A growing number of K-12 and Higher Ed IT teams are adopting cloud and SaaS applications like Google Apps for Education or Microsoft Office 365 Education. The reasons are as varied as the school, district, or university – but in every case, these adoptions represent significant change within the organization.
Some of the reasons that education IT is moving to the cloud are that the cloud:
- Increases collaboration. Through cloud computing’s ease of cross-classroom, cross-department, and cross-institution collaboration, instructors, staff, and students can work together in new and creative ways. Since collaboration is a significant component of Common Core, there’s increased interest among K-12 districts in exploring ways to use SaaS and cloud.
- Supports innovation. By using cloud-based applications and systems, it’s easier for Higher Ed to open their technology infrastructure to business and industry research partners, fostering collaboration towards innovation and research.
- Helps resource management scale. Cloud computing can help K-12 and Higher Ed manage ever-growing resource demands. Cloud and SaaS vendors manage most aspects of the required infrastructure, an infrastructure that used to need management on-premises by the IT team. Those vendors’ infrastructure is at a scale that produces efficiencies for their customers, whose resources can be freed up for new IT projects.
- Reduces on-premises infrastructure risk. Cloud vendors are multiply redundant, security-hardened, FERPA-ready, and provide robust security infrastructures that reduce the risk and the impact of hardware and infrastructure failure. On-premises systems can be similarly hardened, but require resources for infrastructure and risk management.
In short, the cloud offers education IT and the institutions they support powerful benefits. Whether your school is evaluating a move to the cloud, or has decided to move, there are five best practices every K-12 or Higher Ed IT team should be prepared to implement. (more…)