Why the cloud is a magic bullet for small educational institutions.
For any NPO, cash flow is a constant concern. This can be a particular problem when it comes to expensive infrastructure requirements, such as IT. Every school relies on some amount of IT infrastructure to support its operations and serve students.The problem schools face is that their small scale makes it cost prohibitive to build and maintain a really robust, secure, and sufficiently monitored infrastructure and network. The fixed costs necessary to build an optimal IT infrastructure is often beyond the reach of smaller institutions. As a consequence, they will spend enough to superficially support their operations, hoping to get by until they become large enough to support a fully supported and redundant operation.
However, “getting by” is not an ideal model for success. And it can be pretty nerve-wracking for an administrator. This is where the advent of the cloud has really changed the IT paradigm. Small schools no longer have to wait to “grow up” to operate with a fully-supported infrastructure. The cloud is essentially a method to share with other organizations the fixed costs of hardware, software and support. For example, if you were to hire in-house support to provide 24/7 monitoring and support, that would mean at least three full-time salaries to watch over a very small infrastructure. However necessary 24/7 support might be, it can’t be justified in a small operation. But with the cloud, a school shares that expense with others. The cloud represents a major breakthrough for cutting the high fixed costs of an IT infrastructure. Schools that have any IT infrastructure should look seriously about moving some or all of their hardware, software and monitoring support to the cloud. Sticking with the “in-house” model just doesn’t make economic sense. It is time to move on.