November 4, 2013 by Minerva Baumann, NMSU News Center
Everything is easier to access in the cloud. New Mexico State University Interim Chief Information Officer Norma Grijalva says that’s one reason behind the latest set of upgrades for NMSU’s email system.
“It’s made access to email faster,” Grijalva said. “All authentications are now internal to NMSU. Now we ask and answer in the first step and then it goes directly to the Microsoft site. It’s all in the cloud.”
The first phase of the university’s email upgrade, completed over the summer, required complex work on the internal authentication systems. Grijalva said most users probably wouldn’t have noticed any difference until the second phase of the upgrade rolled out in the fall semester.
“The upgrade includes Skydrive, a file hosting service that allows users to upload their files to be stored in the cloud and accessed from different kinds of devices,” Grijalva said. “Students don’t have to buy the office suite of software.
“A big reason we selected the Microsoft product is because it came with these applications that provide our students the tools for discovery beyond the classroom. They can write their papers, do their PowerPoints and share it all with each other in the cloud. We think it’s a good productivity tool.”
Grijalva is satisfied that students and faculty are doing well with the new system. The next feature soon to be available from the upgrade will be “lync,” which provides video conferencing to allow students in different locations to work together.
The best part about it for Grijalva is the cost.
“Zero dollars. Zero for the storage servers, zero for the services, zero for the software. We still have to pay our administrators, but it’s very cost-effective.”
Grijalva is proud that her team is already working on the next technology upgrade – a mobile application to allow students to register for classes, look up grades and access other information on their smart phones or tablets. The product is currently in beta testing and may roll out next spring.