Why are Rowan emails moving to the cloud?

Although it's called the cloud, there are physical server banks that hold all the data. - Graphic / Julia Quennessen

Information Resources and Technology (IRT) announced that students and faculty using Rowan-managed Windows computers and emails ending in @rowan.edu would be moving to the Microsoft cloud-hosted service Exchange Online on the weekend of March 11.     

Exchange Online is a cloud-hosted service from Microsoft that provides email and calendaring. Exchange Online also offers an increased storage capacity of 100 gigabytes per mailbox, an upgraded Outlook for web experience and better reliability and accessibility.

Assistant Director of Communications for IRT, Erin O’Neill, explained the university’s reasoning for switching to cloud services. 

“Rowan University is working to build greater elasticity, resiliency and agility into our campus infrastructure, as well as ensure accessibility and realize greater efficiency. One of the ways we are achieving those goals is by migrating new and existing services, when appropriate, to the cloud. Email for employees and medical students was previously hosted in Rowan University’s data centers,” O’Neill said. 

This move primarily affects medical students at Rowan-Virtua SOM, CMSRU and some graduate students whose data and information were previously housed in Rowan’s data centers. Undergraduate students and the remaining graduate students with email addresses ending in @students.rowan.edu will continue to have their information stored on the Google Cloud. 

Those impacted by this change must upgrade their windows application to Microsoft 365 either on their own or by selecting the upgrade prompt sent from IRT.

Data stored in cloud storage is transferred to physical servers maintained by third-parties who are in charge of keeping that information safe and accessible to users through public and private internet connections.

“These students may still access their email as they always did, but they may have had to take steps to reconfigure their access following the move to Exchange Online. You can find more information on our website at go.rowan.edu/email,” O’Neill said.

Cloud servers such as Microsoft’s are considered to be an extremely secure environment to store data as they meet the highest strict security requirements.  

“By moving those accounts to Exchange Online, we were able to increase storage capacity, reduce ongoing costs, provide an improved online experience for accessing email and improve the reliability and accessibility of email,” O’Neill said.

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