UNT faculty and staff email accounts moving to the cloud

Friday, June 20, 2014

Information Technology Shared Services (ITSS) soon will upgrade faculty and staff Microsoft Office software to Office 365 to offer increased storage and mobile apps that let users view their files on mobile devices – anywhere, anytime.

Many users will enjoy Office 365 for its business solution tools offered through cloud computing, said Jason Myre, Manager of Enterprise Collaboration Services. Office suite applications such as Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Outlook still will be available with Office 365. And increased storage in the cloud means that UNT faculty and staff will have email storage to 50 gigabytes.

“Migrating email to Office 365’s Exchange Online provides features and functionality that would be too costly to offer with our current implementation of Exchange,” Myre said. “Additionally, moving email to the cloud paves the way for implementing other Office 365 products, such as OneDrive and Office Mobile, beginning this fall.”

The email upgrade process for all system entities will start during summer 2014 and is expected to be complete in August. Faculty and staff will be contacted by their local Network Managers regarding the exact time frame their accounts will be migrated to Office 365.

During the migration, all of the Office applications such as Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Outlook still will be available for use. Test pilot users from within ITSS have been successfully accessing their email from the cloud for more than two months.

The goal of the project is to help improve faculty and staff workflow and reduce operational cost concerning hardware and storage, Myre said. The last upgrade to faculty and staff email was in 2007 from GroupWise to Microsoft Exchange.

In addition to Office 365 already having security and privacy measures in place to protect information stored in the cloud, ITSS will continue to work to protect user’s information and provide training for users to help increase organizational productivity and efficiency.

Phase II of the project will enable access to SharePoint, OneDrive, Office Professional Plus, and Mobile Office.SharePoint and OneDrive will enable users to share and work on documents at the same time and have 1 TB of cloud storage. Office Professional Plus allows users to install Office on multiple computers and. Office Mobile will allow users to edit documents from a variety of platforms like Apple, Android, and Windows mobile devices. More information regarding phase II will be available later.

The entire project including phase II should be complete spring 2015.