Office 365 IT and Library Services

Office 365 is a cloud hosted service provided by Microsoft. It allows University staff and students the ability to create, edit, manage and even collaborate on the popular Microsoft Office products through a browser based interface, rather than relying upon locally installed software.
Office 365 includes other services that we will be investigating over time.

Why did the University choose Microsoft Office 365?

Office 365 was deemed to fit best with the existing IT infrastructure at the University. It links well with existing on-premises Exchange servers, offers consistency with Outlook Web Access and Microsoft Office applications and better integration with our Active Directory.  Significantly, the Microsoft agreement allows University staff and students to download up to 5 copies of the latest Microsoft Office suite onto whichever platform (eg. PC, Mac, iOS, Android) they desire, for free. 

Access to stored data

When staff use consumer cloud storage services (for example, Dropbox) any stored data is only accessible via the users' personal account, and is therefore not freely accessible by the University. This can cause particular difficulties around Freedom of Information requests and when staff leave the University..

Data Protection Act (DPA) requirements and staff protection

Our Office 365 contract with Microsoft specifies that our data will remain within the European Economic Area (EEA), whereas other cloud storage services will not guarantee this. As such we have confidence that the data is protected in accordance with the European Data Protection regime.

Licensing and cost considerations

Typically cloud storage services are expensive when used within the context of the University's requirements. A substantial benefit to adopting the OneDrive for Business cloud storage service is that it is available without additional charge, as part of our current Office 365 licensing agreement.

Compatibility with a wide range of devices

The University wants to provide a service to both staff and students over a wide range of devices to cover the majority of the University's users. Microsoft have committed to providing support for Mac, Android and Windows devices and whilst not all clients are currently available we will be testing and releasing them as they are made available.