The Student Information Systems & Technology office and the Office of the Chief Information Officer will begin transitioning students’ emails from Microsoft Office 365 to G Suite for Education by Google in July.
The university will complete the transition by the start of Fall Quarter, according to James Kantrim, Enterprise Technology Services (ETS) service delivery manager.
Beginning in July there will be three “waves” of student email transitions, according to Aubrie Amstutz, Office of the Chief Information Officer (CIO) communications analyst.
Students will see no significant change to their emails other than the fact that they will be logging into Gmail instead of Office 365, she said.
Aside from receiving access to unlimited storage on Google Drive and other Google tools, students will still have access to all Microsoft Suite products. U-mail accounts will still be accessible through the “U-Mail Web Access” link found on the UCSB U-mail website, according to Amstutz.
In addition to current email addresses, UCSBNetID@umail.ucsb.edu, students will also have the option of using a new domain name, UCSBNetID@ucsb.edu.
The CIO recommends that students frequently check their emails and pay attention to any emails detailing the transition of their account.
“The best thing you can do to prepare is to watch your email and actually read them because you will get an email that lets you know exactly what day [the email server] is swapping for you … That’s all students need to do,” Amstutz said.
The CIO is working on completing the transition of emails for the Student Affairs division, Kantrim said in an interview with the Nexus. This will complete the migration for the entire UC Santa Barbara faculty and staff.
Approximately 12,377 out of 15,222 email accounts of UCSB staff and faculty have been fully transitioned to Google as of March 2018, according to Matthew Hall, associate vice chancellor for information technology and chief information officer.
In a 2016 study done by Student Information Systems & Technology (SIS&T), the university found 65 percent of students with Office 365 U-mail accounts were forwarding their emails to other servers. Of those forwarding, 64 percent of emails were being sent to Gmail.
Students had proposed switching to Gmail when the university first switched from a local email server to Office 365 in 2012. However, the Google platform at the time was difficult to manage and was not as developed as it is today, according to Joe Sabado, SIS&T executive director.
The transition to the Google server will allow students, faculty and staff to be on the same platform and easily share documents, calendars and improve overall collaboration, Sabado said.
Although Gmail provides multi-factor authentication, email phishing and other malware will not see a significant change, according to Sam Horowitz, CIO chief information security officer.
“At the end of the day, a mailbox is a mailbox,” Horowitz said in an email. “People still need to be careful with email.”
Correction: James Kantrim is the Enterprise Technology Services (ETS) service delivery manager, not the Student Information Systems & Technology (SIS&T) director of strategic architecture and platform integration services as previously stated.