In today’s dynamic business world, employees jump from one job to another all the time and may explore greater possibilities. Although moving from one job to another can benefit employees, it leaves companies vulnerable to losing valuable data. One way to protect your company’s assets and manage data better is to limit former employees' access to it. Google Workspace Archive User licenses help you do just that.

Archiving users in Google Workspace allows you to prevent data loss when an employee leaves. Let us look at how to archive users in Google Workspace, an Archive User (AU) license cost, data storage for archived users, bulk archive users, and how to unarchive users.

What is Google Workspace Archive User License?

The term archived user refers to a user whose active status has been changed from active to archived, meaning he can no longer utilize the respective services. Organizations Google Workspace archives users to retain their data and work once they’ve left the organizations. 

An archive user license is currently available for subscriptions such as:

  • Enterprise Plus 
  • Enterprise Standard 
  • G Suite Business
  • Business Plus

In addition to having lower costs than active or suspended licenses, archive user licenses can also be resold by Netpremacy Google Workspace Premier Partner. 

Despite all their benefits, archive user licenses do have certain limitations. This license can only be bought from a Google Cloud Partner or by contacting a Google sales representative after having an AU subscription. To assign an AU license, your Google Workspace and Archive User subscription must be the same.

Why Archive User in Google Workspace?

The online tools organizations use nowadays have numerous benefits, such as increased collaboration and efficiency. However, a drawback of using such online tools puts the organization's valuable data at risk. 

Using the archive user license, organizations can solve this problem and retain the data of their former employee at lower costs. Protecting organizational data that results from using Google Workspace archive user licenses is one core reason for organizations to use the AU licenses, but it is not the only reason. 

Archiving users prevents former employees from accessing any Google workspace services, which ensures that they can’t leak any of the company's data once they’ve left the organization. These licenses also help maintain company data compliance and confidentiality policies.

Buying A Google Workspace Archive User (AU) License 

Before buying an archive user license, it’s important to understand that your archive user licenses need to be in synchronization with the Google Workspace subscription your organization is currently using. If your organization uses a Google Workspace Enterprise edition, you need to ensure that you buy an enterprise AU license.

Additional Archive User (AU) License 

The process of buying additional AU licenses depends on your organization’s payment plan. If you’re using a flexible payment plan, you are not required to buy any additional AU licenses. Organizations on flexible payment plans can simply add a new user and get an additional license for that user. Payments for the additional license are made in the following month. 

To add a new user: 

  1. Sign in to Google Admin Console.
  2. In the left menu on Google Admin, Navigate to Menu, then Directory, and then Users.
  3. On the right side, you'll see a list of users. Above that list, click Invite New User/Add New User.
  4. Fill out all required details and click Add new user.

Organizations using an annual plan can buy extra licenses when required. Payments for these additional licenses are billed monthly. 

To buy additional AU licenses:

  1. Sign in to Google Admin Console.
  2. Go to Menu > Billing > Subscriptions
  3. Click Google Workplace (edition) - Archived User subscription.
    1. Here you will find the number of licenses you currently have. 
  4. Click Purchase more
  5. Enter the number of additional licenses you want to buy
  6. Agree to the terms and conditions 
  7. Click Continue 
    1. Please note that the time period for new licenses to become available is 48 hours.

What Happens When You Archive A User in Google Workspace?

When you archive a former employee, Google maintains all of the data from the user's Google Workspace account and stores it in Google Vaults. The data is protected per the Vault retention rules and can be searched or exported there. The former employee's data from both core and non-core services is still accessible to others within the organization. 

Archiving former employees limits them from signing in to any of the services Google provides, such as Google Workspace, Calendar, G-Mail, and Drive. Along with this, the user will appear with an archived status in the user directory listing and will not appear in the Global Address List. Archived users can’t be deleted or assigned a suspended license before being unarchived.

Data of the users archived in Enterprise Plus or G Suite Business stays in the same region that the administrator set. However, Google data loss prevention policies (DLP) continue to run on the data of Enterprise Plus and Enterprise Standard Users. Although current data such as posts, likes, and comments is retained, it may take up to 7 days to appear in the stream.

How to Archive Users in Google Workspace?

Google Workspace allows you to archive individual or multiple users.

Individual users can be archived from the Users Page or the Individual’s user page, and bulk users can be archived by either a CSV file or via the Admin SDK APIs.

Assigning An Individual Google Workspace Archive User License 

To archive an individual from the Users Page:

  1. Log in to Google Workspace Admin Console.
  2. In the Google Admin Console, navigate to Menu. then Directory, and then Users.
  3. On the right side, see the all users. Click on More options.
  4. On clicking, you will see a drop-down. Select Archive User from the drop-down menu.
  5. When you will click Archive, a popup will open. Click Archive on the popup to confirm.

To archive a user from the individual user’s page:

  1. Log in to Google Workspace Admin Console.
  2. Go to Menu > Directory > Users
  3. Open the Individual user’s page by clicking on the name of the user. 
  4. In the left menu on the Individual user page, Click on the Archive User option.
  5. In the popup, click Archive to confirm.

Assigning Archive Licenses in Bulk

To archive users using a CSV file in Google Admin:

  1. Download a template CSV file. To download a template CSV file go to Menu > Directory > Users.
  2. Click on Bulk update users. You can find that above the all-users list. 
  3. Click Download blank CSV template.
  4. Prepare a CSV file by entering the following user information you want to add.
    1. Please enter the Email Address and New Status.
    2. In the “New Status” column, enter “Archived” for users you wish to archive. 
    3. Please note that your final CSV file should be as shown below, or learn more about the spreadsheet formatting guidelines.
  5. Save the spreadsheet as a “CSV” file.
  6. Upload the file by going again to the Users page and clicking Bulk update users.
  7. Click on Attach CSV File and Click Upload.
    1. Please note that your task list will automatically open and show the progress of your upload. Once the upload is completed, you will be notified via an email report.

Bulk Archiving Using Admin SDK APIs

Along with the archiving methods mentioned above, google allows you to bulk archive or unarchive using Admin SDK APIs. 

To use the Admin SDK APIs for archiving or unarchiving, visit the User: update page

Please note that it’s important to set the archive boolean variable to “True” or “False” for each individual user. 

Using Foresight

Foresight is a web application that automates Google Workspace practices and makes using the platform easier for those with little to no coding knowledge. Using foresight, businesses can automate various features of Google Workspace, such as the Admin Console, Docs, Gmail, and so on. 

Archiving Using Foresight 

Employee offboarding workflow includes archiving users and can be tricky if you don’t know how to make your way around the platform. However, with Foresight, it is all just a matter of a few clicks.

To archive a user in Foresight:

  1. The first step is to go to Select an action
  2. Select Archive User 
  3. To connect Foresight to Google Workspace, click REQUEST ACCOUNT ACCESS
    1. Once the permission is authorized, the status turns to Access Granted.
  4. Now, in the Primary email field, 
    1. Type {{ and Select the User’s Primary Email in the drop-down menu

Notifying the User’s Manager 

Notifying the users' manager after the user has been archived is an important part of the off-boarding process. All stakeholders need to be alerted via email prior to the start of the off-boarding process and once it finishes.

To notify the former employee’s manager via email.

  1. Click the REQUEST ACCESS BUTTON to connect Foresight with Google Workspace.
  2. In the To field, type {{ and select the Manager’s email.
  3. Add your content to the Subject and Email body.

Unarchiving User in Google Workspace

To unarchive a user from the Users Page:

  1. Log in to Google Workspace Admin Console.
  2. Go to Menu > Directory > Users.
  3. Hover over the user, and click on the More options menu, a drop-down will option.
  4. Now select the Unarchive User option from the drop-down menu.
  5. Now click on the Unarchive option to confirm the action.

To unarchive a user from an individual’s user page.

  1. Log in to Google Workspace Admin Console.
  2. Go to Menu > Directory > Users.
  3. Click the User Name link to option the individual user page.
  4. Click on the Unarchive option on the left menu in Individual User's page.
  5. Now click on the Unarchive option to confirm the action.

The process to unarchive users in bulk using a CSV file in Google Admin is almost the same as archiving.

  1. Download a template CSV file. To download a template CSV file go to Menu > Directory > Users.
  2. Click on Bulk update users.
  3. Click Download blank CSV template.
  4. Prepare a CSV file by entering the following information about the user you want to add.
    1. First Name, Last name, Email Address, and New Status.
    2. In the New Status column, enter Active for users you wish to unarchive. 
    3. Please note that your final CSV file should be as shown below:
  5. Save the spreadsheet as a CSV file.
  6. Upload the file by going again to the Users page and clicking Bulk update users.
  7. Click on Attach CSV File and Click Upload.
    1. Please note that your task list will automatically open and show the progress of your upload. Once the upload is completed, you will be notified by an email report.

Conclusion

Along with retaining the data of former employees, archive user licenses enable organizations to prevent former employees from accessing Google Workspace services. These licenses allow organizations to archive and retain employees' chat, emails, and documents. Considerations need to be taken, however, as buying AU licenses that don’t match your Google Workspace subscription can lead to limited functionalities. 

Foresight can help you manage and assign AU licenses easily and efficiently.