Initial Assessment: The district has established Microsoft Exchange as its official business email messaging service for faculty and staff and has established Google’s Gmail as its official student email messaging service.  The local on-premises installation of Exchange has grown significantly and several challenges relating to mail-store size, archival requirements, and off-network accessibility have been identified as having a negative effect on employee productivity.  Mailbox size limits have required email archival where access to archived email is very limited.  The district currently has no data loss prevention (DLP) tools to monitor and report on sensitive data loss risk through email.  Additionally, management requirements and associated physical equipment requirements of the on-premises Exchange environments have begun to exceed available resources to support.  The Exchange environment is two major software releases behind the current version and updates to software and hardware are required to make the Exchange environment current and supportable.

The district has contracted with Google for access to several cloud services including Google’s cloud hosted Gmail for email messaging.  The district provides each student with a Los Rios Gmail account and has elected to make the Los Rios Gmail email service the official (and sole) email communication tool for district communications to students.  Where student personal email addresses are included on the application for admission and where the district ERP allows for the storage and use of a student personal email address, the district currently does not use or maintain currency of student personal email addresses or allow for the students to select a preferred email communication channel.  Concerns have been raised about the impact of that decision on the district’s ability to communicate with prospective student, new students, and former students.  The district recognizes the need to communicate with graduates and former students and as such will need better and more current communication vehicles.  In some cases, the colleges have successfully developed mechanisms to communicate with students using a student preferred email communication vehicle.

Plans:

  1. Migrate District official employee email services to hosted Exchange Online using Office 365 – Includes both fully hosted and hybrid Exchange environments.
    1. Lead(s): DOIT Technical Services and College IT
    2. Funding Resources: Existing resources
    3. College and District Roles: Colleges are responsible for rollout schedule and user training; DOIT will configure Exchange Online system and manage and mail store migration.
  2. Perform a business process analysis and assess the overall effectiveness of the current Los Rios Gmail communication approach specifically as it relates to its success and ease of use for district email communication with prospective students, new students, and former students.
    1. Lead(s): College IT, DOIT Application Services and district and college communicators
    2. Funding Resources: Existing resources
    3. College and District Roles: DOIT will provide project and technical leadership. Advisory and business goal clarification will be provided by VPI/VPSS Council, district Education Technology Committee, PeopleSoft Student Liaison Team, Financial Aid Liaison Team, Student Advisory Council, District Office of Institutional Research (OIR) and other vested college stakeholders as appropriate.
  3. Explore use of student personal email as additional method of communication with students and draft a plan for District use of student identified preferred email communication vehicles that meet email communication needs for reaching prospective, current, and former students.
    1. Lead(s): DOIT Application Services and district and college communicators
    2. Funding Resources: Existing resources
    3. College and District Roles: DOIT will provide project and technical leadership. Advisory and business goal clarification will be provided by VPI/VPSS Council, district Education Technology Committee, PeopleSoft Student Liaison Team, Financial Aid Liaison Team, Student Advisory Council, District Office of Institutional Research (OIR) and other vested college stakeholders as appropriate.

Indicators of Success:

  1. District and college business email:
    1. Is highly available including archives via remote access
    2. Can easily accommodate large mailbox requirements
    3. Is protected by DLP tools and litigation hold tools
    4. Is safe for processing sensitive data including multi-factor authentication tools
    5. Is secure and can securely receive and process sensitive data – including via fax
  2. District has broad-based and inclusive evidence to support its approach to communicating with prospective, current, and former students.
  3. District has received high marks from its students for the value of email communications received from the district.
District has received high marks from its students for the ease of selecting a preferred email, updating and maintaining their personal email information, and on the set-up and use of the district provided email tool (Los Rios Gmail).