the rule to all shared drives in the organization.
    c. Select ‘Specific shared drive’ to apply the rule to a shared drive shared with a specific account and choose the corresponding account(s).

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  • Step 5: Under ‘Duration’, choose how long files need to be retained.

    a. To permanently retain files, select ‘Indefinitely’.
    b. To discard files after a set time, select ‘Retention Period’, plug in the number of days it needs to be retained, and the start of the reference period.

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  • Step 6: If a duration has been set, choose what to do with Meet data after the retention period ends:

    a. To purge only data that users deleted, select ‘Purge only permanently deleted data.’
    b. To purge all Meet data, choose the second option. This rule can purge both deleted data and data in Drive.

  • Step 7: Click ‘Create’.

What Google Meet data can be retained using Google Vault?

A Google Meet recording typically consists of the meeting recording and associated logs:
1. Call recording in MP4 format
2. Chat files in .SBV format
3. Polls and Q & A logs as Google Sheets

5.2. eDiscovery holds to retain Meet data

Google Vault offers eDiscovery features to hold, search, and retrieve files stored in Google Drive. Since Meet data is primarily stored in Drive, holds created in Drive apply to Meet as well. There is no specific hold functionality for Meet.

Note: No matter how Meet is retained, Drive holds always apply to Meet data.

To learn more about eDiscovery holds in Google Drive, check out this article.

5.3. Are Google Vault retention and eDiscovery ideal data backup solutions?

No.
Though Vault retention and eDiscovery can be used to retain data, they do not qualify as data backup solutions. Google Vault is a retention solution that is intended to preserve critical business data for legal and litigation purposes. Moreover, it does not include capabilities such as single-click restore, automated backup, and cross-user email restore features, that are essential in a cloud backup tool.
Here is a comprehensive list of reasons why Google Vault cannot be considered a backup solution:

  • User deletions: If a user is deleted from your Google Workspace account, all the associated Meet data also gets purged even if it was on hold or covered by a retention policy. This is because Google Vault does not make a second copy of the Meet data, it simply keeps it on hold to prevent deletions.

protipPro tip

Third-party solutions such as SysCloud retain all backed up Meet data for both deleted and suspended users, at no additional cost.

  • Absence of restore feature: Meet data that are retained through Google Vault can only be exported and not directly restored back into your account.

protipPro tip

SysCloud backup allows administrators to restore Meet data at the click of a button.

  • Google outages: Unexpected Google outages can result in data being inaccessible for hours. This can hugely impact business productivity.

  • Cyber threats: If your Google Meet data falls prey to cyber threats such as ransomware, the data retained and held in Google Vault also gets affected.

protipPro tip

In addition to backup, SysCloud secures data from threats such as ransomware and phishing.

Third-party cloud backup solutions like SysCloud are a one stop solution to your data backup and restore problems.

Recommended content

Guide to Google Drive Retention

6 Dec 2021

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Google Vault Fundamentals

7 Dec 2021

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In this article

  • Introduction
  • Why data retention for Google Meet?
  • Where are Google Meet data stored?
  • What happens when Google Meet data is deleted?
  • Native retention settings using Vault
  • Retention rules
  • eDiscovery holds to retain Meet data
  • Are Google Vault retention and eDiscovery ideal data backup solutions?
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