“Where [are] our student data being stored? Where [are] our research data being stored?” Woo said. “These are all risks we need to mitigate.”
Cloud vulnerabilities made headlines July 16 when Twitter’s co-founder said a hacker had access to private company documents after illegally accessing a Twitter employee’s eMail account.
The official Twitter blog said: “We believe the hacker was able to gain information which allowed access to this employee’s Google Apps account.” Google Apps for Education is a popular set of cloud-based tools for students and faculty used by thousands of schools and colleges nationwide.
The high-profile hack involving Twitter’s Google Apps program could give some college IT leaders pause when moving to a cloud network, but Twitter officials insist the program is safe.
“This attack had nothing to do with any vulnerability in Google Apps, which we continue to use,” the Twitter blog said. “This is more about Twitter being in enough of a spotlight that folks who work here can become targets. … This isn’t about any flaw in web apps, it speaks to the importance of following good personal security guidelines such as choosing strong passwords.”
Cottingham from CDW-G said occasional news items trumpeting a cloud-computing breach—however small—continue to have an effect on campus technologists who might be considering further cloud adoption. Still, he expects higher education to trust cloud services more in coming years.
eMail services won’t be the only part of the campus IT infrastructure moved to the cloud, Cottingham said; decision makers eventually will use cloud services to store course schedules, provide storage solutions, and supply disaster recovery programs, along with myriad administrative functions.