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Microsoft Scores Three Higher-Education Office 365 Contracts

Three universities recently inked Microsoft Office 365 contracts -- Sacramento State University, University of Miami and University of Colorado at Colorado Springs.

Sacramento State University, which is part of the California State University system, is moving 50,000 accounts to Microsoft's cloud-based productivity and collaboration suite, Microsoft revealed at its annual United States Public Sector CIO Summit on Wednesday.

Office 365 for Education launched as a free service for educational institutions last year, succeeding Microsoft's Live@edu service. The service includes features such as e-mail, document sharing, Web conferencing, Web site creation, 7 GB of storage per user, calendaring, instant messaging and Office Web apps (Word, OneNote, PowerPoint and Excel accessed through a browser).

According to Microsoft, Sacramento State made the move to save on costs and consolidate services, The campus was already an Exchange and Office customer.

"By moving some 50,000 accounts to the cloud, Sacramento State will be able to greatly reduce the cost of providing email and related communications services without compromising the quality of service," according to Microsoft. "Faculty, staff and students will continue to get the best-of-breed Exchange features, plus SharePoint and Lync services, that will truly expand access to anytime and anyplace availability."

Other public-sector organizations have moved to Office 365 because of the "budget realities" they face, according to Microsoft.

"The rapidly increasing public sector adoption rates for Microsoft Office 365 are directly tied to current budget realities and the fact that our customers need to be more productive at a lower cost," said Curt Kolcun, vice president of U.S. public sector at Microsoft, in a prepared statement. "Organizations are achieving significant cost savings through the cloud delivery model while gaining access to the latest collaboration tools without sacrificing on security or privacy."

Two other universities in the United States have also migrated to Office 365. The University of Miami is moving some 40,000 student and staff accounts to the cloud-based service. According to Microsoft, Miami's Miller School of Medicine "required a cloud solution that offered a business associate agreement as mandated by the U.S. Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act because it handles sensitive health data, and Microsoft offered the capability to provide security and privacy safeguards to meet this federal law."

University of Colorado at Colorado Springs is also shifting to Office 365. The university moved 29,000 student and alumni e-mail accounts to the service and is in the process of rolling out SharePoint, Office Web Apps and Lync to students as well, according to Microsoft.

About the Author

Dave Nagel is the executive editor for 1105 Media's educational technology online publications and electronic newsletters.

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