Learning lessons about the cloud

Deploying a cloud strategy for schools can feel like jumping off a high diving board for the first time. Questions like ‘What’s the risk?’ and ‘Is this going to hurt?’ run through your mind.

Fear not, a new report, Cloud Computing in Educationfrom research company GlobalData reveals:

  • why the cloud is such a draw for education providers –  particularly schools
  • how it is driving digital transformation across the sector
  • ways in which schools can overcome lingering barriers to adoption

Many schools, academies, and similar institutions have already leapt from that diving board. According to GlobalData, 96% if universities and 35% of school have implemented cloud technology. And spending on cloud-based technologies among education institutions will continue to grow through 2020/21.

It’s easy to see why. The research finds that improving cost-effectiveness and reducing capital expenditure (capex) are key motivations for moving to the cloud (see Figure 1).

Drivers for cloud adoption in UK education

Figure 1: Drivers for cloud adoption in UK education

The report cites the example of the Academies Enterprise Trust. This is one of the largest institutions to adopt Google’s G-Suite and Chromebooks, and the move is anticipated to save £7.7 million over the next five years. Mainly through savings in licensing, power saving, server hardware and maintenance.

The cloud can also help improve your service delivery without significant extra investment. Take disaster recover for example. Your school needs to maintain consistent service delivery, but small-scale cyber attacks remain common. And cash-strapped institutions that opt to sweat older IT systems remain vulnerable. According to the GlobalData report, “tens of schools” in the South-West of England suffered from attacks over the past year. With some paying hackers for the release of data. A cloud-based disaster recovery strategy cost-effectively combats this issue, storing data securely and remotely in UK-based data centres.

Cloud solutions also give schools the flexibility to throttle capacity up or down depending on demand. All done quickly, cheaply, with little or no supplier input and no need for redundant capacity.

And the cloud offers unprecedented opportunity to share services between schools. One example of this involved the joint procurement of a single back office system among eight Sussex and Surrey colleges operated as a private cloud by SISSC Ltd (Shared Services in Sussex and Surrey Colleges). According to the report, “The cloud application of this FE Sussex collaborative project provides the opportunity to make significant cost savings through the reduction in individual college servers, over and above common software savings.”

Make no mistake, cloud computing is a key technology trend across UK education, driven by:

  • the potential cost savings
  • the desire to improve service delivery
  • the drive for a more flexible and scalable IT estate
  • greater collaboration
  • a ‘cloud-first’ attitude

Now is the time for your school to take the plunge. Time to take the leap and benefit from a cost-effective, flexible and secure future.

The full report is available here:
Cloud Computing in Education – the growth of cloud based technologies

Jonathan Smith 
Public Sector Business Unit Leader

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