Everything you need to know about email changes

By now, you’ve hopefully heard of a major change taking place to the way Augusta University manages old email messages.

If you will need access to older emails during the expected one-to-six month transition period when they will unavailable to you, use one of the methods below to make copies of them:

  • Alternatively, you can save individual emails to PDF (instructions)

These methods are also discussed in WebEx sessions to be conducted this week. Visit augusta.edu/its/emailarchive to join:

  • Thursday, March 7 2:30 – 3:15 p.m.
  • Friday, March 8 11:30 a.m. – 12:15 p.m.
  • Friday, March 8 2:15 – 3:00 p.m.
  • Friday, March 8 3:30 – 4:15 p.m.
Background

“Cybersecurity attacks are becoming more frequent, sophisticated and severe, not only on our systems but everyone’s,” said Michael Casdorph, vice president of Information Technology and the university’s chief information officer. “While we’re continuously putting new security protections into place, it’s time for a widespread culture change that will affect the way we manage information.”

Starting Monday, millions of emails older than 180 days will be unavailable for one to six months as they are migrated to a secure email archiving platform called Mimecast, Casdorph said.

The project began in September 2018 as part of a multi-pronged approach to strengthen the university’s cybersecurity posture, and in particular, to protect nearly a decade of legacy emails and the data contained within those emails from potential phishing attacks, he said.

“Phishing attacks are common. It’s not a question of if hackers will get in, but when,” Casdorph said. “This change limits the damage someone can do when they access one of our student’s or employee’s email accounts.”

Just last month, the Federal Bureau of Investigation released a nationwide advisory to warn that cybercriminals are successfully targeting college students in complex scams to access personal information, including bank accounts used to deposit financial aid. Phishing attacks like these rely on users to inadvertently give hackers access to their accounts, where they can access sensitive information and spread attacks to others.

While the process has taken much longer than originally anticipated, securing emails older than 180 days is a crucial step that will allow the university to better protect student and patient data, Casdorph said.

At Augusta University, email use policies require that all that all emails older than 180 days be archived. The university will begin enforcing the policy on March 11. In the long-term, anyone with an “augusta.edu” email address will be able to log into an online portal while on the Augusta University network and search through their older emails. In the short-term, the policy enforcement means older emails will be temporarily unavailable as they’re migrated to the archive. The period of downtime could be as short as one month for some users but as long as four to six months for others.

How you can prepare

Before March 11, anyone with an “augusta.edu” email address should take steps to prepare for the transition, said Gretchen B. Caughman, executive vice president for academic affairs and provost.

“While we anticipate concerns and understand this process will be undoubtedly inconvenient for many, it’s imperative we do the right thing to protect the individuals — our students, employees, patients and community members — who have trusted us with their information,” she said.

This, week all email users should create a backup of any emails they plan to reference over the coming weeks and months. Tutorials and training are available at augusta.edu/its/emailarchive.

Additional WebEx trainings will be available for anyone who needs help saving emails. Sign up at augusta.edu/its/emailarchive. The IT Help Desk is also available to answer questions on this process at 706-721-4000.

Learn more

Answers to frequently asked questions about the migration process are available online. Continue to check this site for updates on the process and creation of a new, safer email archive.

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