IT Connect
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UW Email Modernization Program: Overview

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

The decision to modernize UW’s email and productivity platform services was reached after careful review of the costs, technologies, and resources required for delivering email and productivity platform services as well as consideration of the effects the EMP 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 assist departments and people migrating from the UW email and productivity platform services being retired to other email and productivity platform services that offer a more up-to-date and cohesive experience.

View the EMP timeline and program resources

Click here for more information on the EMP timeline and program resources.

Changing technology

Email and productivity platform 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 and productivity platform services.  At the same time, it has become cost prohibitive for the UW to upgrade its homegrown solutions so that they keep pace with the email and productivity platform services standards set by Google and Microsoft.

Legal compliance

UW email and productivity platform 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 productivity platform services in recent years, allowing former faculty, staff, and students to continue to use these UW services has made compliance with such requirements increasingly burdensome for the UW.

The Email Modernization Program (EMP)

UW is embarking on its Email Modernization Program (EMP) to address this changing technology and these legal concerns.  The EMP is intended to ensure that current students, faculty, staff, and UW Medicine workforce members have access to the latest email and productivity platform services, and to diminish the burden and cost of legal compliance.  The basic elements of the EMP are:

  • UW Deskmail and UW Windows Live will be retired on 12/31/18.
  • UW will provide email and productivity platform services with UW Exchange Online (as part of the UW Office 365 productivity platform) and with UW Gmail (as part of the UW G Suite by Google productivity platform).
  • UW Office 365 and UW G Suite will be made available only to current UW students, faculty, staff, and UW Medicine workforce members, with the caveat that UW G Suite is not HIPAA compatible – click here for more information.
  • UW retirees, with the exception of emeriti faculty and emeriti librarians, and UW alumni will no longer have access to UW email and productivity platform services, although they will maintain email forwarding privileges.

What this means for users of UW Deskmail and UW Windows Live

UW Deskmail (aka Alpine, Pine) and UW Windows Live will be fully retired on 12/31/18.  Access to accounts will end and all data will be deleted.  Users of these email and productivity platform services are responsible for migrating their email and files to UW Office 365 and/or UW 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 minimis personal use of UW-IT computing services, separating employees and upcoming retirees will also need to migrate any such de minimis personal data 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 Deskmail, UW Office 365, UW G Suite, and/or UW Windows Live 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.  They will also need to migrate any de minimis personal data 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

Emeriti faculty and emeriti librarians will have continued access to UW Office 365 and UW G Suite.  If they are currently using UW Deskmail and/or UW Windows Live, they will need to migrate their data to UW Office 365 or UW G Suite.  Other former employees or retirees may continue to use a UW Office 365 or UW G Suite if they are annually provisioned for access by a UW employee as still performing a service for the UW – click here for more information.

What this means for alumni

Alumni will no longer be eligible for UW email and productivity platform services.  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 be deleted.

Conclusion

UW-IT offers a range of online resources and migration tools to help all users with the implementation of the EMP and the transitions it requires.  Affected users receive email messages from the EMP with detailed program information and instructions on how to proceed with the migration of data before access to accounts end and data is deleted.

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