Subscribe to our free fortnightly newsletter and stay ahead with the latest news in edtech

Cloud Formation - David Tindall

In the fourth of this five-part series, we ask David Tindall, Schools Broadband, how cloud computing is set to change education

Posted by Alex Diggins | August 02, 2018 | Higher education

How do you foresee cloud computing changing the education landscape, in terms of data storage and security?

From a data storage point of view, the historic days of onsite storage have gone. That’s because the new Ultrafast (G.fast) broadband technologies that are available to schools, allow connectivity to be nearly as fast as if it is stored on site.Because of this, I see significantly more data being pushed to cloud storage across multiple applications, making it even more important for customers to be securely connected.

Schools moving from on-site to cloud storage need to ask themselves, “is our data as safe as it was when stored on-site?” Schools can be connected to some of the best security in the world via cloud-hosted security. State-of-the-art data centres are providing affordable high-grade security solutions that wouldn’t otherwise be affordable to most schools.

Choose an internet service provider (ISP) who can offer a full suite of UTM applications and take care of your end-point security and perimeter protection – this will be a big step towards fulfilling the security element of GDPR criteria. An ISP that can offer proactive reporting and response will further help schools meet the GDPR’s stipulation that schools must detect, report and investigate a personal data breach within 72 hours

Is there also the possibility that cloud computing, and the Internet of Things (IoT), can make campuses greener, more efficient spaces?

From a power-consumption point of view, cloud computing is definitely more efficient. Data centres (the cloud) run on greener energy resources where energy is bought in bulk, so giving better economies of scale to power multiple servers. In addition, reducing the amount of tin on site reduces hardware disposal issues and the complexities surrounding the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) directive.

The IoT is a fantastic way of making life in general more efficient. Bridging the gap between the physical and digital world is improving productivity all round. There should be over 20 billion devices connected across all technologies by 2020. So, from remotely adjusting thermostatic controls, to wearable devices and smart transport, we can look forward to our connected lives bringing lots of new efficiencies in almost every aspect of our lives.

Bridging the gap between the physical and digital world is improving productivity all round. There should be over 20 billion devices connected across all technologies by 2020

Is cloud computing opening up education for a whole raft of users who – either because they are not suited to the classroom environment, or can’t afford the materials – were previously excluded from it?

The technological capabilities of the cloud mean that our tablets are giving us access to staggering amounts of content, anywhere in the world. The internet has become the best encyclopaedia in the world, offering enormous opportunities for those hungry for knowledge. We must however remain aware of the e-safety aspects of access to such content, and ensure that what people are looking at is relevant and monitored.

Should educational institutions be clear on which type of cloud infrastructure – Public, Private or Hybrid – works best for them?

Yes, they should. Technology advances very quickly, so strategies should be reviewed as and when the technology changes and when new services become available. Cloud-based technology is very “elastic”: it allows you to change solution very quickly. For example, you can move from just three servers in the cloud to 20, without the need to invest hugely in hardware.

My advice: encrypt any data held on a laptop, and make sure you have a Disaster Recovery plan

What risks and challenges (e.g. data protection, cybersecurity) should institutions be aware of?

Schools should be clear on what data they want to put where. Without the right security measures, pupil data in the cloud, for example, is vulnerable to hacking, so a specific cloud security strategy is a must. Know what your data is, where it is – and make sure it is deleted if not needed.

If you can’t control the security of your data because it sits on a third-party server, make sure you’re comfortable with your provider’s data-protection procedures. It’s worth undertaking a risk analysis. My advice: encrypt any data held on a laptop, and make sure you have a Disaster Recovery plan.

Subscribe to our free fortnightly newsletter and stay ahead with the latest news in edtech

Related stories

Schools must secure their endpoints

Cloud Formation - Ben Fairburn

Cloud Formation - James Mutton

Market place - view all

ViewSonic

ViewSonic® Corporation, headquartered in Walnut, California, is...

Clevertouch

Sparkol

Sparkol makes tools to engage your audience. They're like nothing y...