Dell, SMS switch uni from Gmail to Office 365

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Dell, SMS switch uni from Gmail to Office 365

Dell, SMS Management & Technology and Synergy are helping Macquarie University migrate staff email away from Gmail to Office 365, due to concerns about data sovereignty.

The university plans for all staff email and calendars to be migrated to Office 365 by the end of this year.

Dell is the systems integration partner assisting with the migration, a Macquarie University spokesperson told CRN. SMS Management & Technology is assisting with systems change and communications management, while Synergy is developing and delivering a training program for staff.

Dell initially performed a pilot to ratify the migration technology. The results of the pilot were then used by the university to formulate requirements for an open tender.

Director of services at Dell, Ben Wright, said the vendor's technical integration solution, experience in the higher education sector and global experience with complex migrations led to it being awarded the tender.

An SMS Management & Technology spokesperson said the company worked with Macquarie University on its Gmail rollout several years ago, as well as the rollout of the university's helpdesk application in 2009.

Data sovereignty concern

The university's CIO Mary Davies told staff this week that the institution had been forced to look for an alternative to its Gmail platform after Google decided to shift the organisation’s data out of the EU and into the US.

Macquarie University signed with Google in 2010 to migrate its 6,000 staff off Novell GroupWise and onto Gmail. Its students had moved to Gmail in late 2007.

It only signed with Google after the company promised the data would be hosted in the EU. 

Macquarie had initially raised concerns that its data would be subject to the US Patriot Act and Digital Millennium Copyright Act if hosted in America. The university rejected Microsoft as an option at the time for being too expensive.

Davies said as a result of Google's decision to shift Macquarie into the US, the university had been forced to look at other options and had subsequently decided to go with Microsoft and Office 365 hosted locally.

Microsoft opened two Australian data centres late last year and has been hosting its cloud services from Sydney and Victoria since.

Davies said the new Office 365 solution had been tested with 90 staff for the last six months.

Staff will be allowed to retain their Google accounts but will no longer be able to use email and calendaring services for work purposes.

The IT team will review the use of Google Apps next year based on staff and student requirements, Davies said.

Staff will be given access to Outlook, OneDrive, Skype for Business and Office 2013.

Additional reporting by William Maher.

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