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Counting the (recurring) costs of AU licenses

How much is keeping users on Archive User licenses costing your business and how much could you save if you used CloudM Archive instead?

Archive Step 1

Gone but not forgotten.


Even years after an employee has left your business, data compliance regulations such as GDPR and Freedom of Information requests require you to keep their data in some form.

You obviously don’t want to keep these legacy leavers on a full Google license as it is a) expensive and b) it means that if the former employee (or someone else) can access the account, they can use your business’s applications and access sensitive business data.

So, businesses like yours have had to find ways to keep the data (and allow it to be searchable and restorable) without allowing access, and preferably, cheaper.

Historically, they would simply change the user’s full license to a VFE (Vault Former Employee) license. This license SKU was free and archived the data to Vault. Perfect!

What is the issue then?

Well, Google introduced the AU (Archive User) license as a replacement for the VFE, and charged for it (currently ~$60 per user per year). If you had 1000 users on a VFE, this would cost you $60,000…every year (+ any additional offboarded users you apply an AU license too).

Now, this is obviously cheaper and more secure than a full license. But, it’s not exactly pocket change when it’s coming out of your budget (especially when it used to be free).

How does CloudM Archive solve the issue?

The only real legal requirements for data when an employee leaves is to make sure that it is stored somewhere, can easily be restored or retrieved (down to a single file or email) if required, and deleted after a set amount of time. CloudM Archive does all of that for you!

CloudM Archive will automatically send the data of any offboarded user straight to a Google Storage bucket that you own and control, as an optional step in our innovative Offboarding Workflow process. If the step is in the workflow for the user, you do not need to do anything except press a button to trigger the offboarding.


If you need anything back (e.g. you receive a Freedom of Information request), CloudM Archive allows you to see all the data stored in the Storage bucket, indexed by user, so you can quickly find and restore any and all the data you want, and you can restore it to any user within CloudM Manage. All in a matter of minutes.

Oh, and when the time comes when you want are legally obliged to delete the data, CloudM Archive will use data retention policies to automatically purge the data when it’s been stored for a set time. Remember John who left 7 years ago? Of course you don’t. You started 4 years ago. CloudM will remember to delete his data on time so you don’t have to (and so you don’t get hit with a massive data regulation fine too).

And, best of all, you don’t need to pay for a Google license (full or AU) for the user you just archived. You just need to pay for CloudM Archive and the cost of storing your data in your Google Storage buckets, which, even when combined, works out considerably cheaper than an AU license. We’ve done the math and some businesses could be saving up to 75%. Whether that’s Euros, Dollars, Pounds or Pesos, that’s gotta look good on your balance sheet.

The full Google license can even be removed from the user and returned to your license pool as part of the offboarding workflow, ready to be instantly reassigned. You will only ever need to pay for the licenses you actually use.

This all sounds great, right? But, what if it would actually work out cheaper to keep a specific power user’s data on an AU license instead of incurring the cost of storage? Well, we’ve got you covered as well. Simply create a Smart Team of Power / High Volume users and create a bespoke offboarding policy that has the “Apply Google Archived User (AU) license” step included.

CloudM Archive is already helping (and saving) organizations around the world, big and small. If you would like the opportunity to cut the costs and manual effort of keeping former employee data, why not have a quick 15 minute call with one of our expert CloudM Team.

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