Andy Hinxman, Director of Keybridge IT, says the cloud is now one of the safest and most efficient forms of computing, and it can offer multiple benefits to UK HE
Cloud is becoming a very popular option for many organisations in the education sector and it’s not hard to see why. Cloud offers access anywhere, at any time, on any device, without compromising security. What can we expect to see next? Will it continue to change the way we work? What does it offer HE?
Before the cloud phenomenon, people were limited to what was on their desktop at home, work or university shared drive which restricted how much you could do in any given time. Cloud technology and application now provide the opportunity for users to access their files and documents anywhere and collaborate easily with other users. Cloud has opened up new doors for the user experience, allowing for flexibility and increased efficiency working from home, university or work. Provided you have internet access, you can draw up work, essays or simply anything stored on your cloud environment to show or share to other people.
Until fairly recently there was a stigma attached to cloud technology and platforms, particularly around the security aspect. That stigma has decreased significantly with the addition of more stringent control and security settings for administrators. People were concerned that cloud platforms were easy to access and a liability to any organisation. However with tighter controls and greater admin rights, HE can now be assured their cloud platform is secure.
The cloud also demands good and reliable internet connection, as without it you can struggle to work at all. But that too has improved quite dramatically over the last few years. It has been helped by the Government who give many small businesses a grant to cover the cost of installing a fibre line, which guarantees both speed and reliability. It is therefore no surprise that people are readily adopting cloud solutions for their organisations, and in doing so increasing efficiency, flexibility and access.
As a Cloud Consultancy business we anticipate cloud technology to grow even more in the future. The cloud has now evolved so that organisations are now relying on it rather than costly infrastructure of servers, PCs and need for storage. Now IT support can be accomplished remotely, bringing costs down further. This makes cloud computing the most economical choice for most organisations, particularly those in the education sector. However, the cost benefits are not the only reason why the higher education system should be thinking about the future of cloud computing.
Having attended a briefing at Microsoft recently, the vision and ideas for the future are quite amazing. It could soon be possible for students to work on their projects on their mobiles or tablets using Windows 10 and reduced functionality applications. They can then carry their phones or tablets to the IT labs on campus, put them on the desk and link to the monitor, keyboard and mouse and allow the user to securely continue working on a bigger screen and taking full advantage of the fully functional Office applications. In some cases, this may eliminate the need for computers altogether.
The future of cloud computing, particularly in the education sector is very exciting. We have seen in the past years how SMEs have been embracing the updated and secure systems that allow them to grow their business successfully. These benefits are now being noticed by the HE sector, as they understand the need to create flexible access for their students from all over and of all ages.
The cloud is now one of the safest and most efficient forms of computing and is an ever-evolving technology system that has an exciting future ahead.