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School of Population Health (SOPH) Digital Services Migration FAQ - Knowledgebase / Client Services / Communication & Collaboration - SOMTech (Technology Services) - VCU School of Medicine

School of Population Health (SOPH) Digital Services Migration FAQ

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) –

School of Population Health (SOPH) Digital Services Migration

What is the School of Population Health (SOPH) digital services migration?

Beginning August 21, 2023, as part of the transition to the SOPH, faculty and staff in the affected School of Medicine (SOM) departments will start transition to using Google-based digital services rather than Microsoft-based VCU Health System (VCUHS) digital services.

Exceptions may be approved by the department administrator to maintain VCUHS credentials based on a fundamental need to access Epic or other VCUHS resources, but those will be addressed by the department administrator on a case-by-case basis.

Why are these accounts being migrated?

VCUHS has been systematically shutting down email accounts that have no active employment, business, or research related work with VCUHS systems.  VCUHS worked with Legal and Compliance and that individuals who are not active representatives of VCUHS should not have access to VCUHS platforms or data.

As the faculty and staff transitioning to SOPH does not need direct access to VCUHS systems to perform their essential job functions, the decision was made for SOPH to adopt a digital services model in line with other schools at VCU which do not regularly engage with VCUHS systems.

What if I have an active role or special project with the department where I need access to VCUHS?

The department administrator must ensure that the Workday profile for each faculty and staff member accurately reflects their job function. If a faculty or staff member has no active work, special collaborative projects or other assignments involving VCUHS applications or data, then their VCUHS account will need to be migrated and deactivated.

What is the expected impact?

After each person has completed their initial migration to Google Workspace, their VCUHS account will be and the following digital services will no longer be accessible:

·       Email addresses ending in (Outlook and web-based access)

·       Microsoft Teams

·       Microsoft OneDrive

·       VCUHS Zoom accounts registered under a email address

·       VCUHS Intranet and Workday portals

·       Any other digital service that requires VCUHS credentials to login (Citrix applications, Epic, etc.)

VCUHS has agreed to set up forwarding to each affected person’s corresponding email address for emails sent to the deactivated address.  An email will be sent every six (6) months that will require a response confirming that forwarding should continue.  If no response is received, the account will be assumed to be inactive and forwarding will be turned off at that time.

What account will I use going forward?

Your existing (Google) account will be used along with your existing eID and password to access all VCU related services.  You will not have active VCUHS credentials after your migration is completed.

What services will I be using instead of the VCUHS services?

VCU provides Google-based services that are similar to those provided on the VCUHS system:

·       Microsoft Outlook -> Google Gmail

·       Microsoft Teams -> Google Chat

·       Microsoft Outlook Calendar -> Google Calendar

·       Microsoft OneDrive -> Google Drive

· Zoom account -> Zoom account

Most of these Google services will be accessed through a web browser like Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, or Microsoft Edge; however, there are notification options while the web browser is open that can help alert you to new messages, emails, and calendar events in a similar fashion to Outlook and Teams notifications.

Before you complete your migration, we recommend that you start to familiarize yourself with these new services and customize them to your personal preferences. We also recommend that you update your email address in your signature, journal subscriptions/websites, ongoing calendar invitations, and other such systems to minimize the chance of missed notifications or interruptions to your normal workflow.

When will my VCUHS account be deactivated?

SOMTech will communicate with VCUHS to deactivate an account once migration has been completed for that account; however, any accounts that are not migrated once a reasonable amount of time has passed may be subject to deactivation regardless of migration status.  As such, we encourage you to complete this process as soon as you are able to beginning Monday, August 21, 2023.

Can I continue to use Outlook with my VCU Gmail account?

VCU recommends and supports accessing Gmail and other Google services through a web browser such as Google Chrome, Microsoft Edge, or Mozilla Firefox.

Outlook and other third-party email/calendar management applications can have issues reliably connecting to or syncing data with VCU’s Google Workspace accounts, leading to negative workflow impacts that are best avoided by using the web browser interface instead.

Where should I transfer my OneDrive files to?

Both Google Drive and the VCU network drives (T: drive for shared files, U: drive for personal storage) are great options for migrating your files off of the VCUHS OneDrive service.  They are both secure, cloud/network storage options that can be accessed from any web browser or VCU computer while taking advantage of automatic backups and other data protection options.

Backing files up to external hard drives is generally discouraged due to the risk of data loss or theft associated with small, portable storage media and the availability of cloud-based options like Google Drive and the network drives.

If you have specific questions or need assistance with getting your file transfers started, please submit a ticket through Cherwell ( by clicking on School/Unit Support then School of Medicine then SOM Client Services then Request Service and a SOMTech team member will reach out to you.

How much storage space is included in Google Drive?

Each VCU account is allotted 1 terabyte (1TB) of storage space in Google Drive, which is currently the same allotment as VCUHS OneDrive.

How do I transfer my emails, contact list, and calendar events from Outlook?

You will need to create a backup file of all Outlook items (emails, contacts, and calendar events) for your account using the Outlook desktop application.  This backup file will be generated in Outlook’s PST format and saved locally on your computer or a computer provided by School of Medicine Technology Services (SOMTech) staff.  You will need to sign into Outlook with your VCUHS email account, so make sure that you are currently signed in and have your current VCUHS password and VCUHS DUO authentication available if needed.

Migration of the items contained in your PST backup file to your VCU Google account will then need to be completed using the Google Workspace Migration for Microsoft Outlook (GWMMO) tool.  This tool requires each person to sign in with their VCU email address ( and VCU eID password, so you will need to have that information available as well to start the migration process.

Two separate guides are available to walk you through the process of creating a PST backup file then using the GWMMO tool for anyone that feels comfortable migrating their data themselves on their own schedule.  They can be accessed here:

Creating a Microsoft Outlook PST backup file:

Using the GWMMO Tool:

If you would prefer to have assistance, SOMTech staff will be available to complete the migration process on-site at One Capitol Square 6th floor.  We recommend that you bring your current laptop, as it speeds up the PST backup file creation process; however, SOMTech provided computers will also be available if needed.

Note:  Any user leaving VCUHS should be aware that emails Protected Health Information (PHI) or proprietary VCUHS information must not be migrated as it could lead to the accidental disclosure of sensitive information; however, items that are relevant to a user’s current work and/or projects are permitted.  When generating a PST backup file from a VCUHS account, users should ensure that it only includes permitted items.

How long will the migration take?

Each step of the migration process (PST backup creating and GWMMO tool migration) can take multiple hours to complete depending on the number of items, computer processing power, and your internet connection speed.

Starting each process only takes 5-10 minutes of active interaction, so there is no need to be present for the entire process.  You will not be able to use Outlook during the PST backup file generation process, but you will be able to use any other application on your computer while it is running.

If you plan on receiving assistance from SOMTech for your migration, please plan on coming to see us twice: once to start the PST backup file process then, once that’s complete, a second visit to start the GWMMO tool migration process.  Ideally, the second visit should happen as soon as possible after the PST backup file has finished processing to minimize the number of items that may be missed because they arrive during the downtime between the two steps of the migration process.

What will happen to generic/group email inboxes?

Any generic email inboxes, such as purchasing or research group accounts, will need to be backed up and migrated using the same process as individual accounts.  If you have not already done so, you will need to submit a request through Cherwell ( to have a VCU Gmail generic inbox created.

Once the new inbox is active, you will be able to complete the migration following the same steps outlined for personal accounts, either by yourself or with SOMTech assistance during the designated hours.

What happens after my migration is completed?

After the migration is completed, we encourage you to check your Gmail, Google Contacts, and Google Calendar to confirm that all items were processed successfully.

Once you have confirmed that everything migrated successfully, SOMTech will coordinate with VCUHS to deactivate your account and start forwarding emails to your account.

If you completed the migration yourself, please email to let us know that you have verified everything migrated successfully and are ready to have your account deactivated.

What happens to my Outlook folders?

Any Outlook folders that you created to organize your email will be transitioned to Gmail Labels and should maintain the same structure that you saw within Outlook.

When and where will I be able to get assistance with the migration?

SOMTech team members will be available on the following days and times to meet with you at One Capitol Square 6th Floor to assist with the migration process:

Week 1:  Monday through Friday, August 21-25, 9am to 4pm

Week 2:  Monday, Wednesday, Friday, August 28 &30, Sept 1, 10am to 3pm

Week 3 (if needed): Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Sept 4, 6, 8, 10am to 3pm

If possible, bring your laptop that you use Outlook on regularly.  SOMTech computers will be available as well, though it will require additional time and steps to complete your migration.

What is the overall timeline for completion?

Migrations will begin on Monday, August 21, 2023.  We anticipate that the process will continue over the course of the following weeks, allowing time for anyone that needs assistance to come in to One Capitol Square 6th floor for their migration.

SOMTech will work closely with VCUHS IT, VCU Technology Services, and SOM leadership to ensure a smooth technical transition including proactive communications sent to affected faculty and staff regarding this process.

Are there any other impacts of these changes I need to be aware of?

You will no longer need to complete the VCU Health System required training, use VCUHS DUO authentication, or update your VCUHS password.  You will also be able to remove the VCUHS Mobile Device Management (MDM) profile from any mobile device you were using to access VCUHS email or other services.

What do I need to do if I am retaining access to my VCUHS account?

If you are retaining access to your VCUHS account, nothing will change for you.  You will continue to have access to both VCU and VCUHS digital services, so you do not need to complete this migration process.

However, you may still find benefit in transitioning to primarily using VCU Google services such as Gmail, Google Chat, Google Calendar, and Google Drive to make collaborating with other parties in SOPH easier.

Will my account notify people of this migration?

Yes, once VCUHS has been informed that your migration is complete, they will set up an “Out of Office” notification for your email address to inform the sender to use your email address going forward.  They will also enable forwarding of all emails from your email address to your email address.

VCUHS has committed to the forwarding and out-of-office notifications remaining in place indefinitely, provided that you respond to a confirmation of activity email that will be sent roughly twice a year.

How do I access VCU Google apps on my smartphone?

Instructions for adding Google Workspace apps (Gmail, Google Calendar, Google Drive, etc.) can be found at

If you have a HIPAA Google account and access HIPAA or other sensitive data, you will also need to follow the instructions at the link below to install the Google Mobile Device Management (MDM) policy on your mobile device:

Note  Installing the Google MDM allows VCU to remotely manage your mobile device, up to and including remotely locking and/or wiping it.  This security measure is in place to minimize damage from potential data breaches and/or security vulnerabilities that may occur with or without your knowledge when accessing services that may have PHI or HIPAA protected data on a mobile device.

It is up to each individual to decide whether the benefits of being able to access VCU systems on their personal mobile device outweigh the potential downsides of installing the Google MDM.

If you decide to access VCU Google apps on your mobile device and it is lost or stolen, you should contact the VCU IT Support Center at (804) 828-2227 as soon as possible so that appropriate steps can be taken.

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