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Microsoft Live@edu FAQ
Please note: The views expressed here have been compiled from member postings and materials and do not reflect the policies or opinions of EDUCAUSE, nor do they represent an endorsement of the company or its products or services.
Many higher education institutions are contemplating migrating e-mail and other IT services to outside vendors. EDUCAUSE collected and compiled the following member generated frequently asked questions concerning outsourcing e-mail services. See other FAQs; Google Apps FAQ, Zimbra email FAQ
Join the conversation by adding to the dynamic list of questions and answers by using the Edit tab (profile login required).
How much does Live@edu for Education cost?
Microsoft offers Live@edu to educational institutions at no cost to the institution. If schools want to automate account management, they can purchase server software from Microsoft, discounted especially for the Live@edu program, but there’s no requirement to purchase this software if the institution wishes to put an alternative identity provisioning in place.
In what areas are institutions realizing cost savings from the move to Live@edu?
Institutions can make cost savings on Live@edu in a number of areas:
- A reduction in capital expenditure on new hardware/hardware maintenance
- A reduction in operational costs related to software maintenance, patching and upgrades
"Currently we run our own student e-mail system on a Mirapoint box. The annual maintenance this year was around $60,000. The Microsoft Live@edu option we are looking at is free. There is much more functionality than we can give the students. They also keep their e-mail for life. Alums have ads in their inboxes, which is how the service is paid for."
Legal, Privacy, and Security
Can we request changes to the contract language?
What kind of scanning/indexing of user data is done?
None. Microsoft does not scan e-mail content for targeting ads, allow behavioral targeting of advertisements, or attach commercial tag lines to the bottom of e-mails.
Who owns the data in the e-mail?
Microsoft does not take a position in this. Data ownership decisions are made by the institution running the email service.
Is the school’s data safe?
Yes. Microsoft is committed to the security and privacy of your school's data. MS applies enterprise-grade standards and processes that have come with 30+ years of experience. Live@edu securely stores data with multiple data centers around the world and does not show third-party ads in the e-mail interface.
How are FERPA, HIPAA, and other privacy requirements handled when using Live@edu?
Live@edu provides reliable and easy-to-use tools to support your organization's security and compliance strategy. Administrators can use the multi-mailbox search function in Outlook Live to search by keyword across multiple mail boxes.
Technical and Administrative
How is Live@edu managed, by the school or by Microsoft?
E-mail addresses are provisioned by the school, just as they are today. Schools continue to create, distribute, and delete accounts. However, with an easy-to-use web management interface accessible from multiple browsers, Live@edu reduces the time spent in managing school e-mail services. At the same time, Microsoft manages the hosting, including server uptime, spam- and virus-filtering, and data backup. So Live@edu helps reduce both the school's infrastructure cost and frees the IT department to take on other strategic initiatives.
What type of support does Live@edu offer for end users?
Online support tools are available to end users for all Live@edu services. Microsoft also offers extensive end-user help at http://help.outlook.com and community support at http://www.outlookliveanswers.com/.
How long does Live@edu implementation take?
It takes 15 to 20 minutes to complete the initial enrollment and then anywhere from a few weeks to a few months for complete rollout, depending on the size of your school and the deployment options selected.
For further more information about Live@edu, please see the following sites:
Solutions Center for Education: http://www.microsoft.com/education/solutions/liveedu.aspx
Schools with Live@edu
How many schools are using Live@edu?
According to the 2008 Campus Computing project, fully two-fifths (42.4%) of institutions participating report that they have migrated or are about to migrate to an outsourced student e-mail service; three in ten (28.3%) are reviewing institutional options for outsourcing student e-mail during the current academic year. In contrast, just 14.8% of institutions have migrated to outsourced e-mail services for faculty. The majority of campuses outsourcing student e-mail have opted for Google (56.5%), while two-fifths (38.4%) are using Microsoft and 4.8% are using Zimbra.
Below is a list of known schools who have migrated to Live@edu for their e-mail services:
- The John Marshall Law School
- Lees-McRae College
- Longwood University
- Manchester College
- Mansfield University
- Mitchell College
- West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine
Comments from schools that have chosen to move their e-mail to Live@edu:
"Our University has been a part of the Microsoft Live@edu group for three years now. We have very few students left who remember the days before the Live@edu experiment and it has been very positive for us. When we joined the experiment, Microsoft was the only choice, but I wouldn't change providers today. There have been few hurdles, and each time we've had an issue, Microsoft has been more than supportive in working with us a s a business partner to correct the problem or improve the offering based on our (and others') feedback. Our students complained about no forwarding—we got forwarding. They wanted mobile features—we got mobile including ability to do emergency messaging. They have full-featured calendars and with the latest offering of Work Spaces; they have every feature we enjoy in Exchange, along with a 5G storage capacity that we can't begin to offer locally. They don't get advertising, and they maintain our domain name. If you haven't looked at the product lately, there are many new features that I encourage you to check out."
"We went with the MS solution last summer and are planning on migrating every new incoming class to the Live@edu program as they arrive. This means that in three years' time, we will have no student accounts on our server. We are a complete MS shop, which makes support easier, but like many other small private colleges, we don't have anyone dedicated to e-mail. I have a staff of four, and we support everything (SIS, e-mail, admin system (Datatel), servers, software, desktop support, you name it...we do it). FYI: We have 650 students on campus, and 250 in our adult/extended campus programs.
As far as the movement to outsource e-mail, If I had to classify our situation, I would say that it has been a success, with only a few speed bumps along the way. The main issue has been students who change their names (marriage, etc.), or withdraw then re-enroll. The way it was originally setup means that the old/original account is decommissioned, and it has been like pulling teeth to reconnect the AD account to the Live@EDU servers (because it assumed the student no longer was tied to AD anymore). We are working through these problems, but they have been few and far between."
"We successfully migrated our student e-mail to Live@edu in the fall. We had some glitches, but nothing major. We have decided that, because of issues like FERPA, we will keep faculty/staff e-mail in-house."