How far is your school in the cloud computing journey?

The cloud is not just a pretty face of technology, it is the future! The cloud has already made a mark in the business industry; it is now steadily percolating into our professional and personal lives. But is the cloud foreign to the educational sector? If you are thinking ‘yes’, then your school has got a lot of catching up to do.

A cloud-based Learning Management System (LMS) has multiple benefits. It offers lower installation costs and effective cost predictability. It is faster to deploy and improves accessibility for both learners and course designers. Besides, it is easy to customize and maintain. It also supports enhanced data security and is highly scalable. After all these scoring points, unlimited storage capacity is just frosting on the cake.

There are three levels of cloud computing services that the education sector can benefit from. The first is the Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) like the Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) which provides storage and processors to the consumers. This service removes the need for educational institutions to buy and implement their own hardware without depriving them of the opportunity to access high computing power. Platform as a Service (PaaS) such as the Google App Engine lets the customers develop and customize applications with the platform provided by the cloud service provider. The educational institutions can use this technology to easily develop, test and deploy applications quickly and effectively, thus providing the teachers and students an excellent operating environment. The third level, Software as a Service (SaaS) offers cloud application services where the clients can use software provided by the service provider. Students and the faculty can access specialized software required for their unique educational needs like running experiments. Google Apps for Education is a good example of this category.

If you are looking for a fresh start into the realm of cloud computing or thinking of migrating into other services that suit you better, the cloud computing performance benchmarks can always help you out. To embark on a cloud journey, you will have to understand your institutional needs and match it with the services offered by the cloud provider in such a way that it suits your needs best at the same time remains cost-effective. Services like the cloud spectator provide such an opportunity where your systems, activities and processes are analyzed accurately to identify your unique requirements.

The cloud computing journey can be best traced in four stages. The first stage is developing the knowledge, feasibility and initial plan for cloud computing. The second stage is evaluating the present stage and experimental use of the cloud. This is followed by choosing the cloud computing solution and finally comes the implementation and management of the solution. So, which stage are you in?