Jun 01 2021

Cloud-First Security Cuts Higher Ed Costs

A move to the cloud is helping universities improve security and disaster recovery strategies.

Higher education institutions have experienced unprecedented challenges over the past year. With the move to remote operations, institutions across the board have worked arduously to ensure business continuity. Now, they are looking for new ways to streamline operations.

According to EDUCAUSE’s top IT issues for 2021, developing cybersecurity operations strategies and providing information security leadership are major IT priorities for universities and colleges. Higher education is a data-rich industry, and securing this data comes with many challenges.

With so many rules surrounding data in higher education, institutions must ensure they are in compliance with privacy regulations — which can be hard to accomplish through disparate systems and leaky integrations. Students, staff and internal processes all generate large quantities of data that must be tightly managed. In this case, a cloud-based, security-first approach can help take the guesswork out of managing that massive amount of data.

With Limited Staff, Automate and Scale

Security monitoring and administration can be automated to reduce complexity, prevent human error and even lower operating costs. This is especially important for many universities that are dealing with reduced IT staff. With cloud, systems can be easily scaled to meet increasing needs. There are also lower maintenance requirements thanks to built-in security controls.

We are now in a climate of mostly remote work, and that is likely to continue for the foreseeable future. This means colleges and universities need to consider access validation and identity management for remote workers.

A good security strategy involves provisioning proper access for remote workers. Such considerations have now become a priority for institutions as they plan their security investments.

MORE ON EDTECH: Learn how to choose a cloud security posture management solution.

Cloud Saves Gonzaga University $40K

Gonzaga University is one example of a higher education institution that recognized how crucial a strong security strategy was to its operations a year ago. The IT staff committed to a cloud-first approach and focused on maintaining a strong security posture.

Gonzaga also adopted disaster recovery capabilities that it was previously missing. By moving to cloud, the university was able to lower costs and eliminate a $40,000 contract for on-premises services. It then used those savings to improve security, disaster recovery and development testing capabilities.

Part of this initiative involved integrating on-premises firewalls with the cloud to keep processes running smoothly. Gonzaga can now typically fail over to its disaster recovery in five to 10 minutes, which has boosted the university’s confidence in its security approach.

Having a smart information security and disaster recovery strategy goes hand in hand with creating efficiencies for higher education institutions. A cloud-based approach helps universities maintain high security standards and compliance, while also allowing them to divert resources to innovation. As more institutions adopt such strategies, we’ll continue to see how they drive operational efficiencies to produce better outcomes for students.

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