5 things every college must know about cloud computing

Like many colleges and universities in Ohio, Shawnee State University faced financial pressure from state-led tuition restrictions and a mandate to reduce operating expenses. Its existing IT infrastructure had served it well since its establishment in the late 1980s. But 35 years later, school IT leaders recognized a need and opportunity to modernize by centralizing key applications under a single, unified digital umbrella, allowing administrators to better manage recruitment and serve constituents in a timely way.

Shawnee is just one of many campuses across the nation embracing cloud computing as it has moved into its second decade of existence. Indeed, Gartner’s 2018 CIO Agenda Survey identifies cloud computing as a top-five priority area for new higher tech spending.

Most colleges and universities are considering cloud computing because they recognize its potential for significantly improving financial, operational, and educational processes. At the same time, many know that failing to move to the cloud could create a perception that they are behind the times, which could hamper recruitment efforts with today’s tech-savvy prospective students.…Read More

A quick look at cloud terminology

The cloud may be easier and more affordable than advertised, but it isn’t free. Still, computing horsepower is finally a virtual (or, perhaps more appropriately, a virtualization) bargain. It’s entirely possible for your college or university to spend $10K a month and tap enough power to drive a 1,000-user organization. That’s less than the cost of hiring a single engineer (even if it may sound like overkill, especially given today’s budget realities).

It’s essential to place your applications and data in a maximum-security environment. Hosting plans should be designed expressly to deliver both data integrity and data protection, deploying technologies such as clustered firewalls and intrusion detection and prevention software, which is capable of detecting threats to sensitive client data that even the best firewall won’t catch. And as cyber threats become ever more insidious, those in higher education are looking to implement systems that go well beyond basic malware and antivirus “solutions.”

In IT, as in higher education, language is everything. Teaching undergraduates is tough enough; most university administrators would prefer not to wade into the fog of IT, especially given just how obtuse the tech world has become. Familiarizing yourself with some basic terminology won’t turn you into an expert but it can provide a grounding in the fundamentals. With that in mind, let’s look under the hood and decipher some of the more pervasive and vexing terms.…Read More

4 smart strategies to make your cloud transition smooth

Despite tightened budgets and fewer resources, universities are under increased pressure to sustain enrollment, maintain a competitive edge in attracting students and staff, and subsequently meet growing student and staff expectations. According to a report by the University of New Hampshire, funding for public two- and four-year colleges in the U.S. is nearly $10 billion below recession levels. This challenge has left administration and campus leaders wondering how they’ll navigate this new era of higher education.

To overcome such obstacles, leading universities have turned to a unified cloud-based infrastructure that can deliver the data and insights needed to keep pace with the demands of students, faculty, researchers, and other institutional stakeholders. Like many other sectors, changes to the education landscape are driving the transition to the cloud and making digital transformation an absolute necessity for thriving, growing universities.

While many colleges recognize the need to upgrade legacy systems and processes, unanswered questions often put these initiatives into a holding pattern. How big is the project? What technologies should they be looking into? How much budget will this take? What are the first steps? What to do with legacy systems? Are these new technologies secure? And what will they need to think about once new technologies have been implemented?…Read More

5 ways the cloud is building the University of the Future

The goal for any higher education institution is the same: attract, retain and graduate quality students. However, the way students seek and complete their education is changing. The future of higher education depends upon adapting to these changes. To be the college or university of the future – a modern, competitive institution that provides the best for its students – leaders in higher education need to know what will make prospective students choose them, what will give existing students a reason to stay and ultimately, what will make students successful.

At the 2016 annual EDUCAUSE conference, Huron asked more than 110 IT professionals in higher education to explain how their institution is using technology to prepare for the future. While many respondents said cloud technology was a key step in transforming their institution, many also explained how the cloud will have a significant impact on student experience and success.

Here are five reasons from IT professionals why the University of the Future rests within the cloud.…Read More

Higher ed institutions are moving to the cloud for tuition payments

ACI Worldwide (NASDAQ: ACIW), a leading global provider of real-time electronic payment and banking solutions, announced today that Mount Saint Mary’s University is powering its tuition payment system with ACI’s UP Bill Payment Solution.

Mount Saint Mary’s University, the only women’s university in Los Angeles, is known nationally for its research on gender equity and innovative health and science programs. The University focused its search on electronic payment gateways that integrate into Colleague by Ellucian®, the leader in higher education technology. Mount Saint Mary’s selected UP Bill Payment Solution for tuition payments as well as transaction visibility to help streamline its accounting processes.

“ACI delivers the industry’s most efficient payments gateway as well as incredible ease of use for both administrators and students,” said Shannon Shank, senior director, Enterprise Application Services, Mount Saint Mary’s University. “It is an added benefit that ACI has an existing strategic partnership with Ellucian, providing a more streamlined payments experience for both students and their families—including a comprehensive self-service feature that allows them to gain an expanded view of a student’s payments history.”…Read More

5 features of effective cloud technology

Higher ed experts in cloud technology discuss what makes the best platform for institutions, staff and students.

“Innovation,” “scalability,” and “streamlining” are all great catch phrases when it comes to cloud technology in education, but what does it really mean; and what is the technology behind effective platforms used by innovative universities developing best practices?

According to two leaders in cloud-based higher ed-tech software, nothing beats  Amazon Web Services (AWS) functionality—and you may be surprised at just how many higher-ed institutions and platforms use AWS.

“Adoption across education is fairly high,” said Sri Elaprolu, manager of Solutions Architecture for AWS during the AWS Public Sector Symposium in D.C. “We have roughly 4,500 education institutions using AWS, which includes K-12 and higher education institutions, but also ed-tech companies. Just a handful of examples include Berkeley, Coursera, edX, 2U, San Francisco State University, Carnegie Mellon University, Harvard University and Notre Dame.)…Read More

Another critical campus area now moving to the cloud

Cloud-based virtual labs could become key for universities looking to save money and improve student learning.

In an innovative move, faculty from colleges and universities are working with a tech company to create fully mobile, real-world, cloud-based virtual labs.

Why? Because as Virginia-based IT solutions provider Aeronomy explains, harnessing cloud infrastructure to help alleviate strained funding is critical for one of STEM’s most invaluable resources: the lab.

Founded in 2013, Aeronomy initially began as an infrastructure-neutral, cloud-based solutions provider for businesses, but quickly discovered they could serve the higher education market as well by creating virtual labs that allow colleges and universities to save on costs and better support students.…Read More

Collaboration brings cloud solutions to higher education

A flexible path to the cloud designed specifically to help colleges and universities achieve student success

cloud-ellucianAs colleges and universities continue to transform to meet changing student expectations, senior institutional leaders want to help students access advanced, easy-to-use solutions anytime, anywhere.

They also need better and more timely access to institutional and student data through solutions that inform decision-making, amidst a call for increased accountability.

To that end, Ellucian, provider of higher education software and services, announced that the company has further strengthened its relationship with Amazon Web Services (AWS), including offering many of Ellucian’s higher education solutions as cloud-enabled.…Read More

Editorial Pick 2015: Biggest cloud challenge? It’s not the technology

As universities migrate enterprise applications to the cloud, change management—not technical challenges—is proving to be the biggest hurdle of all.

cloud-computing-challenges[Editor’s Note: Our editorial picks include stories the editors believe either highlighted an important issue in 2015 and/or signaled the beginning of an escalating trend or issue for 2016.]

Go ahead and call it: 2015 is the year when higher education finally accepted that the cloud offers advantages its institutions simply can’t match. Gone is the suspicion that the cloud is a Wild West of drive-by FERPA violations and nonexistent security; gone is the fear that schools will lose ownership of their data.

Today, schools are focused on the upside of cloud deployments for everything from LMSs to SISs—and that upside can be truly significant. But even as earlier fears about the cloud have subsided, new challenges have arisen. These challenges tend to be more organizational than technical, but they are nevertheless forcing complete rethinks in campus IT departments nationwide, and causing major upheaval along the way.…Read More

U. Hawaii System unifies campuses in the cloud

The OneCampus offering from rSmart is a cloud-based offering from Internet2 NET+ that will connect University of Hawaii students, faculty, and staff with institutional services, applications and information on six Hawaiian Islands

cloud-computingThe University of Hawaii (UH) System has selected OneCampus from rSmart, an Internet2 NET+ offering, to provide more than 55,000 students and more than 8,000 faculty and staff streamlined access to campus services from any device. The lightweight, cloud-based technology will bring together systemwide and campus-specific resources, applications and services in one easy-to-search location.

With a diverse population and unique distribution of campuses, UH needed a way to to organize the hundreds of online services and applications offered by their ten campuses and numerous educational centers across six Hawaiian Islands. The mobile-friendly OneCampus platform will meet this challenge and provide administrators the ability to share responsibility and maintenance of the site without an increased burden on IT services.

“We recognized the need to retire our legacy portal and looked for alternative solutions that would meet the dynamic and changing needs of our community colleges and universities. OneCampus will provide our users a simple, intuitive, and mobile friendly way to navigate the services and applications they need to be successful on any UH campus,” said Hae Okimoto, Director of Academic Technologies, Information Technology Services.…Read More