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Cloud Computing

  1.  How does the solution fit with your overall technology plan?
  2. Does the solution help move your institution forward?
  3. What is the escalation process?
  4. What is the exit policy?
  5. Will the data be portable and accessible on a different system?
  6. Is the contract flexible enough to accommodate growth, or pull back if needed?
  7. If you can’t customize a SaaS product, does it do what you want? Will you spend as much to customize it as you would on a traditional product?
  8. Does the security and encryption meet industry standards?

Acceptance of cloud computing—the practice of storing data in off-site servers rather than on campus—has been growing by leaps and bounds, at least in some areas. “It’s growing in the areas easier to rip and replace, such as CRM,” says Stan Swete, chief technology officer at Workday, which offers HR and Payroll systems through software as a service (SaaS).

Most colleges and universities attending EduComm send one or two, sometimes three, people to the conference. Last June, Life University (Ga.) sent seven of its administrators and faculty to learn from the breakout sessions and see the latest higher education technology on the EduComm exhibit floor.

When H1N1 made its way to the mountains of northwestern Vermont two years ago, the technology experts at Saint Michael's College were concerned students or teachers might not make it to class. The virus didn't reach epidemic proportions at the small Catholic college, but it energized the team already considering ways to bring lessons beyond the classroom.

The campus network is home to thousands of student residents while at the same time hosting key administrative servers containing private personal information. Yet in most universities the network administrators are expected to maintain an "open network environment" that allows free access in and out of the campus.

Call it the marathon without a finish line: As new network demands such as mobile computing and rich media increase, campus IT strategists are trying to keep running ahead, to ensure that their networks can meet the need.

Professionals who have helped create inviting places for groups to study on campus have vivid memories of the uninviting study spaces of yesterday. “When we studied as a group, if we studied as a group, it was typically in the dining hall,” recalls Jeff Vredevoogd, director of Herman Miller Education.

If you haven’t made your plans yet for EduComm 2011, let me take this opportunity to tell you about the variety of fast-paced, information-packed breakout sessions scheduled for attendees. Covering a range of topics from learning technology and social media to enrollment strategies and leadership issues, the sessions are designed to inform and enlighten all decision makers at colleges and universities about the changes, challenges and solutions, that higher education must confront today and in the coming years.

Caught up in cloud fever, campus IT leaders across the nation have virtualized their server rooms. Having fewer servers didn't make the world come to an end; in fact, just the opposite happened. Staffers have more time to work on critical tasks and energy bills have gone down since IT departments aren't cooling massive data centers anymore.

Hot button issues facing colleges and universities at times seem endless: recruitment, student retention, and shrinking budgets, to name just a few. In contrast, identity management is an often overlooked and under appreciated business process among senior leadership in the higher education field. Yet with the increase of online courses; rising popularity of distance learning; and the challenge of protecting student, faculty and organizational data, identity management is fast becoming a top concern among university professionals.

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