Information for Employees
Virginia Tech has temporarily reactivated the Google Photos service until 8 a.m. March 5, 2024 ONLY for users that still have data remaining in Photos through their VT Google account to provide one final opportunity to delete this data. See the photos guidance page for more information.
Google/Microsoft storage and email changes for employees
Storage and email services for employees are changing. Google storage limits and email migration will be implemented in 2024. Microsoft storage changes will be coming in 2025. Read the information on this page to know what is changing and what you need to do.
Refer to the service changes timeline for important dates and deadlines.
- Employees will retain access to Google Workspace (Google Drive) storage and tools, including: Docs, Sheets, Slides, Forms, and Sites, as well as Google Groups.
- Each employee will have a minimum 5 GB storage allocation. Departments will have the ability to increase storage for employees, but may not reduce any employees' storage limit below this minimum.
- Department-set storage allocations will be implemented on March 15, 2024.
- Employees should focus on cleaning up storage in Google Photos and work internally with their departments to determine plans for Google Drive data. All content within the Photos app in their VT Google accounts must be removed before Jan. 16, 2024 to achieve 0 GB in the app. After this date, employees will not be able to access the app to delete data. Any remaining data will count against their storage allocation and could cause an increase in storage costs for the department.
- Employees will retain access to Microsoft 365 products and services.
- The main change is that storage limits will be implemented in 2025. This includes:
- Up to 25 GB of baseline storage allocated for use within the Microsoft 365 online environment (including OneDrive and Exchange Online).
- Departments will have the ability to increase storage for employees, but may not reduce any employees' storage limit below the baseline.
- Departments will determine their storage allocation plans for Microsoft 365; a detailed schedule will be shared when available.
- In the future (date to be determined), employees will need to obtain departmental approval to create new SharePoint Online and Teams sites.
Google Shared Drives
- Departments will manage Google Shared Drive storage.
- Departmental approval is required to create new Shared Drives.
- Departments must sponsor Google Shared Drives by ensuring that at least one departmental employee has the Manager role on each shared drive.
- Employees may indicate what to do with any Google Shared Drives for which they are a Manager. To view your roles and storage totals in shared drives:
- Log in to the MyCAT Tool. Scroll down and open the "Google" tab, and then open the "Shared Drives" tab.
- If you are listed as a "Manager" and you want to keep that shared drive, click the "Recommend" button choose the appropriate course of action.
- Departments will determine how much storage to allocate towards shared drives, and implement their plans on March 15, 2024.
Microsoft SharePoint and Teams
- In the future, departments will also manage storage for Microsoft's shared storage resources, SharePoint Online and Teams.
- Dates for these changes to Microsoft shared storage are to be determined, and will be shared when available.
- The Google Photos app was turned off on Jan. 16, 2024. This means you can no longer access the app through your VT Google account.
- You can still export/download photos out of the app using Google Takeout. However, the storage left in the app will continue to count against your Google storage allocation, and could cause an increase in storage costs for your department.
- Employees should discuss storage needs for university photos with their departments.
More about this change, and how to prepare, are in the Google Photos export and relocation guide.
- All employees will move to Microsoft Exchange Online for email and calendars.
- New employees: beginning Sept. 25, 2023, onboarding employees who have not had a Virginia Tech account in the past will receive an Exchange Online mailbox (and not a Gmail inbox).
- Existing employees: email and calendars will be consolidated to Exchange Online between Jan. 15 and March 1, 2024. A detailed schedule is available here.
- Virginia Tech will migrate employees' data from Gmail and Google Calendar to Exchange Online; however, employees who are already using Exchange Online may decline migration support.
- Once migration is complete, employees will no longer have access to Gmail or Google Calendar.
- Read this campus notice for more information about upcoming email migrations.
Employees should take the following actions to prepare:
- Check your Google storage totals. Be aware of the amount of storage you are using in Google.
- Work with your department to determine if any cleanup is required for your Google Drive. Storage plans will be decided by your department and new storage limits for Google Drive and Shared Drives will begin on March 15, 2024. Your department will communicate if any specific cleanup actions are required. Please keep university retention policy requirements in mind if you do decide to remove data.
- Transfer any personal files to a personal account.
- Recommend a course of action for Google Shared Drives for which you are a Manager, and contact your OU administrator to confirm which of your Shared Drives will remain active. You can view your roles and storage totals in shared drives by logging into the MyCAT tool.
Information for instructors
Courses using Google Workspace
For both employees and students, Google Workspace will remain available for assignments that rely on My Drive, Docs, Sheets, Forms, Slides, Sites, or Groups. Keep in mind that students will have a 5 GB storage limit that goes into effect on Jan. 16, 2024. Because of this, a small percentage of students may temporarily have their Google access in a read-only status until they can bring their Google storage total under that limit.
Files you share with students will not be counted towards their storage totals unless they save a new copy of the file. Even if a student is in a read-only status for the rest of their Google Account, they will still be able to add to or edit a file shared with them. The percentage of students in a read-only status in Google should be under 10% by the time the spring 2024 semester begins. 4Help can assist students who need to reduce their Google storage in order to regain full access to their Google tools.
To help students manage their storage space, we recommend considering the anticipated file size for assignments that students will complete or submit using Google Workspace apps. If the file size of a completed assignment is expected to be large, directing students to upload to My Media, use their M365 apps, or complete the assignment through Canvas may be preferable to using Google My Drive. The Google Assignments LTI 1.3 tool will remain available within all Canvas course sites.
- To help students submit video assignments, see: https://4help.vt.edu/sp?id=kb_article&sysparm_article=KB0013693
- To set up video assignments in Canvas, see: https://4help.vt.edu/sp?id=kb_article&sysparm_article=KB0013381
- 4Help provides guidance for migrating files out of Google Drive. See: https://4help.vt.edu/sp?id=kb_article&sysparm_article=KB0012653
- For more information about how students are affected by the Google changes, see: https://it.vt.edu/projects/license-changes/students.html