Today’s higher education leaders are working hard to leverage systems that serve students with new needs that did not exist at this scale 10 to 20 years ago. In some cases, institutions have been forced to move forward using legacy technology that holds back the success of their students and hinders institutional efficiency. Institutions should consider utilizing a modern, cloud-based student information system (SIS) that is scalable, secure, and cost-effective. Let’s take a look at why a cloud-based SIS can revolutionize an institution’s operational effectiveness.
An SIS that operates in the cloud offers a new level of agility and scalability that was not available with legacy technology. During times of high traffic, usually the fall and spring semesters, there are high numbers of students and staff using the SIS to enroll and register for courses. On the other hand, the summer may present a quieter time when student traffic is considerably less. Having the agility to scale up and down according to system usage is a cost-effective method that allows leaders to put monetary resources into other areas.
A cloud SIS also allows a greater capacity to work with teams across different departments and campuses. When student data is stored on the cloud, faculty, administration, and staff can access the same information in real time, allowing for quicker decision-making. This becomes even more important as institutions plan to expand majors and certificate programs that cater to the current job market.
Institutions must be prepared for any kind of emergency, including inclement weather, a malicious third party, or even a global pandemic like COVID-19. A cloud-based disaster recovery system should be part of an organization’s strategic operational plan. When data is stored in the cloud, the system will automatically create backup copies records that can include highly sensitive information relating to students, staff, and the institution. This data can be restored quickly in an emergency via the cloud to ensure that an institution can continue to run with little to no interruptions in service.
The cloud’s redundancy and recovery features are becoming more important today as institutions utilize online and hybrid learning models. Students, staff, and other end users cannot afford long interruptions of service, as this may impact completion rates.
Traditionally, institutions needed to purchase physical servers, install them, and hire technical staff to bring them online if they wanted to expand their operations or leverage new tech. Using the cloud, many of these challenges can be bypassed, especially since cloud service providers are regularly updating their services to ensure customers are utilizing the most up-to-date offerings. While there is no way to truly future proof infrastructure, a cloud-based SIS is one of the closest ways to get there. Using the cloud, institutions don’t need to waste time and resources upgrading legacy hardware as this will be done by the service provider.
The first half of 2020 has shown higher education leaders that they must invest in systems that allow for unforeseen variables and challenges that can happen on or off campus. Institutions need solutions that allow them to make decisions quickly and ensure the health and safety of students and staff. A cloud-based student information system can act as the foundation of an institution’s strategic plan to build a more resilient and digital campus.
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