University Implements Email Transition Planned Since 2013

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By: Katie Betz, betzka@mnstate.edu

Last weekend MSUM’s email system migrated to a new platform. Daniel Heckaman, chief information officer and the head of the IT department at MSUM, shed some light on the reason the email moved and some of the problems that came along with the migration.

According to Heckaman, the migration has been in the works since 2013. MSUM and other Minnesota State campuses planned the migration in order to get all the campuses on one platform. Instead of having independent systems, they would share the platform of Office 365. According to Heckaman, the migration will save the school about 5,000 dollars per year.

“The support costs alone will drop significantly, so that’s kind of one that doesn’t like translate as a user benefit,” Heckaman said.

The major benefit for the user is the mailbox size being increased 50 times, from two GB to 100 GB.

There is also a benefit for students who take online courses from other schools in the system, such as Winona, Mankato or MState.

“There’s some identity connection through Office 365 that kind of keeps your stuff in one spot,” Heckaman said.

An email sent by Heckaman outlines why the school is updating the email system. One of the benefits cited was the “implementation of Safe Links and Safe Attachments, which will lower your risk when receiving email that wasn’t caught by our spam filter but may still be malicious.”

Heckaman explained that though students will still get the spam emails, once the emails are found and eradicated, they will be eradicated for all the campuses.

For Chris Walker, a photography professor at MSUM, the update was smooth. He was able to get help from the IT department in signing into his email and said he hasn’t had issues since, other than something on his calendar that is not backing up on the new system.

The date of the migration was chosen a year and a half ago, according to Heckaman.

“We felt like that was the time we would have the most support coming out of the migration,” Heckaman said. “We moved 9,000 accounts over the weekend. The reason we did it when we are live in the middle is so we could troubleshoot people’s reconnection issues or login issues.”

He explained that some of the issues which have appeared were foreseen, while others were not.

The “@exchange” email address issue was one which was not expected by the IT department. Students and faculty found that the directory defaulted to an incorrect email address when sending emails at the beginning of the update. Heckaman explained that the way to deal with the issue is to delete the email address and retype the name into the directory.

The loss of departmental lists was expected. However, Heckaman said that they did not realize to what extent people were using them. He explained that though people will have to recreate their groups, the group list can still be accessed.

Heckaman sent out an email on Wednesday with a “Migration Update” for users which outlined some tips for those who may still be having issues.

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