Cloud computing is all around us these days and although consumers and business users were initially sceptical about it are coming around. The cloud is now an accepted tool for many businesses and organizations including financial institutions, corporations, small businesses and higher education facilities. As demand has increased the cloud has developed even further and we are now seeing a new generation of cloud services emerging on the market.
Server-Centric Versus Network-Centric
All signs point to the next generation of cloud services being more network-centric as opposed to the server-centric services that have been more common, but what is the difference? There are actually a number of benefits of being more focused on networks with the main one being that network-centric cloud services offer a greater level of control of your network. Network-centric cloud services can offer network based security as well as stronger SLAs. All of this is great news for businesses who are interested in migrating business applications to the cloud.
Cloud Computing In A Higher Education Setting
Higher education facilities are one of the many groups who are making good use of the cloud for a variety of different tasks. There is a growing trend for educational establishments to implement cloud based products such as internal social networks, learning management systems to facilitate teacher to student communication and for sharing information and files as required.
A recent study by CDW suggests that approximately 43% of higher education providers are in the process of adopting, or already using cloud services. This is a marked increase from the 34% who were recorded in the State of the Cloud Report the previous year. When we take into consideration that 42% of K-12 education facilities also fell into this category, the report seems to suggest that it is educators who are helping to drive the growing demand for cloud services.
In terms of the cloud services being used by higher education, the top three cloud based applications are:
- Storage at 31%
- Communications, Conferencing and Collaboration at 29%
- Compute Power at 25%
How Will Network-Centric Cloud Services Impact Higher Education
While cloud adoption is on the increase in the Higher Education and K-12 sectors, there is still a measure of resistance. Some of the key concerns putting providers off migrating to the cloud are security of data and the overall performance of cloud services.
These are legitimate concerns, especially with the type of proprietary data many higher education facilities are dealing with, but the next generation of network-centric cloud services and cloud servers should be able to address these concerns. It has been suggested that 71% of IT managers cite security issues as their major concern in regard to moving applications to the cloud.
The next generation of network-centric cloud services will be able to address these security concerns by offering unique features to ensure security at all times. The security policies are consistent across all resources and data centers and the security is strengthened through attachment to additional tools including DDoS protection services and managed intrusion prevention services. This should encourage more higher education professionals to embrace cloud computing.
Overall, the next generation of cloud services promises to improve the features that are already there while introducing additional security and reliability to overcome the most commonly held reservations. This should lead to more widespread adoption of cloud services, not just across the education sector but with other businesses as well.
Correy Weimer is a freelance writer who has contributed to a number of websites including Singlehop.com – a leading provider of cloud hosting.