The Allen School offers cloud-based services for school email, calendaring, communication and collaboration tools - powered by both Microsoft Office 365 and Google Workspace Education Edition.
You likely use consumer versions of these popular tools (Outlook.com/O365 or Gmail/Google Apps). We offer a version of these services that is linked to your CSE identity, and with the key difference being that the UW has entered into contracts with each of these companies to securely provide these tools for use with your UW and CSE email and documents.
What are my options for email?
The Allen School offers two options for e-mail services: CSE Office 365 (FERPA/HIPAA compatible) and CSE Gmail (FERPA compatible). Setting up or changing your e-mail service is done via the CSE Email chooser web tool:
Which option should I choose?
Students/Faculty - You can choose either CSE (or UW) Office365 or CSE (or UW) Gmail.
Allen School Staff - To provide a unified email and calendaring system Allen School IT strongly recommends that you choose CSE Gmail as your primary email/calendar platform. For those accustomed to using MS Outlook, the Outlook client can be synced with Gmail and Google Calendar using a sync utility from Google. If you still feel that Office 365 is preferred, we would ask that you talk with your supervisor prior to making your final selection.
Can I forward my CSE/UW email to my personal account?
Official messages from the University of Washington are sent only to your UW email address. The university has no control or tracking on messages forwarded to third party personal e-mail addresses, so must advise that you DO NOT forward your UW/CSE email address to your personal email account. Furthermore if you are a TA or instructor you may be putting student data at risk. Please read more on our policy regarding use of personal email on our Cloud Email Appropriate Use page.
Where do I go to check my email?
HIPAA and FERPA compatibility
- CSE O365 Outlook Online is both HIPAA and FERPA compatible.
- CSE Gmail is only FERPA compatible; it is not HIPAA compatible.
Calendar tools are available from both providers, and your calendar can be selectively shared with others who subscribe to the same provider. Unfortunately calendar interoperability between the two providers is still problematic – and is a bigger problem, still being hashed out in the engineering community.
Office "Productivity" and Collaboration Tools
In addition to email and calendaring, cloud providers typically offer the ability to create, edit and share documents, spreadsheets and presentations - all through a web browser, or by using local apps and cloud-based storage. In fact, one of the biggest advantages of using cloud-based services is the ability to easily share documents and collaborate with others. In some cases, these services even offer live co-editing, where several people can simultaneously edit a single document, and everybody can see the changes that others are making to the document.
You will be able to utilize either or both of these providers for these collaboration tools – no matter which provider you select for handling email.
For a detailed list of additional Google Apps services available, see here.
Security and Privacy
Two of the biggest concerns that people have when it comes to cloud computing are security and privacy. We use on-campus authentication (CSE NetID) for accessing these external cloud-based services, where it is feasible. What that means is that when you access any of these cloud-based services, you will be logging in with your CSE NetID and password to a CSE authentication server, and then your session is redirected back to the external service with a special "token" that indicates that you have been successfully authenticated. Your CSE NetID password is held on campus, in encrypted form, is transmitted via your browser over a secure, encrypted connection, and is never shared with the cloud service provider.
We care deeply about privacy. Electronic data used and stored by UW employees are covered by many federal and state laws and regulations, and by state and UW policies. These laws include FERPA (protects privacy of educational records), HIPAA (protects health records), Breach Notification (protects financial and identity-related information), Federal Export Controls, and others. Please refer to the University's Data Security Standards for a deeper description of relevant data security standards (including the three categories: "confidential", "restricted", and "public"), and to the UW Security Standards and Policies webpage a full description of UW policies surrounding data security, and your responsibilities related to those policies.
Basically, all the same rules of use apply, whether the UW records are stored on-campus or off-campus. Or at your home, or on a thumb-drive! The rules follow the data, whereever you may store them!
Intellectual Property - Who Owns the Data?
Where UW has contracted for employee use of cloud services (currently: Microsoft & Google), the data you store in their cloud service is, in general, owned by UW, and not by the provider†. In general, the provider considers all the UW data that you store on their servers to be UW-confidential information, and will not disclose it to anybody, except as required by law. (There is one exception to that rule - described below.)
The UW Intellectual Property Policy applies to data stored in UW-approved cloud services.
- Usual rules apply. Using external (cloud-based) email service doesn't change anything about the University appropriate use policies. In all cases – whether you use internal UW-servers, or external cloud-based services – you are responsible for complying with official UW polices, standards and guidelines regarding electronic records.
- Forbidden Uses: There are two types of data for which cloud-based services cannot be used: "protected" health care (HIPAA-protected), and export-controlled (cannot be transferred outside the country).
- Private email services. There may be some confusion about forwarding your UW CSE email to a private email address with an external provider. For faculty, staff, and TAs and RAs (any employee), this is a problem – you should not do it. However, a "sanctioned" cloud service – where UW has an appropriate contract with the provider – is an acceptable location for FERPA-protected records.
Make sure to check on what happens after you graduate/separate from CSE at the following links: