FAQ

Your TAC CIRA email services are becoming more secure! We're transitioning to Microsoft Office 365, and you can expect greater security, flexibility and additional features, including security best practice multifactor authentication. TAC CIRA will phase out the current Rackspace email platform, and customers will need to migrate to the new Microsoft Office 365 email service through TAC CIRA, or obtain their own service provider, by Dec. 31, 2021. Browse some frequently asked questions below, and learn more about the available plans. TAC CIRA can prepare a cost estimate for your county – contact us for more information or to schedule your migration.

Email Transition & Migration

Why is my county being asked to transition to a new email service?

TAC CIRA is taking proactive steps to ensure the utmost security for its members' data. TAC CIRA is transitioning to Microsoft Office 365, and customers will need to migrate to the new platform or obtain their own provider by Dec. 31, 2021. While counties will see a price increase with this new email platform, Microsoft Office email provides robust and customizable security. It provides an additional layer of cyber defense that could help your county avoid a costly and public trust-damaging data breach.

What do we get out of the management fee?

The 30% management fee applied each month to your license and add-on feature pricing supports ongoing, comprehensive hands-on support and license administration for your county. It also covers the cost of your email migration from the standard Rackspace email platform to Microsoft Office. TAC CIRA supports you before, during and after migration.  We've now separated this cost from the software license fee to transparently reflect the value you’ve come to expect from TAC CIRA.

How is security increased on the Microsoft Office platform?

Microsoft Office 365 offers granular and customizable email security settings, allowing for password expiration policies and more targeted blocking of malicious links and attachments. Multifactor authentication, enforced on all Microsoft Office email accounts, protects mailboxes against unauthorized access. Users must verify their identities through a second authentication method upon logging in, preventing bad actors from gaining access to users' email accounts.

Will the amount of SPAM we receive decrease on the Microsoft Office platform?

Yes. You can blacklist unwanted email addresses, domains, and IP addresses, and administrators have the ability to block emails that originate in certain foreign countries as needed. They also can set a threshold that helps Microsoft recognize unwanted bulk emails as SPAM, and then block or place them in quarantine until released by an administrator. TAC CIRA will configure these settings, along with others, on the Microsoft Office platform to increase SPAM protection.

What if my county wants to transition to a new email provider?

Your county is responsible for ensuring its email accounts are transferred to the new provider successfully. Submit a TAC CIRA Service Cancellation Form to the Email Transition Team after the transfer and the old email accounts will be deleted. The transition of your email accounts to another provider should be facilitated by your county through your new email provider, but TAC CIRA will provide any necessary information needed.

Will our email be down during the migration?

No. Users will have access to their email and will not notice that the migration is taking place. TAC CIRA will communicate throughout the process so users know when and how to access their new accounts online, as well as how to set up their email within the Outlook mail client on their desktops if they wish.

Will our email be down during the migration?

No. Users will have access to their email and will not notice that the migration is taking place. TAC CIRA will communicate throughout the process so users know when and how to access their new accounts online, as well as how to set up their email within the Outlook mail client on their desktops if they wish.

How long will the email migration take to complete?

The amount of time it takes to complete your county's email migration is dependent upon a number of factors related to the configuration of your systems, the number of email accounts, etc.

Can some of our users migrate first and then another group migrate later?

No. A migration to Microsoft Office 365 is a domain-level migration, so all users must be migrated at the same time in one pass.

Where is the physical location of the servers that our email records and data will be stored?

All TAC CIRA-hosted Microsoft Office email records and data are stored on Microsoft's servers located in the United States, as opposed to overseas.


Software Licensing

How do I choose an email plan for my county?

With TAC CIRA's Microsoft Office email, you can pick and choose which license and add-on features to apply to each user based on his or her individual needs. When considering which email plan is most suitable for you and your county's users, start by considering what your users already have and what more they would benefit from having. For example, avoid licenses that include an installed version of the Office Suite applications if certain users already have a license or subscription. Or, if your users need to be able to share documents and don’t currently have a solution, you could gravitate toward a plan that includes collaboration tools. The TAC CIRA team is happy to provide a cost estimate for your county and answer any questions you have that may help you determine the needs for your county. Contact us at support@county.org or (800) 456-5974.

What if my county selects an email plan but later decides that another plan is more suitable?

No problem. TAC CIRA will gladly change the types of licenses assigned to your county’s users, per your direction. Just submit an updated Services Agreement with the changes indicated and it will be a quick and simple change.

Most of my county's employees only need a mailbox to send and receive emails, and they don’t need any extra features. Which email plan should we select?

For those users, TAC CIRA recommends Office 365 Exchange Online Plan 1. This email plan includes only an efficient means to send and receive emails, and it comes with the same advanced security and SPAM protection as the other email plans.

What can users do with the collaboration and productivity tools included in certain email plans?

Effective collaboration and communication can increase productivity, decrease turnaround times and enhance the employee experience. Engage in one-on-one or small group chats using Teams. Use SharePoint to work in documents and spreadsheets simultaneously alongside coworkers. Pose a question or make an announcement to county staff using Yammer. Protect against county security compromises by using OneDrive to securely save files and documents, sync them across multiple devices, and share them with authorized viewers.

Is my county required by law to archive emails through the Rackspace 365 Archiving add-on feature?

While there isn't a blanket mandate requiring all counties to archive email accounts, if your county receives an open records request and is unable to comply due to a message being deleted, it could result in a Class B misdemeanor charge. Archiving is a domain-wide feature, meaning it must be enabled for all or none of your users. TAC CIRA recommends that each county consult with its County Attorney on whether email archiving should be implemented. Counties may reach out to the TAC Legal Helpline at (888) 275-8224 for further advisement.


Support

What kind of support can we expect from TAC CIRA?

The TAC CIRA Support Team will continue supporting the counties' users while they are on the webmail and Hosted Exchange email platform prior to being migrated. The Email Transition Team will support your users throughout the migration and can be reached at 365secure@county.org or (512) 615-8915.

Following your county's migration, support will then be redirected back to TAC CIRA Support. The TAC CIRA Support Team can be reached via email at support@county.org or (800) 456-5974.

Will someone in my county or our outsourced IT support have access to manage our users’ accounts?

Yes, TAC CIRA will give administrator access to county personnel and IT technicians if permission is granted by an authorized county official. County IT administrators can manage the county's user list and the settings configured for the entire domain. This is not required, as TAC CIRA performs email-related requests and manages security configurations for each county. Please designate your county’s email administrators, whether county employees or IT contractors, in the Services Agreement.

Who should I reach out to with questions about the email transition?

TAC CIRA's Email Transition Team is happy to answer any questions you have regarding the email transition and email migrations. They can be reached via email at 365secure@county.org, or at their direct phone line (512) 615-8915.