In a new research study by ResearchMoz it’s predicted that the global cloud computing market in higher education will grow steadily at a CAGR of 24.57% over the period 2016 to 2020. Making use of computing resources connected by either public or private networks provides the benefits of scalable infrastructure, greater resource and application access, and IT flexibility, solutions quickly adopted by the private sector and now moving more rapidly into government and educational institutions. And in another study by MeriTalk, it’s apparent that 81% of higher education institutions surveyed would be increasing cloud use in the next five years, with overall cloud usage across federal, state, local, and higher education nearly doubling from 35% to 60%.
The Cloud and Education
The promise of access to enterprise applications and online software from any device and at any time is motivating in any industry, taking the fuss out of installations, maintenance, and upgrading. In a classroom, filled with tomorrow’s tech workforce and, let’s face it, often today’s most savvy tech users, the advantages of cloud computing are undeniable. Not only does a well-designed and carefully implemented cloud computing infrastructure provide teachers and students with the latest and most appropriate tech tools available, but it also helps equalize educational possibilities across schools of all sizes. Cloud computing means that smaller institutions with limited budgets still have access to the most recent innovations, and makes it easier for sizeable organizations to keep their large networks and services current.
Top Drivers for Moving to Cloud
Some of the most obvious drivers moving educational institutions to the cloud are, unsurprisingly, very similar to those driving everyone else to cloud adoption. Better management of budgets, upgrading, application migration and software patching takes the sting out of cost and time requirements to ensure an organization remains progressive. Cloud adoption also requires less CapEx investment and makes it possible for students to use their own devices both on premises and at home for a broader reach and improved engagement. Finally, a driver much lauded once realised is the promise and profit of collaboration which cloud allows for. Student collaboration via cloud computing is a more streamlined and dynamic process not only encouraging teamwork and better technology usage but providing students with a sense of the direction many businesses are taking today.
Why Moving to Cloud Makes Sense
The obvious benefits of cost and flexibility aren’t the only reason why moving to the cloud makes sense for educational institutions; the growing importance of cloud in all businesses means that keeping up with the world requires immersing one’s organisation in the cloud, and what better place to start than the establishments training the next generation? The cloud is changing the dynamics of IT in many organisations as the need for specific IT departments shifts, and it’s possible instead to implement user-centric computing that requires less specialised IT aptitude while broadening the possible utilizations and functions available to both teachers and students. The cloud means it’s possible for educational programs to be structured to suit individual organisations, and even individual students, for a more immersive and tailored experience.
What to Know Before You Go Cloud
cloud migration is already happening swiftly, but as with anything, there are a few important considerations. Security is a serious concern that increases with every advance of technology, and ensuring that networks and databases are properly fortified is an obvious requisite. Furthermore, data privacy needs to be considered, as implementing open networks for the benefit of student education can also introduce Vulnerabilities. Policies and regulations will need to be explored and implemented to appropriately safeguard institutions rolling out cloud strategies, covering everything from authorised access to rules regarding the use of personal devices. And although the cloud often means systems need less IT skills than those employing only in-house applications, there will always be a necessary level of tech proficiency as well as the need to be familiar with the latest advances in technology. These challenges notwithstanding, it’s time for education to embrace the cloud and immerse itself in the possibilities and innovations on offer.
By Jennifer Klostermann