Decision Support Document

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1 Decision Support Document In April 2012, the university established a committee to review options and provide alternatives for the future of K-State . In October 2012, following a series of outages, the upgrade committee was enlarged and directed to provide a recommendation by December 20, The upgrade committee assembled a large amount of information concerning the needs of the campus, the capabilities of the options, and the tenor of the campus: More than 2,655 comments from a campuswide survey In January an in-depth study of the calendar needs of power users was conducted The CIO met with the upgrade committee and formally accepted both reports on Feb. 7. The upgrade committee presented three options: 1) continue using Zimbra; 2) migrate to Google Apps for Education, or 3) migrate to Microsoft Office 365. All three of these systems provide modern and calendaring functions. While Zimbra provides a modern portfolio, significant support issues with the current provider and the lack of other third party providers eliminated Zimbra from ongoing consideration. While the functionality and features of the remaining two solutions are very similar, the administration made the decision to migrate to Microsoft 365 by August Following are findings used to support this strategic decision. Mainstream Commercial Products: Both Google and Microsoft 365 are mainstream products used by a variety of universities. However, the two products are much different in their support. Microsoft 365 is a full-featured commercial product used in professional settings across the world. As a mainstream commercial product, 365 was developed and is actively maintained by the company. Microsoft 365 is based on the MS Exchange system that is predominant in corporate America. Google Apps for Education are commodity products targeted and widely used in the consumer product space. The Google product is universally available and uses open standards. U.S. News & World Report documents that 72 of the top 100 universities use Google Educational Apps. Professional Services and Support: The university has an Educational contract with Microsoft that covers support for the wide range of Microsoft products currently in use. We have the option of adding Microsoft Premier Services to the contract, which will allow us to direct Microsoft to professionally assist us in any of the technologies they provide, at our discretion up to the contracted amount. These options for professional services include end-user workshops on product capabilities, technical migration 1

2 services, critical incident response, and customization and product development. These services will be instrumental in ensuring a smooth transition from Merit, as well as ongoing support and customization of and calendaring services for the university. Google utilizes third party support to assist customers migrating to its product, does not target commercial concerns, and to avoid competition with its providers, Google does not offer professional services in support of its offerings. Google prefers to utilize third parties to provide professional support for its products. Whitelisting: One of the effects of the current system is that university has been blocked repeatedly by large services, especially those hosted by Microsoft. These blockages have resulted in the inability of the university to reach prospective and current students, staff and partners. Microsoft hosted systems both inbound and outbound employ spam filtering, and will also whitelist the university reaching Microsoft-sponsored services. Whitelisting is basically a way of guaranteeing that will not be blocked to those services. Google offers spam protection, but at a commodity level and recently has been problematic to several universities. For example, Oxford University turned off its Gmail system in February 2013 until Google provides better spam and phishing coverage. Customization: Over the years, the university has had several different systems. This has given executive administrators, event coordinators and other staff members exposure to a number of calendaring capabilities that make scheduling meetings easier with large groups of people or on disparate days. Neither 365 nor Google offer the full range of capabilities that these groups of users seek. Microsoft 365 is based on Exchange and Outlook and would be somewhat familiar to campus users. The university may also leverage Premier services to provide customizations that can be tested and integrated with Microsoft s core offerings. A third party may be able to offer customization of the Google product, but the ability to be tested and integrated into Google s product is limited, and ongoing support of the enhancement could be problematic. An objection from several universities is the fact that Google makes changes without informing users. Desktop Client and Security: Microsoft offers Outlook (and Outlook Express) as fully supported desktop clients. The use of a stand-alone desktop client allows add-ons that can enable security features including electronic signing of messages (proving sender s identity) and encryption (preventing unauthorized disclosure of information). These features are important for several university departments, as well as for compliance with laws and regulations requiring protection of sensitive information. 2

3 Since Google is a web service, it does not offer a fully integrated desktop client. However, Outlook and other clients can often be integrated with Google , although Google will not support them. Security-related features are not uniformly available on web-based clients. Compliance: Microsoft 365 is both FERPA and HIPAA compliant, and Microsoft will assure that data resides within the United States, as required by many federal agencies. Google is FERPA compliant, but not HIPAA compliant. Google also does not maintain data within the United States. For researchers and scientists working with federal or US entities that require all data to be stored within U.S. borders, Google requires a different domain and address. These technology changes would have to be implemented for the select few individuals in order to meet Federal compliance laws. Existing University User Base: There is a user base in the College of Veterinary Medicine currently using Exchange and Outlook clients. This user base is very satisfied with Exchange. Microsoft 365 uses Exchange online and would require no change to existing clients and a straightforward transition to online Exchange. Google also has a large user base on campus although not official K-State . About 5,600 users forward their to Google, 2,300 forward to Yahoo, 1,100 forward to Hotmail, and 3,000 to other providers. We believe that many people will continue to forward no matter what service is chosen. Preparing Students for Professional Careers: Microsoft Outlook has a large user base in the professional world. Students are likely to encounter this product as they move on to their various professional areas and employment. Becoming fluent with Outlook through use on campus can be a marketable skill that will aid students as they move into the workplace. Google does not have the same install base in commercial products. However, many companies are moving to open standard systems to utilize the ubiquitous public applications available. Calendar: The calendar presents the most difficult challenge when migrating to new systems. The ability to maintain multiple calendars from multiple offices is a requirement. In January 2013, ITS conducted a study of the needs of calendar power users and identified 50 requested needs. These were categorized as Critical, Necessary, and Nice to Have. The resulting study showed that both Google and Microsoft 365 provide most of the required features and both provided the same number of critical features. Overall, Microsoft 365 provides considerably more of the requested features. 3

4 Google Microsoft All issues work Will require development Unable to do All issues work Will require development Unable to do Critical Necessary Nice to have Total In summary the advantages of Microsoft 365 include: The Exchange backend. Exchange is the system of corporate America Microsoft supports the product as a professional service and not a commodity The online Microsoft Office 365 Suite mimics the MS Office Suite on computers The stronger features of the calendar The professional migration path available Stronger security and spam and phishing protection Compliance with Federal data locations and security Based on these factors, the decision has been made to migrate to Microsoft Office 365 by August Migration costs are minimal when considering university 2014 expenditures to Merit would be more than $300,000. 4

5 Appendix: K-State Metrics Following is a listing of accounts; these numbers change daily, but will be used for migration. Faculty/Staff: Accounts: 6,441 Total inbox size: 9.5 TB Average inbox size: 1.48 GB Biggest inbox: 53.8 GB Students: Accounts: 49,664 Total inbox size: 10.9 TB Average inbox size: 0.22 GB Biggest inbox: 21.4 GB Breakdown of student accounts: 1,023 are accounts that have been whitelisted for access. 23,197 are current students 11,092 are admitted/future students 9,670 are recent students (former students who still have access) 4,682 are student accounts in Zimbra that have been disabled for various reasons 5

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