Katie Lepi| Edudemic

For 2013, cloud computing has become one of the most buzzed-about tech trends and solutions that improves IT and operational efficiency for businesses. Along with productivity programs, such as address software from QAS and project management from Apptivo, cloud computing services are a growing necessity for business organizations. From marketing strategies to technology-focused operations, the needs of educational institutions don’t differ too much from enterprises.

Although colleges and universities have been using “cloud-based” applications for years (e.g. email), the cloud computing trend is quickly evolving into a premium model for data storage and exchange. According to technology research company Gartner, more than 50 percent of Global 1000 companies are predicted to store confidential datain the public cloud by the end of 2016. The cloud is proving itself as being a techtrend that’s here to stay.

Higher educational institutions recognize that adopting the latest technologies and solutions is essential to staying competitive and retaining students. Cloud computing can actually help institutions reduce high expenditures on hardware, software and IT maintenance. Cloud computing provides businesses with a centralized, virtual data center that is accessible to faculty and admissions personnel, for example, at any time and any location.

The Cloud can Help Colleges and Universities:

  • Accommodate the rapid increase in mobile device dependency
  • Store expansive amounts of sensitive data and information that’s easily accessible
  • Stay current (e.g. provides students with digital campus storage for class notes, papers and projects)
  • Acquire and implement the latest software and application updates
  • Streamline enrollment and admissions processes that are costly and time-consuming
  • Turn to subscriptions that are scalable and provide options

Naturally, whether you’re a global enterprise or university, questions about security arise. What are the security threats? What are the vulnerabilities? Is integration safe? What are the legalities and policies for running educational operations on the cloud? Who is really in control of data?

When it comes to private student information and confidential university data, security challenges and concerns are inevitable; however, according to TechJournal’s infographic on schools and the cloud, cloud computing spending is expected to increase by more than 30 percent as of May 2011. Boston College, New York University and Maryland Institute College of Art are higher educational institutions leading the industry into cloud-based applications. The institutions rely on FolderWave, Google Apps and Fischer International Identity for admissions, financial aid, collaboration tools and system management.

Ed Tech Magazine and Cult of Mac surveyed colleges and found:

  • 6 percent maintain cloud-based technologies
  • 28 percent are implementing cloud computing
  • 29 percent are planning to adopt the cloud
  • 32 percent are discovering cloud computing

A Pew Internet/Elon University survey reports that of 1,021 participants, including Internet research experts and users, by 2020 higher education will strongly focus on tech-centric solutions and methodologies such as:

  • Teleconferencing
  • Distance learning
  • Hybrid classes (i.e. online and off-campus learning)

For 2013, cloud computing is a rapidly growing, yet evolving model that offers significant advantages, yet potential fallacies as well. It’s no debate, however, that cloud computing has positioned itself as a technology information deployment system that’s not going anywhere. From small businesses and major enterprises to elite universities and online colleges, cloud computing seems to be worth exploring.


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