4 Common Cloud Challenges in the Higher Education Sector

4 Common Cloud Challenges in the Higher Education Sector

The Higher Education sector is constantly evolving with the latest technological advancements. After all, creating a great experience to allow students to prosper is vital for any university, and one of the best ways for them to do this is by taking advantage of the newest technologies.

One of the key technologies of the modern age is the cloud. Cloud computing provides a wealth of benefits for any organisation, and this greatly helps universities and educational establishments improve their services with these benefits. However, there are also a few key challenges that educational institutions face when considering cloud computing.

In this article, we’re going to go over the four key challenges that Higher Education institutions face when implementing cloud computing into their organisation, so you can ensure that you’re prepared to face these challenges and provide the best service for your students.

Challenge 1: Security

With so much information on the line — the information of thousands of students, as well as staff and other important personnel — any form of data breach or cyberattack could be catastrophic.

The United Kingdom’s Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport found that 62% of Higher Education institutions reported breaches or attacks weekly, showing exactly how lucrative and targeted these organisations are. With this, it’s even more important to be security conscious and ensure that your organisation is protected.

While the cloud is more secure than an on-prem system due to the lack of ability to physically breach the server hardware, moving to the cloud alone doesn’t protect you from malicious attackers.

By ensuring to back up and encrypt your organisation’s most important data, you protect it from harm or being stolen, meaning that you can rest safe knowing that no matter what happens, there’s a plan.

Creating a disaster recovery plan is one of the key steps in this — as it will allow you to quickly get back on your feet in the event of a disaster, meaning that your students will be affected far less than otherwise.

Challenge 2: Cost

While the cloud is far cheaper than on-premise alternatives, issues such as hidden fees and the budget constraints that educational institutions face make keeping costs affordable a challenge.

With this, knowing exactly what your organisation needs so you can pick the right plan and model and negotiate with providers to get the best deal is something that needs to be prioritised — as an educational institution, every penny counts.

However, especially with the high turnaround of students utilising the services and different departments’ different needs, a traditional solution for cloud computing cost management might not work for your organisation.

Using specialised tools to track your resources and managing them accordingly will help you save costs in the long run — as leaving unutilised storage within your implementation will be costly and will lead to haemorrhaging money over time.

Challenge 3: Integration

Cloud integration — the challenge of bringing together different data sources and modernising them to utilise with your cloud implementation — is incredibly difficult within educational institutions.

These institutions are often built upon legacy systems that would be almost impossible to replace and need to be worked around. This means that to ensure compatibility, a more tactful approach needs to be taken for your cloud implementation to be successful.

For example, if an institution is using a learning management system (LMS) that uses a specific file format that isn’t utilised in your cloud infrastructure, it could lead to major problems for that LMS, and even lead to your data simply becoming unusable.

Standardisation of data formats across your organisations will help you ensure compatibility, and selecting a cloud provider that supports as many file types as possible is also vital in ensuring that everything works how you want it to.

Another issue is migration. The sheer number of students within a Higher Education institution that would be using the systems at any given time means that there’s never really a good time to migrate over — it would mean system downtime, which could be a major issue for any student who needs to work during that period. The best fix for this is migrating gradually rather than in one go.

Challenge 4: Governance

Cloud services make governance for higher educational institutions much more difficult, due to the many intricacies of cloud computing.

This is because cloud providers involve third-party providers, meaning that you give up governance and control of your data. This takes accountability and security of your sensitive data out of your hands, meaning that in the event of a security breach, it can be impossible to verify who is responsible.

Higher education providers are also held to a higher standard for compliance, due to the sensitive nature of the data handled by universities as well as the importance of the institution. Schools and universities, for instance, hold health data about their students – the unauthorised access of which could be dangerous and costly.

Clearly defining roles and responsibilities in service-level agreements (SLAs) with cloud providers will allow you to ensure it’s clear who’s responsible for what, meaning there’s no confusion if it ever becomes relevant.

By using policies and frameworks to create a clear understanding of what’s expected to meet compliance regulations, you can ensure that you remain compliant and that there are fail-safes in place to stop any compliance breaches from happening, meaning that you can rest assured that you don’t fall into any compliance issues in the long run.

How We Can Help

While the cloud provides a great number of benefits for educational institutions, there are a number of challenges that need to be addressed for any cloud implementation to be implemented optimally. By addressing these challenges, you can ensure that your organisation is ready to take advantage of the full power of the cloud.

If you’re looking to get started with the cloud but don’t know where to start, reach out to us today. Our experts will give you a helping hand along the way, and get you started on your cloud journey.

Contact us now and see how we can help.

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