The COVID-19 outbreak resulted in the closure of all educational programs globally. Concerning the safety of children and educators, cloud adoption was the sole solution that could provide an immediate solution to stagnant education programs worldwide. As a result, academic institutions, both private and government, accelerated cloud adoption efforts to support the demand for an online and hybrid learning environment.
According to Gartner, Inc. 2021 CIO Agenda: A Higher Education Perspective study, “73% of respondents in the higher education sector reported an increase in the ‘rate of new product/new service introduction’ as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.” The adoption provided several advantages but also presented numerous challenges.
Benefits of Cloud Computing for Education & Digital Learning in Universities & Higher Education
Easy accessibility, collaboration, and community development in a safe environment is easy with a cloud-enabled educational model. Similarly, it is easy for educators to monitor coursework and access students’ progress without meeting face-to-face. Furthermore, it is easy to update courses online and manage students efficiently. Collaboration and productivity between departments without worrying about server upkeep, data security, and storage issues is also painless.
The Benefits of Cloud Computing in the Education Sector are:
- Improved collaboration and communication
- Easier access to resources
- Long-term cost savings
- Less operational and management toil
- Scalability and flexibility for students & instructor
- Enhanced productivity and efficient educational practices
- Backup of information
- Support in financial and HR management
- Fostering university accreditation
Challenges of Cloud Computing Adoption in Academic Institutions
Despite several benefits, cloud adoption in the education sector presents its own set of challenges. The adoption rate and scalability are directly proportional to the challenges faced by academic institutions.
The most common issues faced by universities while adopting cloud computing include —
1. Data Security
Data security in the cloud is the primary concern for academic institutions. One of the main reasons for data security concerns is the non-efficient encryption algorithms of cloud computing software or models. Another major concern is the leftover data footprint which remains insecure and hackable.
2. Privacy Issues
Securing parents, students, and staff data is another concern educational institutions face. But a good cloud service provider ensures that privacy policies are stringent and data leak is impossible.
3. Internet Connection
Cloud is internet-dependent, and with inadequate internet bandwidth, services can be disturbed. In places with network or speed issues, the cloud may not function appropriately, demanding a better bandwidth and speed to perform as expected.
Reliability is another issue for academic institutions using the cloud. In the event of service failure, data recovery becomes a major concern. But cloud providers usually offer disaster recovery plans so that backups can help run the business smoothly and efficiently in the event of service failure.
5. Less Control
One of the major concerns for universities, colleges, and schools is having less control over updates, training, and other features. Since the cloud infrastructure is controlled majorly by the cloud service provider and everything is hosted off-site, institutions have minimal control over infrastructure and system setup.
6. Vendor commitment
Choosing the right vendor is critical for cloud adoption in the education sector. Having a vendor that understands the requirement, risks, and workload and manages unforeseen issues is a must, as switching vendors midway is extremely difficult. While choosing a vendor, it is good to thoroughly analyze the offerings so that the entire academic year can run its classes efficiently.
While cloud computing saves a lot of infrastructural costs for academic institutions, setting up the same has some up-front costs. Migration costs may be higher depending on the application, services, and data. There is a training cost involved in setting up a new system. However, savings can be seen in the long-term reduction of operation IT and admin costs.
Cloud adoption challenges faced by educational institutions in developing countries
In developing countries, one of the significant restrictions is finance. Also, the technical implementation may take longer. Government regulations can also present some difficulties. However, the post-COVID-19 era has witnessed the quicker implementation of cloud computing services in the education sector in developing countries as well.
Though connecting students in remote locations, internet accessibility, pricing, and student-to-teacher ratio are a few other challenges that academic institutions in developing countries face presently, it is still the easiest way to overcome geographical barriers and ensure students receive a quality education.
Cloud computing adoption is at its peak in the education sector. However, it has a long road, starting with adequate training for educators and students. Additionally, hundreds of cloud infrastructures have emerged recently, promising to manage and facilitate the best computing services.
However, universities need to consider cloud service providers with adequate experience, faster migration processes, optimized cost, and centralized cloud governance for a smoother seamless experience.
It is advised to choose a cloud service provider that improves collaboration across departments, boosts IT efficiency, and provides maximum ROI, like Rapyder, who is a global AWS Consulting Partner, providing Cloud Consulting, Implementation, and Managed Services to Enterprises, SMBs, and Startups. Rapyder makes cloud for you.
Contact our cloud experts today to know more about how we can help you.