Microsoft Office 365
USF Health IS, in cooperation with senior USF Health leadership, has been examining ways to improve email services for our diverse customer base. Among the chief concerns to address are: ongoing costs, mailbox size limitations, and customer accessibility. To address all of these concerns, we have chosen to migrate all USF Health faculty, students, and staff from our Exchange environment here, on campus, to Microsoft's cloud-based Exchange Online environment. This new service will be called USF Health Cloud Email, or just Cloud Email. The first phase of deployment will focus on Exchange and Outlook. Later deployment will provide an upgrade for your Office suite as well as your SharePoint environment. Migration of faculty and staff is scheduled to occur starting in late February/early March and be largely complete by late April/early May of 2015. The admittedly aggressive timeline is a response to feedback from our testers and meant to reduce the challenges of operating in a hybrid environment.
USF Health IS approaching this migration in a way designed to make it as easy as possible for our customer base. Customers are being moved by College or large department grouping. This is being done to minimize the amount of time co-workers will be split between Cloud Mail and local mail. USF Health IS will be hosting town-hall meetings and attending leadership meetings in an effort to address potential concerns, and answer questions directly from interested faculty and staff. Once a group has been scheduled for migration the process will run as follows:
- An initial email will be sent to the group as a whole with links to documentation and other information as well as the dates over which the group will be moved.
- All accounts in the group will be "pre-staged." This means that 95% of your email will be copied to your mailbox in the cloud. This process is transparent to the customer.
- Smaller groups will be identified and a more detailed email will be sent to them pinpointing the date they can expect to me moved and providing links to documentation again. These moves will result in a short outage for individual users, but will be completed at night to minimize impact
- Once a group has been moved, an additional email will be sent letting customers know that their move is complete.
Benefits of Cloud Mail
Part of the evaluation process for a new mail solution was to provide a more customer-centric solution. Cloud Mail provides benefit to our customers in a number of ways:
- Storage. The single, most frequent request we have from our customer base about email is for the ability to retain more emails for a longer period of time. Cloud Mail provides exactly that. Users that are migrated will immediately see an increase in quota space from 5GB to 50GB. This allows you to store more email, for longer, and it is accessible from anywhere in the world with a web browser and network connection.
- Server Support. Back end, server support is provided by Microsoft directly. Their world-wide infrastructure is far more tolerant of localized disaster, hardware failures, storage failures, and power outages.
- Security. Microsoft is fully HIPAA compliant. Mail encryption is built in to the system.
- Local Client support. If you have problems or need help, our Service Desk is still your first point of contact.
We have put together a number of documents tailored specifically to the migration process and what you can do to help make the transition a smooth one. You can view them all here in our document repository.
Microsoft has provided a front page that has a lot of good information about Office 365 for Business
You can also contact the Service Desk at 813-974-6288 or reach out to us via Live Chat if you have any additional questions.