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How To Decommission & Cancel Google Workspace Accounts

Decommissioning Google Workspace accounts is an important process for organizations when employees leave or when there is a need to revoke access to Workspace services.

Let's take a closer look at Google Workspace account decommissioning and best practices that organizations should observe.


Importance of Decommissioning Google Workspace Accounts

Proper decommissioning and security practices in a Workspace account are essential for safeguarding sensitive information and maintaining the integrity of data. These practices help protect against unauthorized access, data breaches, and other security risks.

By following best practices, organizations can ensure the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of their data. Some of the most important reasons to decommission Workspace accounts include the following.

Prevent Unauthorized Access

When an employee leaves an organization, their Google Workspace account should be decommissioned to prevent unauthorized access to sensitive company data.

By disabling the account, the organization ensures that former employees cannot log in or access corporate resources, reducing the risk of data breaches and unauthorized activity.

Reduce Expenses & Improve Management

Decommissioning unused Google Workspace accounts helps optimize resource allocation and reduce expenses. By identifying and deactivating accounts that are no longer needed, organizations can free up licenses and storage resources, allowing them to be reassigned to active users or avoid unnecessary costs.

Effective management of user accounts ensures better control, improves security, and streamlines administrative processes.

Properly decommissioning an individual or organizations Google accounts involves steps such as exporting and saving user data, canceling subscriptions, and archiving or deleting accounts. Organizations should follow the recommended procedures provided by Google to ensure a smooth and secure decommissioning process.

By implementing a thorough decommissioning process, organizations can protect their data, enhance security, optimize resource utilization, and maintain efficient management of Google Workspace accounts.


Steps to Decommission Google Workspace Account

Decommissioning Google Workspace accounts involves a series of steps to ensure the proper handling of data and the revocation of access. Here is the recommended procedure for decommissioning Workspace accounts.

Analyze Account Usage & Permissions

Before decommissioning a Google Workspace account, analyze the account's usage and permissions. This step helps identify any shared files, important documents, or specific services tied to the account.

By understanding the account's usage, administrators can determine the appropriate actions for data backup and account removal.

Backup Important Data & Files

It's crucial to back up the necessary files associated with the Google Workspace account to preserve important data. This includes emails, documents, calendar events, chat messages, and files stored in Google Drive.

The recommended method to export and save user data is by using the Data Export tool provided by Google Workspace. By performing a data backup, organizations can retain valuable information even after the account is decommissioned.

Revoke Access & Delete User Accounts

To ensure that the user can no longer access Google Workspace services, access should be revoked and the user account deleted. Administrators have the ability to delete user accounts.

When a user account is deleted, the associated user loses access to all Google Workspace services and permanently deletes their data. It is important to note that deleting a user account does not reduce the number of licenses in the organization. 

Remove Associated Services & Subscriptions

In addition to revoking access and deleting user accounts, removing any associated services and subscriptions is necessary.

This includes canceling the Workspace subscription to stop being billed for the service. After canceling the Google Workspace subscription, access to core services such as Gmail, Calendar, and Meet will be lost. However, additional services like YouTube, Google Photos, and Google Ads may still be accessible.

It's important to review and manage any additional services or subscriptions tied to the Google Workspace account and cancel them if necessary.


Post-Decommissioning Best Practices

After decommissioning Google Workspace accounts, following post-decommissioning best practices is important to maintain data security and ensure a smooth transition. Here are some recommended practices:

Regularly Monitor & Update Security Policies

To maintain data security, regularly monitor and update security policies in your Google Workspace environment. This includes reviewing and adjusting access controls, permissions, and sharing settings to align with your organization's evolving security needs.

Administrators should stay informed about security best practices and leverage the security features available in Workspace, such as two-factor authentication and security key enforcement.

Organizations can mitigate potential security risks and protect sensitive data by regularly monitoring and updating security policies.

Train Employees on Data Security Practices

To ensure data security, organizations should provide ongoing training and education to employees on data security practices. This includes raising awareness about phishing attacks, password hygiene, and best practices for handling sensitive information.

Training sessions or educational resources can help employees understand their role in safeguarding data and reinforce the importance of following security protocols.

By empowering employees with knowledge and promoting a culture of security, organizations can reduce the risk of data breaches and unauthorized access.

Ensure Proper Onboarding & Offboarding Processes

Proper onboarding and offboarding processes play a critical role in maintaining data security. During employee onboarding, provide comprehensive training on Google Workspace usage, security policies, and data handling practices. This ensures that new employees are equipped with the knowledge and tools to use Google Workspace securely.

Similarly, during offboarding, administrators should follow a structured process to revoke access, transfer or backup necessary data, and securely disable or delete user accounts. This includes revoking user access, transferring ownership of files, disabling two-factor authentication, and removing the account from all devices.

By implementing proper onboarding and offboarding processes, organizations can reduce the risk of unauthorized access to data and ensure a smooth transition for employees.

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FAQs: Decommissioning Google Workspace Accounts

What happens when you delete a Google Workspace account?

When you delete a Workspace account, you will lose access to core services such as Gmail, Calendar, Meet, and more. However, you can still access additional Google services like YouTube, Google Photos, and Google Ads.

If you have Cloud Identity, certain core Google Workspace services like Google Drive, Docs, Sheets, Slides, and Keep may still be accessible, but administrative controls and settings exclusive to Google Workspace will be removed, and user storage capacity will be reduced.

It's important to note that deleting a Google Workspace account will permanently delete user data, and it cannot be restored.

What happens with my email if I cancel Google Workspace?

You will lose access to core services, including Gmail when you cancel Google Workspace. This means you can no longer send, receive, or access your emails through the Google Workspace platform.

It's important to save any emails or data you want to keep before canceling Google Workspace. After canceling, your users' Google Workspace data, including Gmail messages, will be deleted and cannot be restored.

What is the difference between removing and deleting a Google Account?

Removing a Google Account from a device means logging out of the account on that specific device, while deleting a Google Account involves permanently deleting the account from Google servers.

When you remove a Google Account from a device, the associated data, such as contacts, will be removed from that device, but the data will still be available on Google servers and can be accessed by signing in again.

On the other hand, deleting a Google Account permanently removes all the data associated with the account and cannot be recovered.

What happens when you delete a Google Workspace account?

When you delete a Google Workspace account, all of the user's Google services are immediately removed. This includes Gmail, Google Drive, Calendar, Contacts, and any other Google services associated with the account. The account is permanently deleted and cannot be recovered. Any data in the user's Drive is also deleted. The user's email address will become available to be assigned to a new user.

What to do before deleting a Google Workspace user?

Before deleting a Google Workspace user account, it is recommended to take the following steps: 

  • Download any important data from the user's Drive or email
  • Forward emails to another address that need to be retained
  • Export contacts to a CSV file to save them
  • Remove the user account from any shared documents or calendars
  • Update ownership/access to any files or folders they own in Drive

Taking these steps will help preserve any critical data before permanently deleting the account.

Can I keep my domain without Google Workspace?

Yes, you can continue to use your custom domain even if you cancel Google Workspace. When you registered the domain with Google, it does not transfer ownership or control of the domain to them. You retain full ownership and management of your domain name. You would simply need to update the name servers or DNS records to point to a different email service.

Can you cancel Google Workspace at any time?

Google Workspaceflex plans are month-to-month contracts and can be canceled at any time. You can reduce the number of user licenses at any point by going into the Admin console. Any paid but unused months will be refunded on a prorated basis. However annual plans require a yearly commitment which is why they have many advantages including cost predictability, savings, priority support, and scalability.


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