UofL's Acting CIO explains why the university is pushing more storage into the cloud to better meet their ever-increasing storage needs, improve data security, and keep employees from going rogue.
Whether it's cutting-edge research findings or sensitive student information, today's colleges and universities must store and secure massive amounts of data. Increasingly, CIOs in higher education are using cloud providers for help. Katherine Stevenson, acting CIO for the University of Louisville, says UofL has seen the benefits of cloud storage and is expanding it's use of the technology.
"The university has an inexhaustible appetite for data. It doesn't matter how much disk storage we purchase. We will fill it, it's never having enough.
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To meet demand, UofL teamed up with cloud provider Box, about a year ago. The move is easing issues with storage concerns.
"I'm told that they accept the challenge of me filling it up faster than they can make it available. We were able to provide that as a centrally funded, centrally administered resource to the university that was extremely well received. It helped to incentivize our university community away from using their own solutions like going out and finding a different product and putting it on a personal credit card or other similar ways of scratching that storage itch".
Regardless of the platform, Stevenson says security is always top of mind.
"We're only just dipping our toe into the cloud waters. We pervasively encrypt everything just as a matter of best practice. If we're storing it on a disk system we encrypt it. If we're transmitting it across the network we encrypt it. It's not that we're expecting someone to break into our data center and steal a hard drive or somehow tap the traffic over the network. It's just a simple best practice that's relatively easy to meet and our regulators expect it".
When it comes to moving to the cloud, 451 Research Analyst Conner Forrest, says big enterprises like universities and large corporations need to first decide what features they're looking for.
"You need to be thinking about how you want to approach your content. You may want to consider a more traditional ECM, which is a enterprise content management approach and possibly something that offers tools like document capture. Other considerations include your desired level of collaboration and if you want workflow optimization and even sales enablement".
Forrest points out there are many vendors to consider when choosing a content management services provider.
"The space is populated by major players that a lot of people know like Box, Dropbox, Microsoft and some Google options. There are also a great deal of startups and groups in that middle market that can provide real value as well".
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