Faculty and staff who wish to use commercial online cloud service providers, such as Dropbox or iCloud, should have a full understanding of related legal and data security issues before proceeding. Technology Services advises that faculty and staff store all work-related content using university-supported platforms (e.g. Google Drive or Canvas) with university-sponsored accounts and refrain from using any personally-owned accounts, including email.
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.” 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.
Data Maintenance Responsibilities
Technology Services is unable to assist faculty and staff using personally-created accounts on cloud services in the event of data loss or other issues (e.g. loss of username or password, compromised access). 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 important to use a strong passphrase and enable multi-factor authenticaiton where possible to prevent harm to your account, data, and devices.
Tools Offered by Technology Services
Technology Services offers Google Workspace as a collaboration platform. Canvas can be used pedagogically for academic work, content submission, and communication. Additionally, network shares exist for file storage and/or document sharing.