NMU switching to Google email platform

Von Lanier

Next year, the NMU community will switch to Google’s educational edition of G Suite for its new email and master calendar platform.

All students, faculty, staff or retirees are required to migrate their email and calendars from existing NMU servers to G Suite by July 31. However, older email services and messages on Webmail or Outlook Web Access can be accessed until the Microsoft Exchange and ownCloud servers are shut down for good on Dec. 23, according to a recent Campus Connect article.

NMU email addresses will remain in the current format of “[email protected]” There will not be any new or additional software to download and install. G Suite can be accessed from any computer or mobile device connected to the internet.

Dave Maki, NMU chief technology officer, said one of the biggest reasons for the switch is so that everyone with a university email can operate on a one-calendar platform, which ultimately makes scheduling purposes for faculty and administrators easier.

“There’s better spam-checking and malware protection because Google really scrubs the mail before it comes in,” Maki said, adding, “There is some man-hour savings and some hardware costs [savings], which were never that much. When you think about it, you can do the whole mail system—whole new server—with the disk space for only around $10,000 but you can spotlight the [hardware] savings and that can just be repurposed somewhere else.”

Maki said the biggest thing was getting off of the Microsoft Exchange servers, which are ran through actual man hours that could be applied to other projects around the university.

The educational edition of G Suite will provide users with features like unlimited email storage, no advertisements and more support than the free versions of Gmail and Google Calendar, according to Campus Connect. The NMU G Suite accounts will include each of the following services: Gmail, Google Calendar, Google Docs, Google Sheets and Slides, Google Hangouts, and Google Drive.

NMU chose G Suite after looking for an email and calendar solution that offers the benefits of lower infrastructure and support costs, the ability to consolidate platforms, innovative solutions to provide NMU employees with easy-to-use tools for getting work done, as well as more collaboration features for greater colleague efficiency.

Maki said 99 percent of the issue people face with the switch is that they have to transfer their old emails from the existing server to the new one if they wish to retain them.

“There are a variety of ways to do that, but it means that you do have to—So if you have archived mail, you want to move it,” he said.

The NMU HelpDesk, located in the Harden Learning Resources Center room 116, will offer assistance to anyone with questions on how to switch their server and will help to resolve any issues with the process. The HelpDesk can be reached at 227-2468 or [email protected] To contact the Information Technology Office call 906-227-2410.