Microsoft Office 365 - Outlook Email Upgrade

Project Description

During the summer 2013 quarter, Information Technology Services upgraded the existing campus email from Microsoft Exchange Outlook™ to Microsoft Office 365 Outlook™.  The upgrade affected students, faculty and staff mailboxes.  After the upgrade, Outlook client users experienced no noticeable functional change from their previous desktop version, but Outlook Web App (OWA) users now had an interface similar to their desktop version.

There were multiple reasons for the upgrade, but the most important was to increase users' mailbox storage capacity to 25GB.  Additionally, there were several operational reasons for upgrading the current environment: 1) The new environment provided additional redundancy, which enables faster disaster recovery should a campus or large-scale regional disaster occur: 2) The campus no longer must interrupt email service for scheduled maintenance activities; and 3) It helps control the growing costs for expanding and refreshing equipment.

Project Timeline

The migration process began in September, 2013 and continued until January, 2014.  During that period, 6,804 faculty and staff accounts, and 55,900 student accounts were successfully migrated.  Some mailboxes required only minutes to migrate, while others required an hour or more.  Due to the project scope, migrations occurred 24 hours a day, Saturday through Thursday.  Friday served as an open day used to catch-up from delays caused by excessively large mailboxes. 

User Benefits

While users did not experience a change from their current desktop Outlook email look and feel, there were some improvements.

  • Individual mailbox storage capacity increased substantially to 25 GB. Prior capacity was set at 2 GB for faculty/staff and 100 MB for students.
  • The campus benefited from the broader, stronger anti-virus and spam protection provided by Microsoft Office 365.
  • Support was expanded for additional browsers, i.e., Firefox, Safari and Chrome.
  • Off-campus users who access Outlook OWA now have an interface that appears nearly identical to the campus desktop version.
  • Incoming messages identified as spam are sent immediately to the user's Junk Mail folder where any legitimate messages can be retrieved at any time. This replaced the previous once-daily Quarantine Manager.
  • Students, faculty and staff all use the same URL to access OWA -

Important Security Reminder about Encryption

To prevent a possible information security breach, all University documents containing Level 1 Confidential Data and Level 2 Internal Use Data must always be encrypted - at rest on the desktop or laptop, during transport on electronic storage devices, and in email messages as attachments. Documents can be easily encrypted within the Microsoft applications by clicking on File → Info → Protect Document → Encrypt with a password.

Training and Resources

ITS is providing the following resources:

  • Outlook Web App (OWA) Handouts - Printable Microsoft Office 365 OWA handouts are available at ITS Handouts, which include step-by-step instructions on the new e-mail features.
  • Microsoft Office 365 Online Tutorials - The Outlook Tutorials page provides links to Microsoft tutorials where users can view videos on all Office 365 features.
  • Mobile Device Quick Guides - These online guides, available on the ITS Help Desk "Quick Tips" web page, explain how users can set up their mobile devices to access the new Outlook 365.
  • Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) - The FAQ web page provides information on the following topics: The Upgrade Project; What to Expect After the Move; Managing Your Access; Office 365 Outlook Features; PCs - Desktop, Laptop, Tablets and Smartphones; MACs; and Future Office 365 Features. If you have additional questions or want more information, contact the ITS Help Desk at 3-6170. All questions of general interest will be incorporated into the FAQ web page.

If you have additional questions or want more information, contact the ITS Help Desk at 3-6170.