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Enterprise Software Thread, Gmail to Exchange Onsite in Technical; Good Afternoon everyone! I work for a small district with about 350 teacher users and 800 students. Currently we have ...
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    Gmail to Exchange Onsite

    Good Afternoon everyone!

    I work for a small district with about 350 teacher users and 800 students. Currently we have Google Apps for Education and the Superintendent has become concerned about FERPA laws, retention and back up. He is pushing hard for us to bring our email service on-site. He has gone as far as bringing our attorney in to this argument (I am fighting tooth and nail). I feel like I'm standing there dazed on mortal combat waiting on the final blow and forced to go to Exchange on-site. What my question is, what should I be prepared for? I have no experience with Exchange, so this is a whole new monster for me. All I've heard is that it's a scary one. Also, I need some new ammo to fight back with to stay on GAPPS for Edu.

    Thanks in advance for any advice, arguments, or just letting me rant to people I feel will understand my fears.

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    Dos_Box's Avatar
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    Welcome
    I've just had a look at the FERPA Wikipedia entry here: Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia and I think it may be better if you list out the concerens your Superintendant has as regards to email held there.
    Many of our member use Google Aps for education and have either mirgated from or back to Exchnage, so I imagine help will be quite forthcoming.
    Out of interst, If it is a case of retention, how long are you supposed to keep the mail for?

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    dhicks's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by boltonmustang View Post
    I work for a small district with about 350 teacher users and 800 students. Currently we have Google Apps for Education and the Superintendent has become concerned about FERPA laws, retention and back up. He is pushing hard for us to bring our email service on-site.
    Exchange is overkill as an email back service - I can understand wanting to have a local copy of your emails, but you don't have to use Exchange for email, you can set up any email server you like. Google will let you use a POP or IMAP client to get emails from their system - you could either give everyone a web-based email client on your own servers, or have your own email server sync with Google's system and let users use whatever clients they like. We're thinking of moving to Google Mail for just this setup - use Google to filter our spam out, then have it delivered to our local email server.

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    how long are you supposed to keep the mail for?
    Honestly, we have no set standards. It's something I think we should be doing but no one has enacted a policy for this. I think this would just be something we should have for legal issues, should they arise. What does everyone else have set as a retention policy?

    Secondly, the use of calendar is very important to our higher ups. I've been looking at setting up a Kolab server for email. From what I've read this allows for a calendar add-on. What other options are there for email servers? The whole issue with GAPPS is that there is information on servers that we do not control. And our attorney has advised us to bring all communications back inside our district. Now, we are being forced to do so and insure that no information is located off-site. This rules out Outlook 365 even. Honestly, I feel like this whole thing is being blown out of proportion, but maybe I'm wrong. Judging by Dos-Box telling me that many members are switching back to exchange.

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    Use of Google Apps is compliant with FERPA. Google say so in several places on their own site, and it's backed up elsewhere. Search online for "Google Apps FERPA" and you'll find a lot of ammo to shoot this concern down. There were some lawsuits pending over this, which is probably what got your super hot under the collar in the first place, but Google headed those off just last week by committing to not scanning any data in Google Apps for Edu for use in datamining, and ads in Gmail are being permanently disabled for all Google Apps Edu users.

    Retention can be handled in one of two ways: if you simply want to set a maximum retention period (i.e. no email can be stored more than x days), that's easy to do with the standard Google Apps product. What I suspect your super is after is defining set retention periods so that all email is stored for a fixed period. For that, you need to buy in to Google Apps Vault, which is an add-on service. It's $5/user/month.

    Office 365 is in a similar situation. I agree the concerns are being overblown. Looking at it from a common sense view: a lot of US colleges use Google Apps and/or Office 365. They are subject to the same rules your super is concerned with. They have much, much bigger legal teams than your district, and they seem OK with it. If your district's attorney thinks he knows better than the legal team at Harvard, then he should go apply for a job there.
    Last edited by AngryTechnician; 7th May 2014 at 09:44 PM.

  6. Thanks to AngryTechnician from:

    boltonmustang (8th May 2014)

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    Office 365 is in a similar situation. I agree the concerns are being overblown. Looking at it from a common sense view: a lot of US colleges use Google Apps and/or Office 365. They are subject to the same rules your super is concerned with. They have much, much bigger legal teams than your district, and they seem OK with it. If your district's attorney thinks he knows better than the legal team at Harvard, then he should go apply for a job there.
    Couldn't have said it better myself... Thank you for sending me that link! I seem to have the upper hand... our attorney called back and said "Oh, I didn't know they had changed their practices". I feel like I'm doing the work of 3 or 4 people as of lately.

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