Jul 19 2022

How Universities Can Manage Cloud Storage Limits

As vendors start restricting free cloud storage, colleges and universities must take stock of their current practices.

The adoption of cloud computing in higher education has improved the way teachers, administrators and students learn, collaborate and share information, while offering cost savings on data storage. But as the era of free, unlimited storage comes to an end, institutions must rethink their existing cloud storage practices. A 2021 Internet2 Cloud Storage Working Group survey polled higher ed IT leaders and found that nearly everyone (92 percent) is concerned about the imposition of new limits on and/or costs for content storage in the cloud.

Here are four steps higher ed IT departments can take to audit and manage their cloud storage.

1. Use Automation and Retention Tools

By deploying automation and content retention tools, higher education institutions can automatically delete old or inactive videos, images, messages and files. These tools allow admins to set parameters for length of storage and recovery windows to help users retrieve deleted files for a designated period of time.

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2. Diversify Cloud Storage Platforms Based on Usage

Many cloud platforms have started offering flexible-consumption or pay-per-use pricing models and subscription services, allowing organizations to scale storage as their needs change. With a consumption-based service, storage can be leased based on immediate demands. Alternatively, organizations can go the subscription route — also called Storage as a Service (STaaS). An organization can pay only for what it uses, while the service provider takes care of the lifecycle management.

3. Separate Individual Storage from Department Storage

One challenge of limiting storage is separating individual files from department files. Many universities are doing governance work around this issue and changing their data retention practices. According to the Internet2 survey findings, higher ed institutions want tools that help them understand storage based on individual users, and more than half are migrating data from cloud content collaboration services to other places.

LEARN MORE: 4 ways cloud adoption can support climate-friendly initiatives in higher ed.

4. Communicate Storage Limits to Students and Faculty

Migrating from one service to another won’t completely solve the problem of storage limits. Higher ed institutions need to set up controls that allow users to store content correctly. If students and faculty are used to unlimited storage, communication and training are key to helping them understand which files should and shouldn’t be stored indefinitely.

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