As universities and colleges seek to find ways to cut costs, many are turning to Google for their free e-mail services. Google recently reported that as of September, “over five million students at thousands of schools in more than 145 countries” were using its suite of communication and collaboration applications known as Google Apps Education Edition. According to a posting on the Google blog, this number has increased 400% since the fall of 2008. Google recently launched a new website to show the schools how the products work which now shows that another million students have signed on for a current total of six million students.
An article from the Minneapolis – St. Paul Star Tribune discusses the transition to the Google services and the concern it has caused for many college administrators. Administrators are worried about how well sensitive information will be protected by an outside company but Google promises that the information is secure. According to Jaime Casap, a business development manager for Google Apps Education, “When somebody sends an e-mail out, it’s broke up into a gazillion pieces and spread across a bunch of different servers. Their data is absolutely secure.” Jerry Sanders, chief information officer at Macalester College pointed out that when there is a server room on campus “there’s an illusion of control. But there are so many ways through any given system. The question became, who can really protect this better: Google, with its army of engineers? Or us calling our guys in the middle of the night to hurry down?”