Macquarie Uni shifts from Gmail to Office 365 over privacy concerns

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Macquarie Uni shifts from Gmail to Office 365 over privacy concerns

Boots Google after uni's data is moved to the US.

Macquarie University will move its staff email accounts from Gmail to Office 365 over concerns about data sovereignty after Google moved the organisation's data into the US.

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

Macquarie University signed with Google in 2010 to migrate its 6000 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.

Yesterday 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.

She said all staff email and calendars will have to be migrated to Office 365 by the end of this year.

The university has hired Dell, Synergy and SMS to help with the migration.

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

Davies joined the university last July after former CIO Marc Bailey departed to work as chief operating officer for not-for-profit IT infrastructure provider Intersect.

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