by Dallas Hindle, Solutions Architect at Computelec
According to our Annual research, movement to Cloud is one of the top 3 trends in Non-Government school IT infrastructure, with 85% of respondents citing its benefits. Worryingly, there is still a common lack of understanding, meaning very few schools have a defined strategy in place for moving to the cloud.
One of the key things to know is that cloud migrations can be a gradual process, tailored to your needs. For example, many schools take a ‘toe in the water’ Hybrid Cloud approach by first moving and monitoring non-essential data externally before deciding what to do with more critical resources down the track – a smart way to safely and confidently transition.
Below are a few key steps and considerations to help you become cloud-optimised.
1. Outline your objectives and unique requirements
Place educational outcomes at the top, then ask yourself what else you are trying to achieve - increased productivity and flexibility, eliminating redundant hardware and large bulk upgrade purchases, or gaining a competitive advantage?
2. Conduct an audit to see if your current network can support a movement to the cloud
You may already be further along than you think; if you currently have iPads or Chromebooks, or use Mathletics or Office 365 – you are already in the public cloud because these are essentially Software as a Service (SaaS).
3. Stabilise internet with a backup data link
The keystone of any cloud based system is a strong data link to your network, so if your sole transit Internet connection is unreliable and expensive, you are not only wasting money that could be better spent within the school, you are also jeopardising performance, business continuity and ultimately uninterrupted learning. There is little point setting up a cloud environment if you do not have fail-proof Internet. Schools currently in the public cloud with Office 365, Chromebooks etc. should be prioritising this point with the utmost importance as this can affect learning in a collaborative cloud environment.
Those schools who have already implemented a second connection often use their existing link as the backup then implement our network connectivity (to a private cloud) and Internet as a Service – which provides them with up to 4 concurrent telco providers. By implementing a second data link, if one Internet provider drops out, you have an uninterrupted cross-over, and everything continues.
4. Re-visit your objectives
Once you are cloud-optimised, you can then begin to implement the various Cloud services as required. Look back to your objectives; if you wanted to eliminate desk phones, maybe Skype for Business as a Service is for you. If you wanted to lower capital expenditure on expensive networking equipment, then perhaps Infrastructure as a Service, Backup or Disaster Recovery as a Service are also options for you. The possibilities and benefits are endless.
Watch the below cloud computing video series for more information on Cloud in an Educational context, or contact us today.
Dallas works with our schools in a strategic and consultative fashion to support their ICT direction and decisions, working with them to develop solutions and strategies that are best of breed and right sized for their needs. He is focussed on delivering Managed Services, cloud and Infrastructure solutions and engaging closely to assist schools with Strategy and Roadmaps to help them gain a firm grasp on the direction that their ICT infrastructure and systems will be taking over the next several years.