The concept of ‘cloud’ has taken over how we operate personally. From backing up phones to accessing multimedia, cloud-based technology is all around us in our daily lives. For many of us, we trust the concept of the cloud even if we don’t totally grasp it. That same trust is being brought into the workplace. As more on-premises solutions, like Etrieve, are being made available through cloud-based deployment options, colleges, universities and school districts are looking at the potential for cloud to transform their IT infrastructure and the way their employees and students communicate and work.
As we began to gain traction with our announcement of Etrieve Cloud, I started to dig a little deeper into how the education industry specifically was responding to cloud technology. In a recent article in EdTech Magazine regarding higher education trends in 2017, cloud remains a primary investment for institutions this year, with 81% of IT leaders in the industry stating they will spend more on cloud technologies. And what’s driving this need? In reality, some of the same comforts we find in our personal use of cloud are also appealing from a professional perspective…security, cost and simplicity.
Security: With all the obvious players like Microsoft, Amazon, Google and IBM in the mix, institutions are finding that they trust the big guys to handle their data more than they trust themselves. And rightly so. Higher education actually accounts for 17% of all reported data breaches, second to the healthcare industry. Given the amount of personal data a university holds, it should not be startling that institutions would be a prime target. Schools and IT staff are recognizing that data security is of the utmost importance and cloud-based initiatives may be best to assist with this.
Price: The upfront cost of traditional on-prem technology deployments can be a significant investment and commitment. Cloud can help alleviate some of this by offering a more subscription-based model. Additionally, hardware, security and disaster recovery costs are cut significantly. Cloud implementations allow for fully-hosted solutions that require no server hardware, releases and roll-outs are automatically maintained and security is actually increased. Many are seeing that they are receiving more functional benefit at a more appealing price point.
Maintenance: Although technology has simplified version roll-outs and individual workstation maintenance over the years, it can still be cumbersome to ensure that your institution is on the latest version of every software application you run. This is especially the case with more institutions providing access to student and employee data from any device. Cloud is helping ease the IT burden by freeing up resources to work on more pressing needs while software implementations and maintenance are streamlined by the vendor.
While there are still some wary of the cloud approach, I would be willing to guess that we will see an increase in the deployments at colleges and universities, as well as K-12 school districts of all types and sizes over the next year or two. Quite possibly the nicest thing about cloud deployments is that they allow those who traditionally couldn’t afford the latest and greatest to now offer leading edge technology to their students and staff. We are looking forward to seeing that transition for many of our customers and can’t wait to see what the future holds for the industry and Etrieve Cloud.