Now in 2012, cloud services are not necessarily unique to anyone. The use of the cloud for storage and administration are common place among companies, organizations, institutions, and even for your own personal use. Use of cloud services have created major changes in universities across the nation and has allowed the decrease (or elimination) of data centers which also translates to considerable decreased costs for the university. Now the real challenge becomes getting the most out of the cloud and discovering what is next and what potential benefits can be reached by furthering the commitment to the cloud.
Universities are finding that the cloud can maintain a presence outside of simple data storage and can help to maintain and analyze complex student data and administrative information. The cloud has certainly come to mean many things and is also becoming more complex when factoring in the potential of university-wide deployment and additional security needs that may arise. Because there are so many different cloud based systems it is becoming more important to discover a method for each of these systems to “talk to one another.” By maintaining a unified, multi-level cloud system that allows all data to be interconnected, further student intervention efforts can be executed and additional options for predictive analysis will be endless. The second issue presented is maintaining secure systems. The laws surrounding how data can be maintained and retrieved can be rather vague and seems to be ever changing. This has become a top challenge for many technology leaders in higher education as it is their goal to execute and maintain a system that is in line with applicable laws.
Conquering these challenges can open the door to a slew of easily accessible information that can enhance the overall experience for instructors, students and administrators. It is obvious that the cloud has created a number of opportunities for higher education thus far and it seems that the sky is the limit in what the cloud may provide.