It’s no secret that cloud computing is disrupting the education industry, making learning much more flexible and accessible than ever before. Currently, 39% of higher education applications operate on the cloud, and that’s expected to grow to 62% by 2021. From Office 365 and Google Drive to learning management systems like Canvas and Blackboard, there are many cloud-based services that can support schools and universities in catering to their students, alumni, and staff. Beyond these tools, the cloud is invaluable for storing student data and helping to streamline information between systems.
Here are a few of the benefits for education systems looking to migrate their users to the cloud.
Reducing IT costs and growing analytics capabilities
By running their organization on legacy, on-prem systems, educational institutions deal with unnecessary costs associated with lifecycle management, scalability, and managing multiple databases. A survey of 100 higher education IT professionals in 2017 showed that 46% identified reducing IT costs as a top priority in the next year. Implementing cloud-based solutions can help administrators reduce spending linked to repairing and upgrading expensive software and hardware, as well as time lost dealing with fragmented student data.
Migrating your student body to the cloud can also facilitate data monitoring and tracking on student demographics, average scores, course/program popularity, and staff performance. Over time, this data can help answer important questions to support the development of short- and long-term strategies for improving the institution’s performance.
Simplifying access to information
A number of software-as-a-service (SaaS) platforms are now instituting single sign-on, which allows end users to access all related apps and features through a single login. For instance, students would be able to access their class schedule, a team project they’re working on, and student email—all through one set of credentials. This greatly improves user experience and also helps protect the institution from the risk of data breaches that comes from weak password practices.
Managing staff and student data
Cloud computing will also support your institution when it comes to managing your staff and protecting their sensitive data. Cloud-based HR solutions help streamline information on staff payroll and give more ownership and visibility to your employees with regards to time off, pay, and benefits. HR tools that are enabled with lifecycle management will also support your institution in provisioning and deprovisioning your staff as needed, reducing the risk of errors.
For institutions that have thousands of students, applicants, and alumni, cloud solutions also make it easy to manage and share student data across its various applications. Here, lifecycle management is also vital. Each of the steps in the student lifecycle require provisioning and profile changes that can be automated with a comprehensive lifecycle management tool, reducing the workload from IT admins.
Increasing the reach of education
Cloud computing supports the 900+ universities and 101 million students participating in Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs), which make educational opportunities accessible to learners in remote or rural areas, from low-income backgrounds, or with accessibility issues. With the cloud, it is inexpensive to onboard new students and monitor an account from the time of application through graduation to alumni status, which offers a more robust and scalable solution to student outreach.
Cloud-based systems also allow students to store and share their files online, making class deliverables easy to submit from anywhere. As more universities and educational institutions look to incorporate learning management systems (LMSs) and start online courses, cloud solutions storage enables teachers and professors to easily share e-books, videos, and articles with a large digital audience.
Cloud migration needs to be a priority if academic institutions want to stay competitive and attract top talent. For institutions looking to optimize their student and employee experience, while also enhancing their reach, cloud-based services offer innovative solutions.
To find out more about how Okta can help your organization migrate users to the cloud, read our How Higher Ed IT Teams are Increasing Efficiency with Cloud Identity and Access Management (IAM) whitepaper.