This blog post was originally communicated via email to students, faculty and staff at Ryerson University. We encourage you to join the discussion in the comments section below.
Ryerson is conducting a consultation to inform recommendations on the future of the RMail system at the university. Over the next 10 days, subsequent messages and a survey invitation will be emailed directly to current RMail users and also posted on our Email & Collaboration Tools Consultation blog for discussion.
Everyone in the Ryerson community is welcome to share thoughts on this topic whether or not they are current users of RMail.
Why hold a consultation?
In November 2011, the Advisory Committee on Academic Computing (ACAC) recommended adopting Google Apps for Education—now called G Suite. Since then, 93 per cent of the Ryerson community have chosen to use Gmail at Ryerson instead of our older RMail system. At the time, ACAC recommended re-evaluating the use of RMail after two years:
“The RMail system is not expected to provide the capacity or quality of service of GMail. After two years Ryerson will re-examine the use of RMail as an opt-out option—especially to explore if there are better ways to mitigate any risks of using a provider in a foreign jurisdiction and to review the quality of service offered by RMail.”
Seven years on from ACAC’s recommendation, it’s now time to consider if Ryerson should shut down RMail and move entirely to Gmail.
Cybersecurity concerns with RMail
There are two important reasons to consider shutting down RMail at this time:
- Email-based attacks have become more sophisticated with greater implications for recipients. RMail is now significantly less secure than Gmail.
- The growing use of Gmail at Ryerson means almost every work-related email that was sent to or from an RMail account is now stored in someone’s Gmail account. Using RMail does not mean your email content is prevented from being stored in Gmail.
Ryerson’s safeguards from Google tracking
Ryerson’s agreement with Google has never permitted data mining or web and application tracking. As such, Google has never been (and is still not) able to track your Google services usage while you’re logged in to your Ryerson Google account.
What’s more, over the past seven years, Google has continuously made G Suite more secure. They now strongly encrypt all data at rest and in transit and have worked consistently to better protect Gmail accounts from phishing attacks. Google not only disabled ads in G Suite for Education but also shut down the scanning process that enabled ads.
Would you switch to Gmail? Have your say
In the next 10 days, we will post more information about the challenges of trying to secure RMail, the growing use of Gmail at Ryerson and how we might eventually migrate accounts from RMail to Gmail.
Please visit the Email & Collaboration Tools Consultation blog to share your thoughts on the idea. As part of this consultation, we plan to survey RMail users to make sure we understand any concerns they may have about moving to Gmail.
Please also feel free to write to me directly about this proposed change. ACAC will review the response from the Ryerson community before making a recommendation on the future of RMail.
Chief Information Officer