Information and advice on external (cloud based) communication & collaboration services

There are a significant number of free online tools and services available that staff find useful. In particular, services that allow convenient access to information or documentation on a number of devices over the 'cloud'.

cloud based servicesWhile the University provides a range of recommended and provided software (UoB only) we are aware that external tools, such as Dropbox, are used by staff. The purpose of this page is to provide sensible guidelines to apply when using such services. Where appropriate we may recommend a particular solution but this does not mean that other services may not be suitable, simply that the ones we have identified meet security concerns and compatibility with our systems.

Think Twice - Data and personal security

Use of these cloud service requires staff to be very conscious of the data they are storing off University systems. Staff are obliged to comply with the Information Security rules. Remember that you must not use your University password for non-University services.

Support

In most cases it will be very difficult for IT Services to assist with any problems related to software or a service that is not University provided. You will need to be responsible for managing that tool or service yourself.

Reviewed tools

UoB Microsoft services

The University has entered into a contract with Microsoft to provide a suite of applications under Microsoft Office 365. This provides access to Office applications online and the cloud storage service, OneDrive for Business. A thorough investigation of privacy and security issues took place as part of the agreement.

As part of the implementation of Microsoft 365 we have set up authentication so your University username and password will access Microsoft service. This means you will log into Microsoft services using your University username (e.g. ab1234@bristol.ac.uk) and password. You will typically login to Microsoft site via links from the University website or by visiting portal.office.com or login.microsoftonline.com.

UoB Google services

The University has entered into a contract with Google to provide a suite of applications that include Gmail, Google Calendar and Google Drive. A thorough investigation of privacy and security issues took place as part of the agreement.

Advice for using a short URL service

  • Only shorten URLs when absolutely necessary. It is better to provide the original URL.
  • If you need to promote a University web page to the public you can request a short 'www.bristol.ac.uk/XXX' URL from Communications and Marketing (web-editor@bristol.ac.uk)
  • Do not use an external short URL for pages that ask users to submit credentials or to go to Single Sign On.
  • If using an external short URL provider use one which provides a preview service so the user can see where the link leads in advance. Example providers include v.gd and TinyUrl (TinyUrl gives you a preview option by inserting 'preview' at the beginning of the URL, e.g. http://preview.tinyurl.com/XXXX). Both these services require confirmation before taking you to the page.