The High School Student News Site of The American School in London

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School moves from Zimbra to Google Mail

School moves from Zimbra to Google Mail

At the conclusion of the school year, the school will change its e-mail interface from Zimbra to Google Mail (Gmail).

Zimbra hosted the school’s email services for the past eight years, but declining security services and ability to synchronize U.S. spelling with mobile devices in addition to cost, motivated Director of Technology Nadjib Aktouf and the rest of the department to transfer platforms.

Currently, the school stores all servers and email data on site, which proves problematic for informational security. “We decided to outsource our email to a platform like Gmail so we could rely on Google’s infrastructure for security, for spam filtering and for anti-virus,” Aktouf said. “The security capabilities we have here, on-site [are] no comparison to the Google infrastructure.”

Additionally, hosting local servers means added financial costs for licensing, and backing-up mail and calendar services. Using Google to combat any issues students, faculty and staff may encounter with their e-mail reduces the demands of manual labor to maintain the servers.

Based on the shortcomings of Zimbra, “there were discussions of migrating away from Zimbra last year or a couple of years ago and there was some research done based on the different platforms that are available,” Aktouf said. “But this year, starting in September, is when we sort of honed in on Gmail as a solution. It’s been many months in the making.”

Given most community members’ use of mobile devices to answer emails and see their calendars, Zimbra’s inability to foster those developments of technological advancement makes it somewhat obsolete.

By switching to Gmail, Aktouf said the school is “making sure people can access what they need and when they need it from any device.”

Transferring to Gmail is also in line with the use of Google Platforms, as Google Docs among other Google tools through the G Suite for Education package were adopted by the school in 2012. “We’re migrating our communications platform to G Suite as well just for the integration. It makes more sense,” Aktouf said.

G Suite for Education remains free for all educational institutions and students will not see any advertisements or receive spam emails via Gmail.

The move will commence on July 1, whereupon the domain will lead students to the Gmail interface, not the Zimbra one. With the transition, all inboxes and folders on Zimbra will transfer to Gmail.

Aktouf and the Technology department already started shifting inboxes to the Gmail application and will continue to do so throughout the summer.

Written by Lead News Editor Sourna Daneshvar Jr.


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