​Data security concerns to see Macquarie Uni migrate from Gmail to Office 365

Macquarie University will be moving all staff email and calendar from Gmail to Office 365 by the end of the year, which will see all data hosted locally in Australia.

Macquarie University said it will migrate all staff email and calendars from Gmail to Office 365 for data security purposes by the end of the year.

In a notice to all Macquarie University staff, chief information officer Mary Davies explained that because Google will be moving the university's stored data from Europe to the United States, the university initiated a search for an alternative email service provider, and has chosen Microsoft Office 365, which hosts its data locally in Australia.

Microsoft has been hosting its cloud product suite in Australia since last October when it opened two datacentres located in Sydney, New South Wales, and Melbourne, Victoria.

Davies told ZDNet that data security is a priority for the university, and believes Microsoft will be able to deliver on that.

"The intention behind Macquarie's transition to Office 365 is to ensure we can provide staff with a secure and integrated offering for managing their email, calendars and the accompanying suite of Office 365 tools," she said.

"The new offering will include greater security and data privacy, as well as improved data access speeds, global email access, and collaboration with other Australian universities."

The transition comes after more than 90 staff have been piloting the use of Office 365 for the last six months. As part of the trial Davies said some issues were encountered with a majority because of the co-existence of Gmail and Office 365.

As part of the transition, Davies said staff will retain their Google accounts and access to Google Apps, but will no longer use Google for email and calendar. She added that Google Apps will be reviewed separately in 2016 based on staff and student requirements.

Student email and calendars will remain on Gmail, and will retain access to Google Apps to allow for collaboration between students and staff, Davies said.