School systems nationwide are increasingly shifting to the cloud. In a new brief issued today, CoSN (the Consortium for School Networking) explains the reasons behind the move and what factors districts should consider as part of their digital strategies.
The new report is the latest resource in CoSN’s Smart Education Networks by Design: Cloud (SEND: Cloud) project. Through the project over the next 12 months, CoSN and other education technology experts nationwide are building tools to provide school leaders with the insights and practical guidance they need regarding cloud computing.      
“Whether it’s for disaster recovery or a full migration, the shift to the cloud is happening in various shapes and sizes. This new resource helps clear up the cloud landscape for district leaders as they advance their technology efforts,” said Keith Krueger, CEO, CoSN.  
The brief outlines the following six reasons school systems are moving to the cloud:
1.Security: Moving to the cloud gives school districts more ownership and control of data, helps strengthen district compliance to security standards and audits, improves business continuity and disaster recovery, as well as improves the monitoring of potential security issues.
2.Simplification: Switching to the cloud allows districts to simplify management across servers, strengthen governance rules and management access, implement better procurement processes, as well as support serverless database architecture.
3.Analysis and Insights: The shift fosters personalized learning by leveraging better data and analytics, improves a district’s ability to store educational insights and data sets, as well as enhances a school system’s analytics services.
4.Agility and Experimentation: The cloud can support intensive research projects and provide leading-edge access to experimental platforms.
5.Efficiency: School districts will be able to better leverage their resources and licenses while optimizing workload shifts.
6.Equity: The cloud provides web-based access to resources, opening the door to universal access as long as broadband Internet access is pervasive and widely available to all.
The report also explains important considerations for making the move, including addressing security concerns, developing careful planning and preparations for the shift, and acquiring the necessary cloud training and experience.   
“Districts often have unique needs that are addressed by the cloud. Some just want to solve a specific concern like backups for business continuity; many are using cloud for productivity tools like e-mail and collaboration suites; and other districts may be looking to go all-in cloud. School systems should determine what options and solutions are appropriate for their circumstances,” said Marie Bjerede, Project Director, CoSN.
Read the full brief here.
Earlier this year, CoSN unveiled the Guide to the Cloud to provide district leaders an orientation to cloud computing, advantages and misconceptions, and tips for making the move. The SEND: Cloud project is made possible through the support of Amazon Web Services, Education Networks of America, and Google for Education; CoSN’s SEND Initiative is sponsored by Amazon Web Services, AT&T, Brocade, Cisco, Education Networks of America, FileWave, Google for Education, Juniper, Microsoft, and Sunesys. Learn more here