Using Cloud Service Providers

Faculty and staff who wish to use commercial online cloud service providers, such as Dropbox, iCloud, Google Drive, Amazon Cloud Drive, Sky Drive, or, should have a full understanding of related legal and data security issues before proceeding.  To learn more about using cloud services and/or social media in the classroom, please see the Related Pages section links. 

FERPA Requirements

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) governs student educational records, which are broadly defined by the University of Puget Sound as “any record maintained by the university which is directly related to a student.” According to the Office of Academic Advising’s tutorial on FERPA, “Almost any student-related piece of paper is part of the student’s educational record. Information displayed on a computer screen is also considered part of the student’s educational record.” Examples include but are not limited to:

  • Any form of communication that includes personal information about a student
  • Transcripts or any communication that includes grades (midterm or final)
  • Class Lists
  • Degree Progress Reports
  • Academic Sanction Records
  • Advising Information

To ensure compliance with FERPA, student-related files should NEVER be stored with a commercial cloud service.

For more information on the university's FERPA policy, please see the Know Educational Rights (FERPA) page or contact the Office of the Registrar.

Data Maintenance Responsibilities

Technology Services is unable to assist faculty and staff using cloud services in the event of data loss or other issues (e.g., loss of username or password, compromised access) associated with such an account. Users are personally responsible for backup of files stored with such services.

Many cloud services have the ability to locate and remotely wipe associated devices, including phones, tablets, and computers. It is very important to use a strong password to prevent harm to your account, your data, and your devices.

For more information, contact the Technology Service Desk at 253.879.8585 or