New guidance on cloud storage & platforms 

Cloud services have transformed the way Chapman University creates, disseminates, and stores information over the past several years.   IS&T has long recognized the need to continue to adapt to the changing landscape as it pertains of the large number of cloud options at our disposal.  We are pleased to announce new recommendations and guidance around the storage of data and preferred technology platforms.   

This guidance is preliminary, so expect to see additional instructions over the course of this year as we finalize our recommendations and procedures.  With that, let’s get started! 

 

The role of IS&T in data management 

IS&T has historically been responsible for managing on-premise storage – primarily, our file servers, and more recently data that is stored on your local devices with the assistance of tools like CrashPlan.    This allowed us to assist you in managing your data sharing & storage objectives, particularly around security. 

We’re announcing today our updated guidance on recommended tools for new data storage and collaboration.   Using one of our recommended tools ensures that IS&T can continue to help ensure that you are configuring and utilizing these new providers effectively, as well as be vigilant to the ever increasing risks that we all face by bad actors. 

Cloud services allow you, the individual, to store and manage your data individually, as well as choose with whom it can be accessed.  This improved flexibility is not without risk, and we highly recommend that you store institutional data in an IS&T-supported platform.
 

Microsoft OneDrive and Google Drive – the cloud storage providers of choice 

Going forward, IS&T plans to de-emphasize the usage of DropBox in favor of Microsoft OneDrive.  Google Drive will also remain an option but will not be recommended for certain sensitive data security scenarios .  Factors that went into our decision include: 

  • A decision by DropBox to eliminate unlimited storage. 
  • A significant improvement by the Microsoft OneDrive platform in capabilities over the past two years. 
  • Access to automated tools that provide more visibility into security threats in the OneDrive/ Google Drive platforms as compared to DropBox.  

Note that DropBox is not going away any time soon, however, you will begin to see our recommendations shift over the course of this year in documentation, training, and new efforts.  We understand that OneDrive may not be your current tool of choice, and may not even be the most appropriate for every situation.  Expect updated documentation and platform comparisons from IS&T in the near future. 

Changes to G Suite for Education – unlimited storage goes away 

Google has long provided higher education with free services and unlimited storage.  On February 16th, Google announced the rebranding of their services to Google Workspace for Education.   They also announced the end to unlimited free storage for education customers.  We’re still ascertaining the full impact of this decision to Chapman University, but the likely outcome is that high limits for Google Drive will be placed as a default across all accounts.  More information will follow in subsequent months.
 

The end of an era – FILER and server-based storage 

Effective June 1st, 2021, IS&T will no longer offer new departmental or personal file server shared drives and storage paths.   This decision is being made due to the following reasons: 

  • Increased focus on flexibility of work location (e.g. work from home). 
  • Inability to support multiple editors of files simultaneously. 
  • Increased security in cloud platforms such as Microsoft OneDrive . 
  • Options to allow leaders in your area to self-manage access permissions if appropriate. 
  • Increased ongoing storage and backup costs for Chapman for current file based storage. 

Existing file shares will continue to be supported for the foreseeable future.  If you are interested in migrating your departmental or personal share to cloud-based storage, then please contact the IS&T Service Desk.  We may also proactively reach out to you as time permits to inquire about your willingness to migrate data to the cloud.     

Finally, there may be specific use cases where file servers are still appropriate.  Feel free to contact us with your inquiry and we’d love to discuss your specific scenario in greater detail.