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Cloud Services Thread, Offering Office 365 to schools... in Technical; Can a local council put its foot down to a company offering an Office 365 email solution to curriculum staff ...
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    Mr_Jiminy's Avatar
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    Offering Office 365 to schools...

    Can a local council put its foot down to a company offering an Office 365 email solution to curriculum staff at a school?

    I ask because we have looking to offer just this, but to only curriculum staff (teachers, TAs), not to the school admin staff who use PC's attached the councils network. The authority have informed the school its teachers could be in breach in doing so.

    My thoughts are to only if this was really sensitive data, which would require a GCSX address.

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    Michael's Avatar
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    They could, but where's the justification? Any school should be able to use any e-mail provider of their choosing.

    Office 365 is free from Microsoft for Education, so it's difficult for LAs/councils to compete with this.

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    Mr_Jiminy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Michael View Post
    They could, but where's the justification? Any school should be able to use any e-mail provider of their choosing.

    Office 365 is free from Microsoft for Education, so it's difficult for LAs/councils to compete with this.
    Thanks Michael, my sentiments exactly, I really couldn't have said it any better. I used to work as IT support for the council, so I'm somewhat clued up to their ways.

    We've been testing Office 365 Online Exchange for months, with a lot of work going into doing things the right way, largely by piloting the platform and producing users guides, one for the old look (Exchange 2010 Webmail look), the other set for the recently re-launched new look platform. However we have now we have had to to place demo sessions on hold until we get clarification.

    We can't see there being much truth in the council saying this, we suspect either the representative has got confused and should have advised the school on the use of gcsx accounts for key members of admin/ teaching staff.

    We've tried to play everything by the book, offering the Office 365 provision to only curriculum members of staff, advising the administrative team (inc head and deputies) remain with the councils email provision.

    Needless to say, we are less than impressed with the authorities 'possible' superficial comment to the client.
    Last edited by Mr_Jiminy; 2nd March 2013 at 08:29 AM.

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    truebluesteve's Avatar
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    This sort of control freakery is exactly the reason we left our LEA's IT SLA a couple of years ago. They should spend more time improving their services rather than trying to bully their customers!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr_Jiminy View Post
    Can a local council put its foot down to a company offering an Office 365 email solution to curriculum staff at a school?.
    I guess it depends, If you mean you're a third party company reselling Office 365 solutions to schools, then yes I'd assume it could be breaches, due to data protection, or even resale rights from Microsoft (Not sure what they are, if any).

    If you mean a company ie. Microsoft, offering Office 365 to schools, then no I don't see how there's an issue.

    But guess it depends on the individual school/companies etc at the end of the day, rather than a single blanket answer.

    Steve

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    elsiegee40's Avatar
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    If you are an LA school, your HT will have to abide the LA rules... and, by default, so will you.

    Are they objecting to you using Office 365, or objecting to you dealing with a company other than Microsoft to use Office 365? If it's the latter, I don't blame them. You don't need to pay someone else to get Office 365.

    If your school is an Academy it can do what it darn well pleases

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    truebluesteve's Avatar
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    I'd be interested in what these "rules" are. I certainly don't believe it's a legal issue as data protection is the schools responsibility, so if you choose to use Office 365 then it's down to you to manage that.

    I suggest you ask them to detail exactly what the problem is and take it from there.

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    Mr_Jiminy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve21 View Post
    I guess it depends, If you mean you're a third party company reselling Office 365 solutions to schools, then yes I'd assume it could be breaches, due to data protection, or even resale rights from Microsoft (Not sure what they are, if any).

    If you mean a company ie. Microsoft, offering Office 365 to schools, then no I don't see how there's an issue.

    But guess it depends on the individual school/companies etc at the end of the day, rather than a single blanket answer.

    Steve
    Thanks for all your feedback folks, it really is appreciated.

    Also I need to clarify, we're not actually reselling this to the school, we're simply setting it up and covering it within our SLA. We're non-for-profit on hardware and software, only charging for service.

    Our objective is to save the school money by offering them the free Office 365 for edu solution.
    Last edited by Mr_Jiminy; 2nd March 2013 at 12:37 PM.

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    witch's Avatar
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    It must depend on what the school has signed. SWGfL are offering free transfer to Office 365 from our current Easymail system and no one has said anything. I presume the LA know about it and offer no barriers.

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    Michael's Avatar
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    All I will say is that I have converted many schools to either Live@Edu and now Office 365 for schools which are under their LA or an Academy. This really is irrelevant to be honest. If the school is paying for a service from their LA such as e-mail, any school do have the right to use any e-mail provider of their choosing.

    Of course in agreement with the LA, the school should have to sign various documents for legal purposes. I do suspect with some smaller LAs that running an internal e-mail system becomes unviable if x amount of schools move to another solution. I suspect this is the real reason at the heart of the matter, rather than what's best for the school.

    I can't see why only admin staff or senior management should continue to use the council's own e-mail system and everyone else uses Office 365. That's just a bazaar way of thinking. Office 365 is much more than e-mail and this is why I think 'some' LAs are missing the point why schools want to change their solution in the first place!

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    sparkeh's Avatar
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    Without knowing the exact situation it's kinda hard to say but it does sound like typical LA scaremongering to keep schools in its own system.
    Your LA can't force you to use any particular email system it's up to the school.
    The only possible thing I can think of is if they have some kind of secure email system to ferry info around the LA, if not, then sensitive data shouldn't be sent by email anyway!
    Last edited by sparkeh; 2nd March 2013 at 06:39 PM.

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    Mr_Jiminy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Michael View Post
    I can't see why only admin staff or senior management should continue to use the council's own e-mail system and everyone else uses Office 365. That's just a bazaar way of thinking. Office 365 is much more than e-mail and this is why I think 'some' LAs are missing the point why schools want to change their solution in the first place!
    Hi Michael, the only real reason is because the networks are currently two separate entities... Although it has to be said we do want to offer the service on a whole, however we'd prefer to prove the strengths of Office 365 with the schools curriculum network, prior to offering the package to the administrative side... We see it as taking baby steps.
    Last edited by Mr_Jiminy; 2nd March 2013 at 06:31 PM.

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    Michael's Avatar
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    Do you mean two domains joined via a trust? If yes, this sort of setup was common in the 90's. VLANs are the better option today, but still, I've deployed Office 365 to whole schools, not just Curric.

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    Mr_Jiminy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Michael View Post
    Do you mean two domains joined via a trust? If yes, this sort of setup was common in the 90's. VLANs are the better option today, but still, I've deployed Office 365 to whole schools, not just Curric.
    VLANs chap.

    For the time being we're keen to leave the admin as is, they are keen to retain the global address list for ease.

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    Michael's Avatar
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    Well I suppose as a compromise your LA needs to reduce its price if it's literally going to be used by a handful of admin staff and everyone else on Office 365.

    I suppose you could still create admin users accounts on Office 365, but then create forwarders back to the LA e-mail system just for admin users.

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