Google has announced the launch of Vault for Google Apps in India. Vault is an app that is a one-stop solution for storing critical business data including emails, conversations, chat messages and more. It has enhanced archiving capabilities and Google claims that an app like this can save thousands of dollars in case of litigation that involves electronic discovery (e-discovery).
Unlike most of the other Google services, Vault is not a free service. It is an optional Google app that will cost users $5 per month. No other investment in terms of architecture/e-storage is required on the part of the user as Vault functions on a totally web based architecture.
With Vault, Google aims to make e-governance easier. Business owners and managers of companies who are already functioning in the Google environment can purchase Vault to store, archive and retrieve critical business data.
They will also be able to set specific data retention policies which can be applied to all or few users. Once such policies are in place, Vault will retain email, chat messages and other electronic conversations even if they are deliberately or inadvertently deleted.
As a real life example, "boy that Timberwolf was one shitty deal" were the words that landed Goldman Sachs in one of the biggest soups during the aftermath of the Global Financial Crisis. Bosses and business owners will be able to use Vault to keep a tab on the archived messages and reprimand employees who indulge into inappropriate conversations. ‘Holds’ can also be placed over users. Holds are types of restrictions that may bar users from deleting their emails or chat messages.
Vault by Google Apps also aims to make e-discovery easier. For the uninitiated, e-discovery is the discovery or retrieval of information held in electronic format. The process is primarily done to aid legal proceedings, investigative procedures and audits. Administrators will have access to a dashboard where they can collect, organize, view and retrieve all relevant documents to a specific case and take a well informed decision after proper assessment.
In case of legal action, Vault allows easy retrieval and export of generic and specific email/conversations in a standard format which can be used for further review.
These exports can be critical in the analyses of a case during litigation or even during audit procedures. "And most of those documents these days are in electronic form" says Kent Walker, Senior VP & General Counsel at Google, while talking about record management practices and the time a company is being sued or faces the possibility of being sued.
But why should a business owner in India buy the Vault app? Is such an articulate record management practice really worth having in India?
The answer is a YES.
India Inc woke up to the digital age long time back and organizations including the government have put into place the use of electronic data in many areas. A record management system like the Vault can allow for the organization and retrieval of conversations that may hold the key to a dispute.
Such communication could very well be used in the court of law or even to resolve petty arguments with the auditors. Reliance on electronic means for day to day functioning of businesses in India is increasing.
Data management/recovery tools like the Vault could very well be the app that saved a business in case of litigation which calls for exhaustive e-discovery.
In which case, the $5/month fee would seem like the best investment ever made.