When we think about cryptographic keys, we tend to think about closely guarded secrets. Keys are the only thing that keeps the attacker away from your encrypted data. Some keys are usually treated with the appropriate level of respect. Security professionals in the payments industry, or those that have deployed a PKI, know all too well about the importance... 

Richard Moulds

Cloud Computing: Its Benefits, And How It Is Implemented By Universities

Cloud Computing: Its Benefits, and How it is Implemented by Universities

There is no question with regards to the critical role that is played by higher education in the molding of the structure of our societies. It is through the creation of competent higher education institutions that we are able to produce competent and responsible individuals who will be instrumental in ensuring that the societies grow as they should (Lazowska et al, 2008, as mentioned by Mircea and Andreescu, 2011).

In order to ensure that these venerable higher education institutions are on par with the latest social and global trends, it is only logical that they constantly update their technologies and make sure that it is developing alongside the latest technological advances all over the world. One of the best ways in order to achieve this end is through cloud computing. According to Ballroom (2009), cloud computing technology is sometimes identified as the ‘silver bullet’ in the field of educational technology. In other words, experts understand the fact that cloud computing holds so much promise, and, at the same time, carries a lot of risks. With these facts in mind, we will ask ourselves a very important question: how do universities and other higher education institutions implement cloud computing?

First of all, given the right knowledge on this advancement, one can truly expect to gain a lot from it. Basically, the universities in the United States implement cloud computing for three important reasons: one, it greatly reduces the overall cost of hardware acquisition and maintenance; two, it significantly multiplies research and academic outputs; and three, it allows learners and teachers to access a wide range of Web 2.0 applications. Basically, these are the most essential reasons why educational institutions, both lower and higher education sectors, must embed cloud computing into their systems. After all, the only thing that can make cloud computing against itself is over-reliance on the part of the administrators (Erkoc and Kert, 2011).

In the United States, Pennsylvania State University (Penn State) is one of the many universities which have openly taken advantage of the glories of the cloud computing. According to Orebaugh (2010), Penn State is a university system with a lot of external and satellite campuses. To be exact, Penn State has over 19 campuses, 15 colleges, and a singular online university. The sheer size of this institution, and the mere fact that all these integral parts are geographically dispersed, meant it could serve nearly a hundred thousand learners every semester. However, the size of the system would also mean one thing: the impossibly difficult task of gathering, storing, analyzing, and dispersing data from all the campuses and from all the colleges. Fortunately, cloud computing has made these tasks simple. Plus, they were able to expand the services that they offered with their open university.

Of course, one of the biggest and the most prominent of these universities, Harvard University, is also implementing cloud computing (Patil, 2010).  According to Armbrust (2009) as cited by Patil, the main goal of Harvard with the cloud system is to make sure that even the least technologically acquainted individuals are able to utilize and to learn from the wonders of the internet-based applications, especially the Web 2.0.

By Cenon Gaytos