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FAQ - Migrating from SWITCHdrive to OneDrive

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Why is UNIL abandoning SWITCHdrive in favor of OneDrive?

The university already has a contract with Microsoft, allowing the UNIL community to use Teams, Microsoft 365 suite, and Outlook. This contract also grants the right to use OneDrive. In addition to offering the same features as SWITCHdrive, OneDrive facilitates easier collaboration when using Microsoft tools like Word or Teams.

The use of SWITCHdrive is also declining. The trend of the last 12 months indicates a -10% usage, while at the same time there is a 25% increase in OneDrive users. Ultimately, having two data synchronization services can create collaboration difficulties within the UNIL community.

Isn't Microsoft a company based in the United States? I thought UNIL-related data had to stay in Switzerland.

While Microsoft is indeed a U.S. company, the data you deposit on OneDrive at UNIL is stored on servers based in Switzerland (one in Geneva and another in Zurich for redundancy). This data is also encrypted and backed up, which is not the case with SWITCHdrive. For more information, you can find a comparison of OneDrive/SWITCHdrive in terms of data usage below.

  SWITCHdrive OneDrive
User Capacity 100 GB 1 TB
Collaborative Capacity Projects folders (on request, 100 GB – 1 TB) 1 TB per Teams team (independently)
Storage Location Switzerland Switzerland
Cloud Computing Yes Yes
Encryption No With a UNIL key
Backup No Yes
Long-Term Storage (research, archives...) No No

Can Microsoft access my data?

Microsoft has a master key that can decrypt the data. However, the contract UNIL has with them expressly states that any human access to UNIL data must be logged in an access journal, and this access must be requested through the Swiss legal system.

I have a SWITCHdrive folder shared with people outside UNIL; what will happen?

As of June 30, 2024, you will no longer be able to use SWITCHdrive. That's why we recommend identifying shared folders in our migration documentation.

If you are the administrator of a shared folder, you will need to migrate it to OneDrive or another data storage solution and reassign access rights to your external colleagues (see the procedure below).

Folders shared by colleagues external to UNIL (e.g., colleagues from the University of Geneva) will no longer be accessible by you. Therefore, the sharing must be recreated by one of these colleagues via a public link.

I am unsure about the nature of my research data (sensitive or not) and the service to use for storage; who can I contact for information?

Regarding research data in particular, you can get more information by contacting the Research Data Specialist (Data Steward) or the research engineer in your faculty.