OSU student emails to shift from Gmail to Microsoft 365 in Summer 2023

Haley Stark, Reporter

Editor Note: Corrected on Thursday, December 8th at 4:45pm.

As part of Oregon State University’s Information and Technology’s October campaign for Cybersecurity Awareness Month, multiple signs were set up informing students about IT on campus. One such sign posted in the Learning Innovation Center caught students’ attention. 

The sign indicated that student emails would be moving from Gmail to Microsoft 365. Though OSU has not sent out any official announcement about the change, Executive Director of Technology and Solutions Architecture Amy McLauglin confirmed that the move would take place over the next summer and be fully implemented by the beginning of Fall Term.

Incoming students will automatically receive an Outlook email address and access to Microsoft 365 upon enrollment. 

Current students who will continue attending OSU in the next academic year will not be given a new address in order to migrate over to the new platform. They will still have access to everything in their old Google Drives, but new files will be stored in OneDrive.

For students taking summer classes, McLaughlin says the university will ensure that this change will occur at a time that does not interfere with their class schedules. 

While it may come as a surprise to students acclimated to Google’s services, the move to Microsoft 365 is meant to standardize the platforms used by everyone affiliated with OSU.

“One of the main reasons we’re changing is that actually OSU faculty and staff have already made this transition,”’ McLaughlin said. “They made this transition I believe about three or four years ago.”

According to McLaughlin, the move to Microsoft is a part of OSU IT’s overall goal to simplify IT across the university, providing everyone with one toolset instead of the overwhelming amount currently available. 

Chief Information Security Officer David McMorries believes that switching from Google Drive to Microsoft 365 will bring helpful new tools to students. He explained that Microsoft Teams will be integrated into Canvas, allowing for more effective communication within classes.

Another major reason for the move is combatting the rampant phishing attacks students have fallen victim to through Gmail.

“It’s very frustrating for me to see the effect on students with the phishes coming in,” McMorries said. “We have these very aggressive cybercriminals, that’s the only thing you can call them, who’re targeting students with fraudulent employment offers.” 

McMorries mentioned that a severe employment scam occurred in the last few weeks, ending with a student losing $2,500. He believes that Microsoft Outlook’s more robust security network will help prevent these types of cases in the future. 

As students continue to navigate Gmail throughout the school year, McMorries encourages them to be on the lookout for suspicious messages. Potential fraud and phishing attempts can be forwarded to the following account for review: [email protected]  

“If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is,” McMorries said.