- On This Page
- Cloud Computing and the UW
- How the UW is Leveraging Cloud Computing
- Services Offered
- Usage Policies and Guidelines
Cloud Computing and the UW
- What is cloud computing?
Cloud computing is a term used to describe a package of internet-based services aimed at providing many different capabilities to users--a sort of "one-stop-shop" model. Companies providing cloud computing services strive to offer everything a computer user might need, from word processing software to email, all delivered to the user via the internet rather than requiring that a software program be installed on a computer hard drive.
- UW benefits and opportunities
Cloud-based services for the UW community can bring a number of benefits to our students, faculty, staff, and the institution such as:
- Providing state-of-the-art personal productivity and collaboration tools, thus maximizing our effectiveness within and outside the UW
- Having a vendor who can respond quickly to technology changes and opportunities, which means we can be at the cutting edge
- Freeing up technology staff for other high-value activities, key in this time of tight budgets
Cloud services also can provide long-term advantages for the UW regarding information technology (IT), including the opportunity to:
- Take advantage of free and low-cost IT services from exemplary providers such as Microsoft, Google, and Amazon
- Form strategic partnerships with these industry players who are and will be shaping the future of IT
- Leverage higher-education research networks to reduce the cost and increase the performance of using cloud-based services
- Work with providers to make cross-vendor interoperability a reality
- Help shape future product/service offerings
How the UW is Leveraging Cloud Services
The UW is partnering with both Microsoft and Google to offer additional options for email and collaboration tools to the UW community.
In summer 2009, in preparation for launching both UW Google Apps and UW Microsoft Live cloud-based email and collaborative applications for students in the fall, the UW conducted a Google Apps for Education Edition pilot. This report summarizes the findings from that pilot.
Both the Microsoft's Live@Edu and Google Apps Education Edition software is available to academic institutions at no charge, therefore no student or departmental fees will be needed for the basic services. Both vendors offer additional for-fee services that include higher service level and compliance guarantees that are critical for some populations of UW personnel, and costs for these vendor-billable services will be passed on to individuals or departments that elect to use them.
- Choose one or both
Eligible UW personnel may choose to utilize either or both Microsoft Live@Edu and Google Apps Education Edition service suites depending on their individual or departmental needs. Each package offers similar services:
- UW Windows Live provides numerous services including UW Outlook Live email (10 GB mailbox), Messenger, SkyDrive (25 GB file storage), Spaces, and Photos.
- UW Google Apps provides many tools including UW Google Email (over 7 GB of storage), Google Calendar, Google Docs, Google Sites, and Google Talk.
For more information on each service, please click the links above for each cloud computing package.
- Who is eligible
Current UW students, faculty, staff, and alumni, as well as former students, are eligible for both UW Windows Live and UW Google Apps. Owners of shared UW NetIDs (for example, departmental, course, or student activities organizations) may also create accounts on both services. UW Medicine clinical faculty and staff are prohibited from forwarding email to cloud services, including UW Windows Live and UW Google Apps.
- UW branded advantages
While many UW people may already use versions of these tools, these separate UW contracted, sanctioned, and "branded" versions provide the ability for you to sign up and log in with your UW NetID and to continue to use your existing uw.edu or u.washington.edu email address.
- How to decide
Don't know if you should use the suite of service from UW Windows Live or from UW Google Google Apps? Try both, ask your friends and colleagues, or read more about the features of each on the Microsoft's Live@Edu and Google Apps Education Edition sites to help you decide which best meets your needs. And remember, you can have access to both, using the tools in each that work best for you.
- Email caveats
Keep in mind the specific aspects of using email in the cloud:
- Your existing uw.edu or u.washington.edu email address will remain the same.
- While you can use both email services to send and store email, you must choose one location where your email will be delivered.
- You can change your email delivery at any time via the Change UW Email Forwarding page.
- Calendar caveats
Please note the following when you consider which calendaring tool to use:
- Calendar tools are available from both providers, and your calendar can be selectively shared with others.
- Efficient, easily implemented, and scalable calendar interoperability between the two providers is currently unavailable.
- Fortunately, this long-term and well-known functionality gap of calendar incompatibility is being actively tackled by broader industry and engineering communities. UW hopes to contribute to and benefit from future advances in this arena.
Usage Policies and Guidelines
- Contract information
- Regarding the UW's involvement with cloud services,
you should know that:
- Contracts are in place with each vendor to address many important legal, regulatory, and compliance issues and to mitigate risk associated with handling of UW data and intellectual property by an external service provider.
- Contract terms cover many but not all types of institutional data.
- Privacy and appropriate use
All UW "records" -- which includes all electronic data -- are covered by many federal and state laws and regulations, and by state and UW policies. No matter whether your email or other records are hosted within the UW or externally (in the cloud), you are responsible for complying with official UW policies, standards, and guidelines regarding electronic records.
- Please refer to the University's Data Security Standards for a deeper description of relevant data security standards (including the three categories of "confidential," "restricted," and "public").
- See the Comply With Rules and Laws section of the Safe and Secure Computing Web page for the relevant laws.
Please refer to our Appropriate Use page for detailed information and links to specific UW policy and relevant laws.
- Forbidden uses
There are two types of data for which cloud-based services cannot be used: health-care (HIPAA-protected) and Export-Controlled. Be sure to read the Appropriate Use page for more details.