UP Deploys Secure File Transfer for Faculty, Students

The University of Portland has rolled out South River technologies' GroupDrive to let its 3,200 students and faculty securely share and collaborate on files across the 'Net.

With the technology, students at the Catholic university can work as a team on class projects whether they are on or off campus. For instance, a professor studying European cathedrals can post large photos and research files to students at UP's College of Arts & Sciences back in Portland.

The system also provides for the creation of permissions sets for applications such as letting its 280 professors post assignments to specific GroupDrive files that are accessible only by a members of a specific class or a particular group of students.

Essentially, GroupDrive consists of three components:
  • A secure WebDAV server that lets users store and collaborate on files over SSL.
  • GroupDrive client software that gives users a "virtual drive" connection to let them open and save files to the server from any Windows app.
  • A Web interface to let users collaborate on and store GroupDrive files from any device with a Web browser.
"Across the University of Portland campus, we have seen an immediate acceptance of the technology," said Jenny Walsh, director, web services, University of Portland, in a prepared statement. "In only a short time GroupDrive has enhanced the collaborative efforts of students, faculty and staff to a level that was only hoped for before we went live with the product,"

Administrative departments are also using GroupDrive to improve efficiencies. For instance, UP's Marketing department and outside vendors originally had to exchange large, graphic-intensive project files on CD ROM via courier. Now it has eliminated that lag time when working with its contractors.

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About the Author

David Kopf is a freelance technology writer and marketing consultant, and can be reached at david@dkcopy.com.

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