Understanding Virginia Tech Google Workspace for Education's Security and Privacy Measures


This article will explain:



In pairing with Google to offer Virginia Tech Google Workspace for Education, the security and privacy of user information and data is a top priority. Google's How Google protects your organization's security and privacy page answers several frequently asked questions about security and privacy of data. Additionally, this page addresses questions and issues specific to how Virginia Tech Google Workspace for Education data is handled in accordance with Virginia Tech's collaborative arrangement with Google.

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Ownership of Virginia Tech Google Workspace for Education Data

Google does not "own" data within our Virginia Tech Google Workspace for Education domain; Google specifically disavows any ownership of end-user intellectual property. As the data owner, you grant Google the right to process data as needed to show it to individuals based on the permissions you set. Should the agreement with Google ever be terminated, Google is obligated to delete and/or return any end-user data to Virginia Tech.

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Usage of Virginia Tech Google Workspace for Education Data

Google does not mine Virginia Tech Google Workspace for Education data for their own purposes. Per the terms of our agreement, Google may only process or otherwise use Virginia Tech account data as required for the purpose of providing services and performing its obligations under the agreement. This includes processes for preventing spam and ensuring the technical functioning of Google's network (such as detecting, preventing, or otherwise addressing fraud, security, or technical issues).

Additionally, our agreement specifically prohibits advertising within the Virginia Tech domain. The university is neither selling data nor profiting from this arrangement.

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Storage of Virginia Tech Google Workspace for Education Data

In general, you may keep university files on Virginia Tech Google Workspace for Education with the privacy, confidentiality, and ownership of the files protected. In negotiating a contract with Google, Virginia Tech ensured that Virginia Tech Google Workspace for Education would be acceptable for storage of university files.

Google stores data on its secure servers, which could be located outside the U.S. or within the U.S. and accessible to foreign nationals. For this reason, Virginia Tech has policies in place that users working with export-controlled data must not store such data in their email or house this data outside the U.S. to be managed by non-U.S. citizens. Their use of other Google Workspace applications must be in accordance with the Proper Use Policy and the Export Controls Laws and Regulations policy. If you have questions about Export Controls and how they apply to you or your data, see the Office of Export and Secure Research Compliance Web page.

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Regulated Data in Virginia Tech Google Workspace for Education

In addition to special consideration for export-controlled data, certain types of regulated data may need to be handled differently in regard to Virginia Tech Google Workspace for Education applications. In order to educate yourself on what types of data can be stored within Google applications, please see the article, Google Workspace for Education.

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) is a federal law that protects the privacy of student education records. Data protected with this law is subject to access by school officials who have a legitimate educational interest as well as by other identified officials, as defined and identified by the university’s FERPA privacy regulation.

To the extent that Google has access to student educational records as a contractor for the university, it is deemed a “school official,” as defined by FERPA, under the Virginia Tech Google Workspace for Education agreement and will comply with its obligations under FERPA. Personally identifiable student data should never be made publicly accessible without the student’s signed, written consent.

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Terms of Service and Google Workspace Core Services

The Virginia Tech Google Workspace for Education contract may be amended from time to time. 

To view the Google Workspace Core Services that are currently available, see the Google Workspace - Services Summary page.

To view other Google applications that are not part of the Google Workspace Core Services, see Google's Additional Google Services Web page. (Use of any of these services will require accepting the Google Terms of Service.)

To view an explanation of the difference between Google Workspace Core Services and other applications that are not Core Services, see the Google Workspace for Education Core and Additional Services page.

By using the Virginia Tech contracted Google Workspace Core Services, you agree to abide by the End User terms of the Virginia Tech Google Workspace for Education Agreement. The following are some parts of Virginia Tech's contract with Google that specifically apply to you:

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More Information

For more information about Virginia Tech's policies and recommendations with regard to security and using cloud or Web-based services, visit the Virginia Tech IT Security Office Web site.

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