Pagoda Blog

How to Remove an Employee from Google Workspace without Losing Data

September 1, 2022

After an employee leaves, their Google Workspace account can open your business up to lost data, unreturned email messages, and the threat of a data breach, if certain steps aren’t swiftly taken. It’s important to ensure your past employees don’t have access to their accounts while also ensuring a smooth transfer of data. The very first step all employers should take is to instill a culture of cybersecurity in their workplace. In the end, however, you will still need to protect your business by taking the necessary precautions to protect company data. If you use Google Workspace, here’s how to remove a team member without losing data or weakening your cybersecurity. 


Change the password  

The first step is to disable the employee’s access by changing their Google Workspace account password. This is important both because it prevents the ex-employee from stealing data or gaining unauthorized access to your network but also because it allows you, the administrator, to access the account and transfer necessary data. To change the password, navigate to the User & Organization tab. Update the password and then click “Reset sign-in cookies” to end any potential logged-in sessions that the user could still have running on one of their devices. 


Related post: How to securely share passwords at work 


Backup the employee’s data 

Google Takeout allows you to make a one-time backup of the user’s data in their Google account. To do this, log-in to the account and select “Download your data.” All the apps containing that user’s data will automatically be selected. Download all or select only those you deem necessary to backup. For more details, check out How to Download Your Data under Google Account Help. 


Transfer data to another active account 

Using the Google Workspace migration service, you will need to transfer data from the user’s Email, Contacts, Calendar, and Drive separately. Spinbackup has a comprehensive post on transferring this data securely to another account. We also recommend reviewing Google’s steps for transferring Drive files to a new owner.   


Add an account as an alias 

An email alias or alternate email address is a forwarding email address that you can add to a user’s primary email address. In this case, the alias would be the leaving employee’s email address and you would attach it to an active employee designated to respond to any messages sent to that old address. 


For example, if the old employee’s email address was, you as the admin can assign that email as an alias to an existing employee’s email, let’s say, Once the alias is set up, the active employee only has to log in to their primary email address,, to receive and view messages sent to the alias (aka the old employee’s email address), Learn more about how to create an alias and when to use an alias versus email delegation here


Forward emails

A second option, instead of creating an email alias, is to set up email forwarding. This is useful if you’d like to retire the ex-employee’s email address and automatically notify their connections of the change in contacts through an auto-responder (see next section below). To forward the user’s email to another active account, you will need to delegate mail access through the original account. Learn how to delegate access in this Gmail help article. If you’ve already deleted the original email account, you will need to recreate the same email address and then follow these steps. 


Set up an auto-responder 

When you forward the user’s email account to another active email address, it’s important to set up an auto-responder for transparency and to avoid confusion. You can set the auto-responder through the original email account under Settings. Activate the Vacation Responder and write a message that notifies anyone who tries to reach out to the ex-employee that they are no longer with the team and who they should now correspond with. (Note that you can only set up an auto-responder when you set up email forwarding. If you choose to set up an email alias, the designated employee will need to manually follow-up with anyone who reaches out to inform them of the change.) 


Include data security in your exit interview 

During your exit interview with the employee, don’t neglect to inquire about their data practices. A few key items to cover include: 


- Did you ever download company data to a personal device or to personal cloud storage?

- Please list all login credentials for company apps within Google Workspace.

- Please provide updated contact information so we may contact you should we have trouble accessing any of your company accounts. 


The departing employee should sign a document in the exit interview stating that they did not download company data and they have deleted or returned any data downloaded to storage outside the company network. This document can help protect employers should they need to to pursue legal means to obtain stolen company data. For even better protection, it’s best to require employees to sign an agreement upon hiring that states they will return or delete company information upon termination.  


Delete the account after 90 days

We don’t recommend deleting the past-employee’s account right away as you still may need to access it for critical data or other account access. Set a reminder to delete the account after 90 days and then follow these steps: 


Step 1: Sign in to Google Admin Console and go to Users

Step 2: Locate the past-employee’s user account 

Step 3: Hover your mouse of the user, click More, and then Delete Account 


When an employee leaves your company, regardless of the circumstances, you should always act swiftly to block access to accounts and take all necessary precautions to protect your data and ensure a smooth transition. Still have questions? Reach out for your free consultation today. 


Feature Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash


Want to get more posts like these once a month in your inbox? Sign up for the Pagoda newsletter and sharpen your technical skills, from cybersecurity to digital marketing



Want IT to serve you better?




About Pagoda Technologies IT services

Based in Santa Cruz, California, Pagoda Technologies provides trusted IT support to businesses and IT departments throughout Silicon Valley, the San Francisco Bay Area and across the globe. To learn how Pagoda Technologies can help your business, email us at to schedule a complimentary IT consultation.


Return to Pagoda Blog Main Page

As your trusted IT service partner, Pagoda Technologies is here to help you achieve your near and long-term business goals through reliable and affordable IT support. 

Pagoda Technologies

101 Cooper Street

Santa Cruz, CA 95060


Contact us for a free IT consultation



Get in touch 

Join our newsletter

Want IT to serve you better? 




Follow Us

Facebook LinkedIn LinkedIn