How licensing works – Google Workspace


Looking to invest in Google Workspace but not sure about how much it’s going to cost after accounting for your whole team?

As with any subscription-based SaaS product, licensing can be quite a confusing thing to handle, and if you fail to understand how licensing works with your product (including with Google Workspace), you may end up paying more than what you initially thought.

Instead of Googling and struggling to understand how Google Workspace licenses work, in this post, we provide you with all you need to know about Google Workspace licensing.

Google Workspace Licensing: Overview

Google Workspace is a rebrand from G Suite in 2020, and while the core offering remains the same: a collection of cloud applications and services designed for business communication, collaboration, and productivity, the rebrand is not merely a name change, but Google also changed several core features and how the offers were packaged, including the licensing model.

In the old G Suite licensing model, licenses were differentiated based on a set of features: the most affordable G Suite Basic licensing provides all the default features of the Google services, the more expensive G Suite Business unlocks more features, while the most expensive G Suite Enterprise will provide you the complete package.

However, with Google Workspace, the licensing model is no longer solely based on functionalities, but users will have more versatility in choosing the right Google Workspace licensing option/edition based on the combination of the number of licenses/users and the toolsets they’ll need in their workflow.

While G Suite previously offered just three licensing options: Basic, Business, and Enterprise, Google Workspace offers more options:

  1. Google Workspace Business
    1. Business Starter
    2. Business Standard
    3. Business Plus
  2. Google Workspace Enterprise
    1. Enterprise Essentials
    2. Enterprise Standards
    3. Enterprise Plus

Google Workspace Business is designated for organizations that require no more than 300 user licenses and you can choose between three ‘tiers’, each offering different toolsets and features for different prices: Starter, Standard, and Plus.

Google Workspace Enterprise licenses, on the other hand, are designed mainly for companies that require more than 300 licenses. However, there is no minimum requirement if you want to register to Google Workspace Enterprise (you can register as a 1-man team), and there are also three subtypes to choose from based on functionalities: Essentials, Standard, and Plus.

In the table below you can review the different functionalities and features offered by each licensing model:

FeatureG Suite LicensesGoogle Workspace BusinessGoogle Workspace Enterprise
Gmail, Docs/Slides/Sheet, Photos storage per userUnlimited30 GB2TB5TB1 TBUnlimitedUnlimited
Google Vault (eDiscovery and permanent data storage)YesYesYesYesPaid upgradeYesYes
DLP (Data Loss Prevention)NoNo NoNoNoYes Yes
Choose a geographic location for data storageYesNoNoYesNo Yes Yes
Security CenterNoNoNo YesNoYesYes
Endpoint ManagementYesNoNoYesNo Yes Yes
Google Meet maximum participants per meeting150100150250150250250
Cloud SearchYesNoYesYesNoYes Yes

Google-Workspace licensing is user-based. Meaning, to use Google Workspace services, a user needs to be assigned an individual license.

When needed, you can reduce Google Workspace licenses, for example when you are downsizing your number of employees. However, if your Google Workspace subscription is on the Annual Plan, you can only reduce the number of licenses when it’s time to renew your contract. 

If you’d like more versatility, for example, if your organization has a fairly high turnover rate, you can instead sign up for a Flexible Plan, where you can delete users whenever you want. 

You can also choose to sign up for your Google Workspace plan via Google Workspace partners like Pythian where you’ll get the same pricing you’d get from Google, but on top of that, you’ll get extra benefits like personalized training and education, custom cloud product development, fast and reliable customer support, and so much more.

Key Factors to Consider When Choosing Google Workspace License

With the different editions/licensing options available, choosing the right one according to your needs and budget can be quite a challenge. 

With that being said, here are some key differentiators you can evaluate to help you choose between different licensing options:

  1. Budget and number of users

The more user licenses you need, the more expensive the whole expense will be. Carefully evaluate the must-have features you’ll need. So, if need be, you can make the compromise and choose a more affordable edition with fewer features.

  1. Storage limits

Unlike in previous G Suite plans, only the Google Workspace Standards and Plus editions offer unlimited Drive storage space. However, do you actually need that much data space?

The Google Workspace Business Standard edition, for example, offers a 2TB cloud storage space per user/license, which is large enough for most day-to-day business operations. 

Assess your data storage needs first before committing to a plan.

  1. Google Vault

Google Vault is a very reliable eDiscovery, data preservation, and information governance solution useful for companies that store and regularly process/transport a large amount of data. With Vault, you can retain, hold, search, and export users’ Google Workspace data from a single dashboard.

It’s worth noting that the full functionality of Vault is only available on the Google Workspace Enterprise Standard and Plus editions, and only available for eDiscovery in the Business editions.

  1. Google Meet capabilities

The number of maximum participants in each Google Meet session will increase with different license types and subtypes, as you can see from the table above. Evaluate your regular video conferencing needs before deciding on a plan.


While Google Workspace licensing options can be quite confusing if you don’t know what you’re looking for, you can refer back to the above information that we have highlighted to understand the key differences between each licensing type and subtype, and we hope the information provided can help you in making a better-informed decision for your Google Workspace investment.