It’s critical to understand what happens to shared data when suspending or deleting a G Suite user. Let’s explore the differences between suspending and deleting G Suite Users and impacts on shared data.
Why is this an important element to understand for cloud data security?
A G Suite user can be suspended at any time by an administrator and this will block the user's access to your company’s Google services.
Data owned by a suspended user is still accessible per the original sharing settings applied to the documents.
Deleting a G Suite user will initiate a series of steps where the administrator can choose to transfer files to a new owner. The admin can choose to transfer only shared files or also transfer files that aren’t shared to anyone. Files that aren’t transferred will be deleted.
If files are transferred to a new owner, those files will retain previous sharing settings but a new owner will be assigned.
If files are not transferred to a new owner then they will be deleted and no longer accessible to anyone. The deletion process occurs 20 days after the G Suite account is deleted. During that interim period the files may be available per their original settings.
Although official google documentation is unclear, observation and testing shows that archiving a G Suite user results in shared files continuing to be accessible. This mirrors the behavior of suspending a G Suite User
The above actions occur on all files “owned” by the account in question. These files reside within the “My Drive” of the user. Files located in “Shared Drives” are not owned by the user and suspending/deleting a user has no impact on files within Shared Drives.
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