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Q&As About Cloud Solutions

Review these questions and answers to learn about University IT's cloud strategy and transition of the StanfordWho directory to the cloud.

About UIT’s Cloud Strategy

Why are cloud solutions essential to the university?

Cloud-sourced software products offer the best solutions and range of options available in the marketplace — with rapidly improving capabilities, use of advanced technologies, and robust hosting services.

It’s desirable for UIT to migrate applications and IT infrastructure to the cloud for numerous reasons, which are detailed on this UIT Cloud Transformation webpage, and summarized here:

  • Campus space is at a premium
  • Service improvements are continuous
  • Cloud computing resources can easily scale up and down, as necessary
  • Time to provision computing resources is expected to be quick
  • Earthquake danger is real and cloud services provide geo-diversity
What is UIT’s overall strategy with cloud providers?

UIT is continuously looking for smart ways to leverage innovative cloud solutions that can benefit the university.

In calendar year 2019, we will migrate UIT systems from our Livermore data center to the cloud, selecting scalable, cost-efficient, innovative, and resilient solutions which further enable the Stanford community. Once these migrations are complete, we will focus on systems in our on-campus data center, using the experience and expertise gained from the Livermore migrations.

While we acknowledge some critical systems will need to remain on campus, our priority is to achieve geodiversity using the cloud.

How does UIT currently leverage cloud providers?

UIT currently leverages cloud providers for robust solutions including Amazon Web Services, Microsoft 365, Salesforce, Google, ServiceNow, Zoom, Slack, and many others. These include infrastructure, platform and software-as-a-service solutions

What processes are in place to safeguard Stanford data that is shared with cloud providers?

Cloud providers are required to be at least as rigorous as Stanford is with regard to data privacy, and those expectations are always included in our contractual agreements with such providers.

Before any agreement is made, we carefully vet potential cloud vendors through a number of processes including security and data privacy reviews that vary in rigor depending on the risk classification of the data we plan to share.

Additionally, UIT partners closely with the university’s Privacy and Procurement Offices to consummate contracts related to sharing Stanford data with cloud providers.

More information about security policies related to cloud solutions can be found on the security page of the UIT Cloud Transformation website.

About the StanfordWho Transition

What changed?

StanfordWho, formally known as Stanford People and Organization Search, is the web application that allows you to search the Stanford directory of faculty, staff, students and sponsored affiliates at Stanford University and the Stanford hospitals to view contact and organization information.

Almost 20 years old, StanfordWho was built by Stanford’s then central IT business unit. It was introduced to the Stanford community as a robust web-based people and organization search application.

In July 2018, UIT began partnering with a cloud provider called Rimeto to create a more scalable, cost-efficient, secure and resilient underlying infrastructure for the university's directory solution. 

The change was announced in this UIT news article. With the change, the login-protected Stanford and Affiliates view was delivered using this new infrastructure, while the Public view continued to use the original interface.

In June 2019, UIT also moved the Public view to the new infrastructure to create a richer and more consistent user experience. The change was announced in this UIT news article

In December 2021, UIT moved StanfordWho to a new platform due to a required transition to a new vendor called Axero Solutions. The changed was announced in this UIT news article and details about the interface changes are described on StanfordWho service pages

Why is UIT making this change?

The StanfordWho directory transition to the cloud is part of UIT’s overall strategy to migrate most of its service portfolio to cloud-based products or cloud deployments. Learn more about UIT’s cloud strategy in the answer above.

What are the benefits of the new cloud solution?

UIT selected this solution to provide a more modern display and new features and functionality to what was a 20-year-old homegrown directory system.

Enhancements include:

  • Visibility into your role and department in the organization. You will see associated departments and staff roles for anyone you look up in the directory. 
  • The ability to search the Stanford directory by keyword topics. This allows you to search for Stanford colleagues by area of work or specialty.
  • Visible Stanford Profiles (Community Academic Profiles, or CAP) photos. For those who do not have a visible Stanford Profile photo, you will see a Stanford stock image.
  • Simpler searches across directories. You can begin a search for a colleague in the updated Public view and continue it in the Stanford and Affiliates view without re-entering the name.
  • Visual consistency. The design of the Public view looks like the restricted Stanford and Affiliates view, providing more visual consistency across StanfordWho.

Additional enhancements will be rolled out over time, including changes that the cloud provider may introduce.

What options do I have with my personal data?

The transition of StanfordWho to the cloud has not changed any of your options with your personal data. You continue to have the same options as you have in the past, including whether to list your personal data in the public or Stanford-only view.

You can edit your profile on your own profile page. Select “Edit your directory information” to go to StanfordYou where you can manage your privacy and visibility settings for your directory information. To verify or change your current visibility settings, from your profile page, select “Edit your directory information,” then select “Maintain your directory and AlertSU emergency contact information.” From the right sidebar, select your privacy and visibility preferences.

Note: StanfordYou is the application where you enter and change your own directory information. StanfordWho is the application that displays directory information to the public and/or Stanford community depending on each individual’s settings.

You now also have an option to include a photo on your profile page in StanfordWho. If you’d like your photo to appear in the directory, you can add your photo to Stanford Profiles (Community Academic Profiles, or CAP), and it will be pulled into your StanfordWho profile.

Learn more about the changes to the profile interface on the  Stanford and Affiliates view webpage or the Public view webpage. For help with how to maintain your directory information on StanfordYou, visit the StanfordYou Help page.