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What You Missed At EDUCAUSE 2018

Last week, we attended the EDUCAUSE 2018 Conference in Denver, Colorado with over 4,000 attendees from the higher education community around the world. This was our first year as an exhibitor and we were looking forward to learning where higher education institutions are in their cloud maturity. Here are just a few of our takeaways from the conference, including a preview of the EDUCAUSE 2019 Top 10 IT Issues.


Cloud Adoption is Just Beginning

Although several higher education institutions are already multicloud users, many institutions are just starting to plan their migration to the cloud. Deciding which of the big three cloud providers to go with; AWS, Microsoft Azure, or Google Cloud, can be tough, and these cloud providers are ready to battle. All three cloud providers were Gold Sponsors at the show and were trying to steal the spotlight. AWS had their Ed Tech Start-Up Alley once again, but Google Cloud decided to attract attention by having a “smart” basketball court that leveraged analytics and machine learning to provide real-time stats on your shooting performance based on where you were on the court and how you compare with other players (attendees).

All gimmicks aside, each year more institutions are migrating to the cloud and taking advantage of the various services that cloud providers offer. As higher education institutions follow the path to cloud maturity, they will encounter obstacles related to cost management, security compliance, and governance.

Central IT is a Change Agent

Closely aligned to data-driven decision making is the evolving role of IT departments, often referred to as Central IT. As higher education institutions strive to meet the growing demands of students, faculty, research departments, and administrators, they are taking advantage of technological advancements, and more specifically, the public cloud.

The public cloud presents an opportunity for many institutions looking to revamp their architecture and differentiate their services, and Central IT has the power to be the leader of the institution’s cloud strategy development. We spoke with CIOs, CTOs, Directors of IT, Directors of Infrastructure Operations, and more, throughout the week and they were all interested in gaining additional visibility into their cloud data and improving management of their hybrid and multi-cloud environments.

Data-Driven Decision Making

To no one’s surprise, information security topped the charts for the fourth year in a row as the number one IT issue for higher education. Preventing security threats is, and will remain to be, a key concern for institutions, however, data integrity and being able to implement governance practices across multiple applications and platforms were also included in the data-related categories that made the EDUCAUSE 2019 Top 10 IT Issues. Creating guardrails to manage cloud infrastructure has become a core component to achieving success in the cloud, especially for university systems that need to centralize governance. Many of these guardrails revolve around operational, financial, and security best practices.