Image courtesy of

May 31 2012

Should Colleges Buy Into Public, Private or Hybrid Clouds?

Many schools find that one cloud just isn’t enough.

There are a growing number of options for colleges that want to move services such as e-mail, calendars and document management into the cloud. But public clouds (those offered by Google Apps and Microsoft Office 365, for example) may not fill all the needs of a higher education institution. For managing the profusion of high ed technology — big data, human resources, financial and learning management systems — one cloud may not be the answer.

Multiple clouds, however, could be. But before you make any big decisions about moving your data and services to the cloud, Jerry Bishop of The Higher Ed CIO recommends that you stop and think about your IT philosophy:

Developing an effective cloud-computing adoption strategy cannot exist without a clear philosophy on the role of IT in cloud computing.

Why? Because I think it is really important that as IT leaders we come to grips with our own philosophy about computers, the rights of our users and content owners, and those darn iPads. Your philosophy plays a huge role in shaping your IT strategy, and it affects nearly every decision you make for your organization and users.

You can read the full post, “Developing an Effective Cloud Computing Adoption Strategy,” on The Higher Ed CIO.

While public clouds offer very few opportunities for customization and carry the same risk as any third-party service, a hybrid of public and private clouds might satisfy a university’s needs. According to Bruce Petryshak, Middle Tennessee State University's vice president for information technology and CIO, "There is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to the cloud, especially in a higher education environment." MTSU took this approach to the cloud, as described in an article in EdTech: Focus on Higher Education:

MTSU built a private internal cloud the university calls "C@M–Cloud at Middle" that delivers virtual access to standard desktop and classroom applications. At the same time, MTSU migrated student e-mail, a campuswide scheduling application, a learning management system and its web content-management system to public cloud services.

Read the full article, “Colleges Take Many Paths to the Cloud,” from EdTech: Focus on Higher Education.

Check out The Higher Ed CIO, which made The Dean’s List, EdTech: Focus on Higher Education’s list of 50 must-read higher education technology blogs.