The Data Integration Challenge as Higher Education Adopts the Cloud

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Higher education has its collective head in the cloud, and that’s not a bad thing. According to a new survey from MeriTalk, 81 percent of respondents said their institutions plan to increase spending on cloud initiatives in 2017, and 60 percent are integrating the cloud into their IT strategies. Today, 39 percent of applications in higher education are cloud-based, but that number is expected to jump to 62 percent by 2021. The most popular cloud-based applications are email (86 percent), web hosting (84 percent) and custom applications (82 percent).

Increasing adoption of cloud services is no surprise as higher education institutions look to leverage the same benefits as corporate America. Minimal capital expense. Pay-as-you-go pricing. Smaller onsite IT infrastructure. Fewer management and maintenance responsibilities. Virtually unlimited scalability. Anytime, anywhere access to network resources. Why would schools not embrace the cloud?

The benefits paint a rosy picture of cloud adoption, but there are obstacles that organizations struggle to overcome. In the previous post, we explained that security is a growing concern in higher education, which has become a top-three target for cybercriminals. Security challenges tend to become more complex as cloud services are introduced. In fact, the MeriTalk survey found that privacy and security are the biggest concerns when moving applications to the cloud.

While security has been a longstanding issue with the cloud, organizations are only beginning to recognize the challenges associated with application and data integration. Many organizations are already struggling with the “data silos” that result from applications that are unable to interact with each other. The problem becomes even more complex when cloud services are added to the mix.

When an organization begins to use a cloud-based application, the application’s data is likely to be kept separate from other systems and may be controlled by the cloud vendor. Because so many different applications can be accessed via the cloud, and a growing number of vendors provide these services, organizations can quickly end up with a high number of cloud data silos. This causes operational complexity and inefficiency as data essentially becomes trapped in various cloud applications.

As you plan your cloud strategy, you need to keep these issues in mind and consider implementing a data integration solution. Data integration makes it possible to bring together information from multiple applications and sources, including the cloud. By knocking down data silos, you improve visibility, security and control over your institution’s data and applications, which become easier to access and manage.

Axiom’s platform-independent Extract, Transform and Load (ETL) tool delivers a number of advanced features not found in other offerings, such as manual data verification, duplicate prevention, and a complete data change audit trail. We make it easy to capture data from one source and integrate it with another to prevent the proliferation of data silos. Contact us to learn more about how the Axiom can help higher education overcome data integration challenges, reduce complexity and risk, and maximize efficiency.