Transitioning IT services to the cloud

We are pleased to announce a change we are making to Middlebury’s email and calendar service. After years of running these applications on our own infrastructure, we are moving them to the cloud—specifically to Microsoft’s Office 365 suite of services.

There are several benefits to this move:

  • Stronger security. Microsoft is able to devote more resources to security than we ever could. As hackers become increasingly sophisticated, this has never been more important. Microsoft’s cloud-based services include an important second level of security that recognizes “trusted” devices, which can include mobile devices or a home computer. This means that even if someone learned your user name or password, they still would need a special code to access your account from a device other than your own.  Middlebury users will not be compelled at the outset to use this service, though we think it will be attractive to many people and we will be encouraging and supporting its use going forward once the transition to Microsoft’s cloud-based email and calendar service is complete.
  • Better and faster access. Putting data in the cloud will allow us to automatically synchronize data across devices and provide better and faster access regardless of your location.
  • Increased storage. Microsoft’s scale allows it to provide greater storage capacity at less cost. This means we will be able to back up data on a nearly real-time basis. And you no longer will need to worry about size of your email archive.

We don’t anticipate any significant disruption in services when we make the change. If you use Outlook, the switch will happen overnight, and your mailbox and calendar will look exactly as they did the previous day once you restart your computer.  In some cases, it has been necessary to replace your outlook profile, but if that is necessary, we’ll assist you.  The webmail site is very similar to what you are using today, but there are slight differences consistent with a new version.  For those employees who use an email client other than Outlook or webmail, we will provide instructions on how to adjust your account settings.

The process of transitioning mailboxes and calendars to the Microsoft cloud service will begin next week and continue through September, with faculty and students transitioned before the start of the semester and members of administrative departments scheduled by department in batches with advanced notice and on premise support.  The schedule of moves is available here:  http://go.middlebury.edu/cloud.

This fall we will begin a transition of content currently stored on Middfiles to the cloud. This change will bring with it many of the same benefits as those described above and in addition facilitate collaboration – allowing you to share your data with colleagues at Middlebury and elsewhere with ease. We’ll keep you posted as we get closer to that move.

We are excited to deliver these significant improvements to the services we provide to the community. Once complete, we are confident they will result in better service with a reduction in cost and risk. If you have any questions, please contact our helpdesk at helpdesk@middlebury.edu.

Best regards,

The Middlebury ITS Team

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