Like most organizations, you are probably using the Cloud to share files and backup data. But over the next year, 33% are planning to move mission-critical applications and databases to the cloud*. For some institutions, the high computing power associated with cloud computing is welcome for purposes of research. For nearly every institution, Cloud promises the ability to distribute learning materials efficiently and consistently, track course progress, and aide distance learning.
We recommend an IMS strategy (Identify, Match and Secure), as you mature your Cloud infrastructure: (1) Identify your business goals, (2) Match with the right Cloud infrastructure, (3) Secure endpoint devices.
Identify & Match
If efficiency and collaboration is your goal, move email to the Cloud if you haven’t already. This will reduce the burden on IT or the costs of outdated 3rd party email servers.
Are you using more than one public cloud provider for storage and collaboration? Consolidate rather than creating data silos or make use of publicly available APIs to link services together.
Further down the collaboration path, you can deploy ‘virtual desktops’ to your users with a solution such as Lenovo Unified Workspace. This workspace aggregation solution makes it possible to provide access to public or private web-based apps on any device. Access to educational libraries, legacy Windows apps, remote desktops, cloud storage and file shares - all become user-friendly and cost effective in a web-based workspace.
Migrating on-premises or hosted databases to the cloud? Private cloud is the right solution if you have legacy applications. Otherwise, consider ‘hybrid cloud’ which combines private and public services. Complex workloads, related to mathematics, physics or engineering, can leverage on-premise infrastructure, improving control and reducing latency, but still enabling scale and efficiency through collaboration services on the public cloud.
Finally, if your needs are file sharing, database storage and backup, don’t over-engineer; it is likely that Public Cloud is the right way to go, enabling you to realize cost and efficiency benefits without investing in infrastructure. Around 50% of organizations like yours are using a public cloud solution* only.
Three quarters of cloud data breaches are caused by malicious acts or human error** with most of those targeting endpoint devices through malware, or because data was stored inappropriately on unsecured devices.
For education staff with access to sensitive research or examination material, protecting endpoint devices will be a critical aspect of Cloud security. Issue high-risk users endpoint devices that support multi-factor authentication (e.g. biometric security) and enforce MFA policies. In addition, full-disk encryption of devices will protect them from giving up their Cloud access credentials in the event of theft or loss.
* Lenovo research, 2017 ** Ponemon, 2017 Cost of Data Breach Study