Seems like people have bought into "Cloud Computing" as the most recent 3-day fad term... UAA has been wrestling with internal cost-benefit analyses of our options for student email service which include at least one outsource option. We dismissed mail outsourcing for UAA faculty and staff last year for a number of technical and business reasons. However, our primary concern was that privacy and security would be a problem given our discussions with potential vendors (Microsoft and Google).
Information Week Analytics just published a survey of the top cloud computing concerns. The top three concerns were "Security defects in the technology itself" (54%), "Unauthorized access to or leak of proprietary information" (51%), and "Unauthorized access or leak of customer's information" (49%). Percentages represent the portion of total respondents who considered these concerns #1, #2 or #3. These concerns pretty much align with those that we had when considering faculty/staff mail outsourcing last year.
Consideration of these concerns in a student mail outsource remains but is offset by strong student sentiment that Gmail is an acceptable platform and the fact that our own internal survey at UAA showed that many students already used Gmail. We'll continue to monitor these concerns with Google as we move toward a fall Gmail deployment for UAA's students.