You’ve probably heard of “The Cloud” before, from Apple, Amazon, and other companies that host content online. But you may not have known that an increasing number of higher ed institutions are transitioning to cloud services. In fact, puts the number of schools that are either using or strongly considering using cloud services at 89%.
But what is the cloud and why is everyone getting on board? In the university setting, cloud services can take the form of outsourcing data storage, using computing power on virtual servers, licensing white-label platforms, or hosting applications virtually.
Ok, we know that sounds a little bit like geek speak. To put those options into real terms, we’ve made a list of ways cloud computing can be beneficial to your higher ed institution.
1. Get rid of antiquated and slow systems.
The cloud is the newest way to host information online, so you’ll be dealing with the most up-to-date system for your data. Most cloud technology takes upgrades off your hands, and gives you the option of storing multiple copies of data (this is called “redundancy”) so that nothing is ever lost.
2. Increase uptime with redundancy and outsourced maintenance.
For students and staff who rely on cloud technology for work, school, and play, extremely close to 100% uptime is a must—we’re talking at least 99.9%. This isn’t always possible in a traditional IT infrastructure. With the cloud, though, consistent uptime is guaranteed because of redundancy and outsourced maintenance. If there’s a problem, your provider should catch it and ideally fix it while your services are still running.
3. Reduce internal IT staff needs by drawing on the expertise of the cloud company.
Especially when you’re evaluating whether to build an application in-house or outsource it, consider the full life cycle of the application. Building the application is one thing, but after it’s live, you want your IT department to be able to do what it does best—IT. Using a pre-built, customizable cloud solution allows you to keep your IT staff dedicated to their existing jobs and removes the need to hire additional staff for maintenance and customer service, as your cloud host will likely provide that for you.
4. Get a quick and easy upgrade with technology that’s ready for you when you need it.
Let’s take Localist for an example. You want a calendar application? Normally it would take a large amount of time and resources for your IT department to develop and launch your school’s own calendar. With cloud computing and services like Localist, you can launch much faster. Because this technology is essentially ready to go except for your school’s customizations, you can upgrade and add applications quickly and without hassle.
5. Go mobile without immobilizing your IT department.
Many cloud applications go beyond working on traditional computers—they’ve got prebuilt mobile functionality. Whether you’re hoping to streamline internal operations or provide a service to your students, building technology that works well on mobile devices adds a whole new level to any project. Cloud computing can allow you to access data on the go without sinking resources into developing apps of your own.
6. Access the best of today’s technology.
It doesn’t matter how small or large your school or IT department—with cloud services, you have access to large scale, standardized, and reliable technology. The cloud can be a great way to build and improve your offerings and applications without wondering who’s going to build it for you, when it’s going to get done, and what happens if you need help.
7. Reduce IT costs and hardware.
Using cloud computing means you don’t have to make huge investments in servers or staff. Your cloud service provider maintains infrastructure, so your IT department doesn’t have to worry about massive restructuring each time you want to add more capacity to your school’s online offerings.
8. Stop worrying about tough IT recruiting.
Top technical talent can be hard to find. Another benefit of using the cloud is that when you do need to upgrade and expand, you won’t have to staff a bunch of new positions in order for the department to stay afloat. Instead, the staff at your cloud provider will have you covered.