Office 365

Benefits and Limitations

The following benefits will be realized by the University in adopting the hybrid Office 365 Exchange solution as the standard:

• Reduction in overall staff hours required to support the e-mail system, increasing resource availability for other projects
• Reduction in storage requirements to support on-premise e-mail system
• Reduction in server hardware requirements to support on-premise e-mail system
• Increased level of availability for Office 365 with a Microsoft SLA of 99.9%
• Ability to have Office 365 accounts with "legal hold" capability
• The ability to increase the default mailbox size to 50 GB for all Office 365 users, without purchasing additional storage
• The ability to use the rich web application (OWA) in a wider variety of browsers.  IE 7+, Safari 3+, Firefox, and Chrome are supported
• The ability to continue to host mailboxes locally, for situations where the hosted solution is not acceptable

Limitations with Office 365 Exchange:

As with any hosted system, there are some configuration items that have been standardized, and cannot be customized.  Some of the major issues of the Office 365 Exchange solution, as compared to the premises-bases Exchange system are:

• Office 365 sets a message size limit of 25 MB*.  This is considered an industry standard, but it is not one that USF has previously enforced.  Options for faculty or staff needing to send or receive items larger than 25 MB include the use of alternative technologies, such web based solutions, network file shares, SharePoint sites, or Office 365 OneDrive, depending on the needs of the user or their department.  We also have the ability to establish a shared mailbox that is retained on-premise, if absolutely necessary.

• Office 365 also has limits on the number of recipients that can be sent email in a 24-hour period, which is 10,000 addresses in the To, Cc, and Bcc fields of all messages sent in that 24-hour period.  Each message may be sent to a maximum of 500 recipients.  Distribution lists count as 1 recipient, and can be easily used as a work around to this limitation.  Other options would include the use of a listserv, or using a shared mailbox that is housed on-premise to send bulk/mass emails.
For more information on Bulk E-mail, please see Microsoft's Outlook 365 help site.

• Deleted Items are kept for a maximum of 30 days in the Deleted Item folder; this is not a change from our current policy. Deleted Item recovery is set to 14 days in Office 365, as opposed to our current local setting of 30 days. Once an item is deleted, and the recovery period has expired, there is no way to retrieve that item. A fee-based license is available that would provide the ability to retain deleted items indefinitely, using the "legal hold" feature.

• Public folders are supported now in Office 365, however they are not visible using the Outlook Web Access (OWA).

*When sending email using the web application, Outlook Web Access (OWA), the message size limit is 10 MB.

Additional resources:

Info on Message and Recipient Limits

Office 365 Training and Information (download required)