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K-State Today

March 13, 2013



From CIO Ken Stafford: Microsoft 365 to replace current university email system

By Ken Stafford

Dear Colleagues and Students,

In July the university's email system will switch over to Microsoft 365, a full-featured email client used by professionals around the world. Among the enhancements you are likely to see are improved reliability, enhanced security and spam and phishing protection, more robust calendar features, and compliance with federal data locations and security — a necessity for K-Staters working with federally funded grants.  Users who forward their email to open systems like Google, Yahoo and Hotmail will still be able to forward email to such systems. 

An email committee has worked during the past six months examining options for our current Zimbra email system due to support issues that led to lengthy outages.  As part of this analysis, the committee consulted broadly with students, faculty and staff on desired features and preferences for a new email system. I appreciate the work of the committee and those who offered input throughout this effort. 

The options discussed with President Schulz and Provost Mason included Microsoft 365, Google, and Zimbra with a different service provider.  The decision to transition to Microsoft 365 was based on several compelling reasons in addition to the enhancements listed above.

  • Superior support services offered by Microsoft.
  • The Microsoft 365 Suite mimics the MS Office Suite on computers.
  • More robust features in the calendar.
  • Availability of a professional migration path rather than relying on faculty and staff to migrate from one system to the other.
  • Microsoft 365 has a backend of Exchange, the email system of corporate America, which many of our graduates will work with when entering the workplace.

The transition to a new email system can be a challenging process.  We are just beginning the planning stages and will undertake the transition this summer. ITS will keep you informed of plans and progress in the coming months, including  through announcements in K-State Today and a website now in development that will include information and frequently asked questions about Microsoft 365. Please contact me at kens@k-state.edu with any questions or concerns you might have as we move forward to improve our email and calendaring services.

Sincerely,

Ken Stafford
CIO and vice provost for information technology services