We are wondering more about the use of google apps for collaboration. Does any school have a "policy" or set of "recommendations" for what is faculty/staff can and should use google apps for - and what they should not. This is more about issues of privacy, FERPA, etc. We are concerned that there might be materials stored in "the cloud" that need more protection than Google can provide.
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From: "Theresa Rowe" <[log in to unmask]>
To: [log in to unmask]
Sent: Friday, February 27, 2009 8:18:57 AM GMT -05:00 US/Canada Eastern
Subject: Re: [CIO] Google Apps for facuty/staff
We have faculty and staff, including the university president and the general counsel's office, on our Google Apps platform.
The transition was easier than we thought it would be politically. We did students first and let that run for 3 months, then transitioned faculty and staff. We worked closely with our University Senate Academic Computing Committee for a year in advance. They were given all the cost scenarios. The selling point for them was that we improved our features and storage capacity so significantly.
The issues, in order of loudness, were:
1) The ads on the right column of a standard Google account - not because of the advertising, but because of the keyword market targeting in the ad. Many faculty believed that Google was "reading the email" to enable the targeted ads (the ads display topics related to keywords in email). So this was interpreted as a privacy violation - "Google is reading my email to know what ads to display." We negotiated with Google to not display ads for current faculty, staff and students, but that did not alleviate the "reading" concern. Then we engaged in a lively conversation - it was actually quite fun - with several faculty groups about "what is 'reading'?" and 'what is computerized scanning and searching'? We were able to talk about all the places where scanning is done - anti-virus, whitelist/blacklist filters, etc. In the end, the concerns disappeared and there have been no follow-up complaints since we went live last August.
2) Fear of storage of email off-site. We had lengthy conversations with some people, particularly executives, about email storage. Many of these folks have Blackberries, and that gave us an opportunity to walk-through how their email may be stored in the Blackberry environment, and of course, once you send it it can be stored or forwarded by the recipient. Then Detroit conveniently had the mayor get caught in a highly publicized text-messaging scandal, and local media did us a lot of favors talking about all the unintended places email and text messages can land. That concern went away.
3) Our General Counsel wanted to make sure that all legal processes for retrieving or accessing email could be followed, but that was easy to resolve (the processes are there). Note that we do not retain email; we never have, and have operated with a directive to make no backup copies of email. We've never been in the "restore my email" mode; we couldn't even restore the email inboxes if there was a system failure.
After launch, the complaints centered on getting used to Google labels, rather than folders. We sold this on the ability to give one email multiple labels. The other complaint was the nested conversations. For that one we haven't had a good response - more "you'll get used to it." We used our standard email addresses and we keep our LDAP directory on campus with authentication passed via SAML. But many with handhelds pass along IDs/Passwords for integration on their own.
We've had no issues working with Google on complaint investigation or responding to legal requests.
On Thu, Feb 26, 2009 at 5:34 PM, Kubb, Rick < [log in to unmask] > wrote:
For those that have already gone down the path of Google Apps for student email is anyone considering doing the same for faculty/staff email or perhaps already implemented it? What issues are you dealing with (e.g. privacy issues, political issues, cultural, technical such as integrating VOIP unified communications with Google Apps)?
Director of Administrative Technology
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The College of New Jersey
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