Educational institutions have made great strides in modernizing their campus operations since COVID. There has been a greater emphasis on improving the student experience through faster processing of paperwork, automation, and improving the digital connectivity of the campus as a whole. However, one area where educational institutions have fallen significantly behind is in leveraging the power of the cloud. The cloud can be a game changer for educational institutions, significantly improving their bottom line and freeing them up to focus more on their core missions.
According to a Gartner survey, by 2025, 95% of new digital workloads will be deployed on cloud-native platforms, up from 30% in 2021. Most of this is being driven by customer-facing segments like retail. The education market, though, is lagging in cloud adoption, with most institutions still relying on on-prem solutions. For the most part, the tendency to host their systems on premises is driven by a very risk-averse way of thinking. Having gotten used to systems that reside on-premises, IT departments might be reluctant to try solutions that are hosted elsewhere, touting the mindset of “If it isn’t broken, don’t fix it.”
Failure to take advantage of the cloud is rapidly becoming not just a tactical mistake but a strategic one. Institutions that have migrated to the cloud have seen cost savings of 20-25% over the duration of their subscription terms. Here are some ways in which an institution can benefit from using a cloud-based vendor for their campus operations:
More efficient use of resources: IT teams spend a lot of time and money on maintaining the hardware needed to support the systems used by the employees and students. In addition to the costs of buying the equipment in the first place, updates, upgrades, and repairs take up a lot of resources of the IT staff, resources that could be better used somewhere else. In contrast, a cloud-based vendor typically handles all the labor associated with maintaining the cloud infrastructure and is responsible for keeping the applications running and the data available at all times.
Improved data security: Data theft not only damages the reputation of the educational institution but also exposes the institution to liability for theft. Student and staff records contain priceless information that everyone would prefer to stay guarded. Properly designed cloud storage systems offer protection that rivals those of the best on-prem storage options and can ease the mind of CIOs.
Protection from ransomware attacks: Educational institutions are not immune to the recent spate of ransomware attacks. An NBC News investigation in 2021 found that ransomware groups had published sensitive personal data on American schoolchildren from more than 1,200 schools. The FBI recently reported that 57 percent of reported ransomware attacks last year involved K-12 organizations. These attacks can cripple an institution and shut down all work for days or even weeks. While no solution is completely safe from these attacks, cloud solutions offer significantly better protection and recovery options than their on-prem counterparts.
Expandability and Modernization: Educational institutions don’t look at expansion or the need to keep up with the latest technology as urgent needs to be handled. Inevitably these needs will reach a point where they cannot be ignored. On-prem solutions require a massive investment of capital before even considering an expansion plan. With an elastic and flexible cloud solution, institutions are provided a much more economical option if they maintain a growth mindset.
Colleges, universities, and districts all operate in an environment where they are asked to do more with less. Engaging with cloud-based solutions can be the easiest way to improve operations and modernize campuses. To borrow from an old expression – The best time to migrate your documents from your on-prem storage to the cloud was yesterday. The next best time is today.