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Information technology tools and resources at the UW

UW Email Modernization Program: Overview

The UW is embarking on a program to modernize its email services (the Email Modernization Program).  The goals of the Program are to ensure that current students, faculty and staff have access to the latest email and collaboration/productivity tools and services at their disposal, to facilitate responsiveness to records requests, and to protect sensitive data.  This message explains the rationale for the Program and how it will affect various groups of users.

The decision to modernize email was reached after careful review of the costs, technologies, and resources required for delivering email services as well as consideration of the effects the Program will have on a wide variety of users.  The decision is also grounded in the counsel of the UW’s Office of the Attorney General, the Institutional  Privacy Official, and Records Management Services.  UW-IT staff will be available to support departments and people migrating from the UW email systems being retired to other email systems that offer a more up-to-date and cohesive experience.  View the Program timeline and details.

Changing technology

Email services have changed dramatically in the years since UW introduced and developed its own homegrown systems (i.e., Deskmail, Alpine, and Pine).  In particular, Google and Microsoft have become the dominant providers and have invested heavily in upgrading and integrating cloud-based email services, coupling them with a wide variety of collaboration and productivity tools.  At the same time, it has become is cost prohibitive for the UW to upgrade its homegrown solutions so that they keep pace with the email services and technology standards set by Google and Microsoft.

Legal compliance

UW email and collaboration/productivity services are subject to numerous state and federal laws, such as the Public Records Act, FERPA, HIPAA, and other regulatory schemes. These laws and regulations require the diligent protection of certain information, thoughtful records management, and the careful review and release or disclosure of information for regulatory, investigative, other purposes. Given the tremendous growth in usage of email and collaboration/productivity services in recent years, allowing former faculty and staff and former students to continue to use these UW services — as has been the case up until now — has made compliance with such requirements increasingly burdensome.

The Email Modernization Program

UW is embarking on its Email Modernization program to address this changing technology and these legal concerns. The Program is intended to ensure that current students, faculty and staff have access to the latest email and collaboration and productivity tools and to diminish the burden and cost of legal compliance.  The basic elements of the Program are:

  • UW’s homegrown systems will be retired.
  • UW will provide email with UW Exchange Online (as part of the Microsoft Office 365 suite of collaboration/productivity tools), and with UW Gmail (as part of the Google G Suite of collaboration/productivity tools). These services are available for all three campuses, the UW Continuum College, and UW Medicine.
  • These systems will be made available only to current members of the UW community.
  • Retirees, with some exceptions, and UW alumni will no longer have access to the UW’s Google and Microsoft services, although they will maintain email forwarding privileges.

What this means for users of UW’s homegrown systems

Deskmail, Alpine, and Pine will be fully retired on December 31, 2018.  Access to the accounts will end, and all data will be deleted.  Users of these systems are responsible for migrating their email and files to UW Exchange Online and the Microsoft Office365 suite or to UW Gmail and Google G Suite, taking care to preserve UW records according to records management guidance and the General Records Retention Schedule or the UW Medicine Records Retention Schedule.

What this means for separating employees and upcoming retirees

Separating employees and upcoming retirees must work with their home department or unit to remove and retain official UW records which have not reached the end of their records retention period from their UW accounts within 30 days of separation. After 30 days, they will no longer have access to the account, and all data will be deleted.  Inasmuch as UW policy allows for de minimus personal use of computing resources, separating employees and upcoming retirees will also need to migrate any such de minimis personal files and email to a personal service if they wish to preserve them.  They may not migrate any official UW records to a personal service.

What this means for current retirees

All retirees using UW’s homegrown email systems, UW Exchange Online and the Microsoft Office365 suite, or UW Gmail and Google G Suite must work with their former home department or unit to remove and retain official UW records which have not reached the end of their records retention period UW Email. They will also need to migrate any de minimus personal files and email to a personal service if they wish to preserve them.  They may not migrate any official UW records to a personal service.  Access to the accounts will end, and all data will deleted.

Exceptions for retirees

Emeritus faculty will have access to UW Exchange Online and the Microsoft Office365 suite and UW Gmail and Google G Suite  If they are currently using Deskmail, Alpine, or Pine, they will need to migrate to either the Google or Microsoft service.  Other former employees or retirees may continue to use a UW service if they are endorsed by a UW employee as still performing a service for the UW. There will be an online form for that endorsement, which must be renewed on an annual basis or the account will end and the data will be deleted.

What this means for alumni

Alumni will no longer be eligible for a UW email service.  Those currently using a service should migrate personal files and email to a personal service if they wish to preserve them.  If they have them, they may not migrate any official UW records to a personal service and must work with their former home department to remove any remaining official UW records.  Access to the accounts will end, and all data will deleted.

Conclusion

UW-IT will offer a range of online resources and migration tools to help all users with implementation of the Program and the transitions it will require. Users will receive messages tailored to their particular needs, and users will be contacted before access to accounts ends and data is deleted.

Please contact help@uw.edu with any questions or concerns.