Microsoft Exchange and Google Mail Solutions

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1 Microsoft Exchange and Google Mail Solutions Executive Summary: has become a critical application in most Education entities. When considering what systems are going to be used, a great deal of investigation and consideration is needed. Every education entity will be different. Furthermore, there are costs associated with some of the free hosted offerings. Today there are choices for systems for Education. The two major vendors are Google and Microsoft. Google offers a cloud based approach with Google Apps for Education. Microsoft provides several options for Education for systems, both on premise and in the cloud. Both companies offer anti-virus, SPAM filtering, and archiving with a lot of great different options. Both Google mail and provide basic service that is generally free with additional charges for some of the security and archiving features. There is much debate about data ownership, cloud computing reliability and realized costs of implementation/maintenance. Both systems offer great features and looking at the surface they are very close in features and functionality. However, as in most Educational settings, the needs are somewhat different than a corporate environment and implementation of some of these needed features may not be available or there may need to be workarounds to accomplish the task. The following tables and information outline the features with some notes about the Educational Business Processes related to an enterprise system in education. The following breaks up the features into major areas such as , calendaring, mobile access and security. The big advantage to systems in the cloud is that you don t have to own and maintain the backend server and storage systems required for on premise systems. The big negative is the reliance on Internet connectivity. In today s world of redundancy, we have gotten used to being able to count on Internet connectivity but if your system is being used as an avenue of emergency communications you must consider the probability that your Internet connection will be down is higher than normal. Furthermore, this could create challenges if it takes several days to restore the utility connection to the campus locations. On the other hand, on-premise systems allow more control and integration with on premise collaboration tools such as Office and/or SharePoint. Security and data ownership are always important for education. Both systems offer good service level agreements and agreements on data ownership. However, for explicit ownership of data, a discussion with Google s legal department will be required. Some schools have successfully negotiated an agreement to protect the data in the systems. Both systems guarantee that advertising data will not be sent while students are actively enrolled. Provisioning, global address books and delivery receipts are important to the workload on any Educational IT department. Both systems offer options for the aforementioned features. The integration of the system into your existing directory will vary with Google. Depending on the sophistication of how the directory infrastructure is used to organize and provide information about the clients. 1 P a g e

2 We will continue to try to update this document for you as these applications change. Feature MS Exchange 2010 (On Premise) Google Apps Education Edition Features Mailbox Size =>10GB 7.2GB (rumored to be going to MS Outlook Live 10GB) Attachment Size Set by Admin 25MB 20MB IMAP Support Yes Yes Yes POP Support Yes Yes Yes Web Access Yes Yes Yes Search Yes Yes Yes Out of Office Replies Yes Yes (Web Only) Yes Outlook Support Yes Yes with Apps Sync (See notes) Yes MAC Premium Client (Entourage) Yes No Yes Delegation Yes Yes (not in Outlook, see notes) Yes Importance Levels Yes No Yes Follow Up Flags Yes No Yes Rules and Alerts Yes No (Only Filters) Yes Categories Yes No Yes Conversation View Yes Yes Yes Mailtips Yes No Yes Presence Yes (OCS) Yes (online only) Yes (MSN Messenger) Global Address List Yes No (see notes) Yes Public Folders Yes No No Delivery Receipts Yes No Yes Mailbox Size in Exchange is set by the administrator with no real limit. mailboxes are set at 10GB on E2010. Good info at 10GB 2 P a g e

3 Outlook Web Access vs. Google Mail Client- Using the Outlook Web Access client as compared to the desktop Outlook client is almost a transparent experience. If Outlook is the current standard of clients, switching to a newer Exchange environment, Exchange Hosted Solution or realizes the same experiences as a rich desktop client. The Google apps are rich in themselves; however there will be a learning curve and some features that are not available. Global Address Books Helping connect Faculty and Students Exchange: Exchange uses Active Directory to populate the Global Address book. Distribution lists are used in Exchange to allow users to send mail or give permissions to groups of people (teams or departments) and are listed in the Address Book. In addition, users can create their own contacts in Outlook or even their own distribution lists. Attributes such as phone numbers, addresses, even department (ORG) info are all used to build the address book and maintain it when changes occur. In addition, you can use Dynamic Distribution Groups 1 to automatically move people from group to group as they move around the ORG. Students, faculty or staff can be members of groups though tools like PowerShell. With these tools groups can be created based on criteria provided by various sources. This allows your department to provide the ability for faculty to a class of students or other groups based on your needs. Users accessing the Address Book in Exchange OWA or Outlook will see a list of all users which they can use to a person or resource. The aforementioned distribution groups can be made available based on a subscribers role in the Active Directory. Exchange administrators can customize the Address Book in many ways, creating different views, hiding groups of people, etc. When you have thousands of students and faculty/staff need to contact them using distribution lists with role based access is a good way to organize the address book to make your faculty and staff more productive. Google: By default, users are simply uploaded to Google, either individually or by bulk upload. Optionally, Google has a tool called Directory Sync that can provision users and groups based on data in an LDAP directory such as AD or Open LDAP. Google online uses contacts as an address book which lists only all contacts in the Org plus personal contacts. These contacts can be moved into groups to create different views but this is done by the end user. Users accessing contacts in Google online will need to search for contacts as there is no list of users. They can then add the contacts to their personal contacts. Users accessing Google via Outlook will only have access to their personal contacts unless a registry update is deployed to each client. There is the ability to create shared Google Groups. However these groups must be maintained manually by individuals or a central owner. 1 Dynamic Distribution Groups: Unlike regular distribution groups that contain a defined set of members, the membership list for dynamic distribution groups is calculated each time a message is sent to them, based on the filters and conditions that you define. When an message is sent to a dynamic distribution group, it is delivered to all recipients in the organization that match the criteria defined for that dynamic distribution group. 3 P a g e

4 Folders VS Labels Google does not use folders to arrange , rather a label system similar to categories in Outlook. Users can add multiple labels to an and find that (and others labeled alike) by choosing that label. To move a mail from the inbox, the user must remove the inbox label. Exchange and Outlook use folders which s can easily be moved in and out of. Either way works and in the current age of quick search is not very important. For users who are use to the rich client environment (faculty) the labels scheme could present a challenge. Feature MS Exchange 2010 (On Premise) Google Apps Education Edition Calendar Features Free/Busy via Web Yes Yes Yes Free/Busy via Outlook Yes No Yes Mobile Sync Yes Yes Yes Blackberry Support Yes (with BES) Yes No Conferencing addin support Yes No Yes Meeting Attendee List Yes No Yes MS Outlook Live Free/Busy via Outlook Yes No (Requires Admin setup) Yes Outlook Auto discover Yes No Yes Tasks Yes No (Local only) Yes Calendar Delegation Yes No Yes Global Address Book Yes No (Requires Config) Yes Flags (for Follow up) Yes Yes (Local only) Yes Color Categories Yes Yes (Local only) Yes Voice Mail integration Yes Yes (Requires download) No Out of Office Replies Yes No (Must be done via web) Yes Optional Attendees Yes No Yes Attachments in Calendar Invites Yes No Yes Rich Text In Calendar Invites Yes No Yes 4 P a g e

5 Feature MS Exchange 2010 (On Premise) Google Apps Education Edition Mobile Integration iphone, WinMobile, Droid Yes Yes Yes MS Outlook Live Mobile Phones with ActiveSync Yes Yes Yes Blackberry Internet Service Yes Yes Yes Blackberry Enterprise Service Yes (Requires BES) Yes (Additional Fee) No Remote Policy and Wipe Yes No Yes Feature MS Exchange 2010 (On Premise) Google Apps Education Edition Security and Access Information Rights Management Yes No Yes Encrypted Mail Yes No Yes Data Center Hosting (Location) US Cannot be Identified US Financially Backed SLA N/A Yes (greater than 10 min. period) Yes Features available offline Spell Check Yes No Yes Edit Documents Yes No Yes Mobile Directory Available Yes No Yes Create Calendar Items Yes Yes (Web Only) Yes Create Yes No Yes Create/Edit Contacts Yes No Yes Document Editing Yes No Yes MS Outlook Live 5 P a g e

6 General Considerations Both Microsoft and Google are committed to protecting your information (SAS70 Type II compliance). There are a couple of differences in their practices that should be noted. Google claims they cannot tell where the data resides or on what severs across the world. Microsoft can work with the customer and identify the data centers where the information is housed in the US. For some universities this may imposes a problem if certain types of research data are stored on servers in other countries. If information is stored in a foreign country it would be subject to the local data privacy laws in that particular country. Additional considerations on security should be vetted. Not only is the protection of the servers and data important from the standpoint of unauthorized access, it is very important to protect the authorized user as well. Google does not provide information rights management. Microsoft does whereas s can be flagged as don t forward or view only. This adds an additional layer of protection on data such as student records, research data or an entities intellectual property. Microsoft also supports digital signatures on s, Google does not. Encryption is also supported between clients on the Microsoft platform but it is not on Google. Online VS Offline Access Google excels in online functionality and is very fast. Chat (with video and voice) is available in the mail app via Gtalk. The calendar is very functional and easy to use. Calendars are automatically shared in an Org and meeting invites along with free/busy work well. Personal contacts can be stored online and users have access to other users in their org by searching for them (they are not listed like the Exchange GAL). Offline Google use is not the best experience. The first option is Gears which is an open source browser add-on that allows access to Google web apps offline. The second option is to use a mail client like Outlook. Google has built an add-on for Outlook called Apps Sync that configures Outlook to access Google and also will import mail from an existing Outlook profile. Once Outlook is setup, mail, calendar, and contact items are synced to and from Google. Users who are used to doing simple tasks in Outlook such as sharing calendars or viewing other calendars will find those options are not available. Neither is folder sharing or delegation. Advertisements Google Apps mainly comes in 3 flavors: Standard, Education, and Premier. Standard is free and supported by the sale of advertisements which are targeted towards users that is based on information gathered from searches and . Premier is targeted towards small business and costs $50 a year per mailbox. Education is free and ads are disabled. For both Standard and Premier, the data stored in mailboxes is the property of Google and can be scanned to better target ads. In education, Google has allowed schools to own the data but this is not the default and must be negotiated with Google s legal department. does not use ads for currently enrolled students either. 6 P a g e

7 Platform and Roadmap Google: Google does not provide a long term strategy or roadmap for their customers. They do provide some insight into the future of their applications and most cloud services are updated regularly. This does not allow for an organization to appropriately plan for upgrades, training or testing. While the current upgrades have been successful, without a good roadmap strategy an organization could struggle with a new release if it is not properly vetted across all areas of the user base. Upgrades to the systems and software are made with little prior notification and the users have no choice to participate in the upgrade when it is put into production. Microsoft: Microsoft spends billions annually on research and development including a long term roadmap strategy. There is also a concerted effort to ensure application interoperability works seamlessly as upgrades are implemented. Through partner networks, individual Microsoft relationships, or via media outlets; customers have the opportunity to learn about new technologies, test them in their own environment while still in beta and are afforded the ability to adopt the new technologies on their schedule. In my opinion, if you are invested in the Microsoft stack, it makes sense to take advantage of their offerings as they will better integrate with what you own. Once federation is available later this year, it will be possible to fully integrate Microsoft s online offerings with on premise infrastructure which will provide both cost savings and rich functionality. Service Level: Google and Microsoft provide the standard 99.9% uptime guarantee. However, for Google there is a clause that limits outages for greater than 10 minutes. If there were 6 separate 10 minute outages during the day there is no financial consequence to those outages. Microsoft does not put a limitation on the length of the outage. So what is the difference in (hidden) cost? While the Google solution shows a lower entry cost and monthly cost on the surface; additional factors should be considered. If the users are already familiar with the client experience of Outlook there will be a cost associated with training on Google and a loss of functionality. Even though some have used Gmail for personal use, there is still a learning curve. Having to understand how to use the full features as compared to a client such as Outlook, GroupWise or Lotus Notes should be considered. The cost of information rights management, intellectual property and protecting important student data should also be considered. Deployment of the tools to integrate with a client such as Outlook could be somewhat burdensome to an IT department. When transitioning to the Google platform there is some risk for alteration of formatting of calendars or . This could cause a considerable amount of problems for some of the faculty and staff. Any solution should be tested to ensure these issues are solved, or users are made aware their information may change in format. Finally, while Google is widely touted as being free, most schools end up purchasing the Postini addon for enhanced malware protection and archiving. 7 P a g e

8 So what? At the end of the day there are a few options and more to come to provide services to students, faculty and staff. There is no one size fits all solution. Make sure you get the proper buy-in and investigate all the issues before moving forward. Three things to remember: Rich client experience what are your requirements for productivity, process and the user experience? Security How will your intellectual property, student information and the authorized users be protected? Cost- There is no such thing as a free lunch but there is balance! You can reduce your overhead and costs without sacrificing the aforementioned issues if you carefully select your platform and direction As many have asked, are we ready for services in the cloud. Maybe the IT organizations are but be sure that your students, faculty and staff don t lose functionality in the process. Written by Bill Campman, Director of Education, Idea Integration Inc. About the author: Bill Campman has spent the last 10 years as a CIO and most recently a Vice President in the Florida College System. Here he was able to innovate and implement new collaboration environments and provide analytics to the administrators and faculty around student performance. Bill worked hard to provide a platform that rendered one version of the truth which was used as a catalyst for organizational change. He is dedicated to helping students and faculty have the best learning experience using the appropriate technology when needed. Prior to that Bill was the Vice President for Weisco Computers Inc. where his company provided turnkey infrastructure from the front office to the classroom. Bill has a passion for education, students and helping faculty and staff use resources to engage in a positive learning environment. Bill has just joined Idea Integration Inc., a division of Adecco as their Director of Education. Bill hopes to assist schools to reach the next level of student engagement, business process automation, collaboration, and performance metrics to affect higher outcomes in K20. 8 P a g e

9 About Idea Integration: Idea Integration is a professional consulting and technology solutions firm serving Fortune 1000, mid-market and public sector entities. Idea Integration provides professional and strategy consulting across a number of specialty areas and industry verticals. Our nationally-based practices specialize in geographic information systems (GIS), business intelligence and data warehousing applications, SAS, infrastructure, information security, legacy systems, and interactive marketing. Our Idea Education practice provides professional and technology solutions for PK-12 and Higher Education institutions throughout the country. Idea combines extensive education experience with deep expertise in a wide array of technology platforms to deliver leading-edge solutions to education organizations of all sizes. 9 P a g e

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