The cloud has seen widespread adoption within the business market, but there is room for growth in higher education. Colleges and universities are starting to see how adopting a cloud strategy can help them maintain a competitive edge.
Migrating to the cloud creates an affordable and efficient way to store records, meet the demands of administrative workloads, and promote collaboration. Colleges and universities are beginning to explore the potential of software as a service (SaaS) and platform as a service (PaaS) options.
Rethinking Record Keeping
Administrators at higher education institutions are responsible for storing and processing student and financial records. All these records are digitized, creating huge volumes of data. Professors that contribute to research studies also need to store and analyze data.
Cloud infrastructure provides a cost-efficient and scalable way to store educational records. Higher education institutions can easily provision additional infrastructure to accommodate data growth. Instead of going through the time-consuming process of purchasing and deploying storage hardware, the IT team at a university can request additional capacity from a cloud provider and access it almost immediately.
Cloud services such as SaaS and PaaS can be used to maintain student records, as well as to handle registration and grade reporting. The ERP and CRM systems needed to compile and process student data or analyze research data can be run on PaaS.
Beating the Traffic
Just like enterprises with fluctuating transaction rates, colleges and universities can experience workload spikes that tax the network, creating bottlenecks or even triggering a system failure. At the start and end of a semester, network traffic increases due to course registration and grade reporting. During these important periods, a network failure would be a nightmare, leaving students unsure whether course enrollment was completed or if they have achieved their desired grade-point average.
Special events can also create spikes in network traffic. Upcoming sporting events, concerts, and graduation ceremonies prompt increased website traffic, with users buying tickets and searching for information.
The cloud can accommodate increased network traffic during these crucial times. This is particularly true if your cloud provider supports its services with a high-speed network that has built-in redundancy. The network that supports the cloud should be powerful enough to transmit high volumes of data without interruption.
Business collaboration isn’t just for business. Colleges and universities benefit from collaboration between students and professors or the members of a research team. Today, students are encouraged to participate in group projects that emulate the dynamics of an office.
Cloud communications enables students and teachers to collaborate more effectively. With the cloud, students can participate in distance learning through online courses. The cloud serves as a platform for unified communications tools, such as web conferencing and instant messaging, that allow students to communicate with each other in real time.
Researchers can also use cloud communications to share information between campuses. Members of a research team can use file sharing capabilities to compile and document their findings. Higher education leaders polled for a 2018 Huron Consulting Group survey predicted that by 2025, fewer than half of research universities will use in-house data centers.
The Cloud Is Within Reach
The cloud opens up new possibilities for higher education institutions ― and it does so affordably. Colleges and universities are looking for ways to keep costs down so they can offer more value to students without raising tuition.
The cloud eliminates many capital expenses for infrastructure technology. Instead, infrastructure and services are available at an affordable and predictable monthly fee. Institutions pay for only what they need.
FirstLight provides cost-effective cloud solutions for colleges and universities. We understand how higher education institutions are evolving, so we can help design the best cloud solutions for the future. All our cloud solutions are supported by an extensive high-speed fiber optic network.
Find out more about what the cloud has to offer. Reach out to the experts at FirstLight.