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Offering the promise of instant access to data, applications and other technology tools from anywhere in the world, cloud-based computing can be an attractive concept for forward-thinking educational institutions and their IT professionals. However, migrating part or all of an institution’s information into the cloud can be an enormous feat, and IT officers should plan carefully to make sure that their organizations are prepared to make the leap.

“The Four Factors of Planning a Cloud Deployment,” a November 2014 article published by EdTech, gives university leaders suggestions on how to prepare for such a transition. The article was written by Karen Scarfone, a consultant with Scarfone Cybersecurity and a former computer scientist for the National Institute of Standards and Technology.

Scarfone says that IT managers need to be careful to evaluate all of the requirements of a potential cloud system, then develop a strategic deployment plan to ensure that key requirements are met. She suggests a plan that takes into account four key areas, identified by the acronym “SPIL.”

“When planning a cloud deployment and management activities, organizations need to address SPIL: security, performance, integration and legal requirements,” she writes. “Each of these concerns has a significant effect on optimizing operations to make a cloud work, both operationally and financially. Omitting any of the SPIL requirements from consideration makes the cloud implementation less likely to succeed.”

Security concerns require administrators to evaluate the sensitivity of the data they will be placing in the cloud, as medical or financial data require much higher security standards than some other academic information, Scarfone says. Administrators should carefully consider the performance needs of their cloud systems too, she says, as some custom-built software can require much more computing power than standard office productivity tools.

When considering integration needs, Scarfone says, IT officers should consider which different software and systems will need to be able to share information in the cloud, and should seek to make the most of APIs (application programming interfaces) to maximize efficiencies between services.

Finally, she says, universities should consider the legal ramifications of cloud deployments, ensuring that their information storage meets all the requirements of applicable compliance initiatives, such as HIPAA, PCI DSS, and the Sarbanes–Oxley Act (SOX).

The full article from EdTech is available here:


Content originally published on Learn more about Interfolio’s acquisition of Data180 here.