Challenges of Cloud Computing in Education

As with all other forms of technology adoption, cloud computing has its own constraints. Some of these challenges include security, data privacy as well as insufficient network.

Data handling issues and privacy laws are matters of concern for any organization. A lot of academic institutions may be skeptical about sharing the hosting of sensitive data and services outside the institution. Some key issues considered by educational establishments when migrating to the cloud include the following:

Security and Privacy

Cloud computing requires the approval of a third-party data management service provider that receives and provides sensitive data over the Internet. Hence, the risks of hacking and intrusion are significantly increased.

Real Benefits

Many higher education institutions are still apprehensive about adopting cloud computing because they are still not convinced about its benefits. As a result, these institutions are more concerned about acquiring and maintaining their own traditional IT infrastructure.

Lack of adequate network responsiveness

Many learning institutions, especially in underdeveloped countries, lack satisfactory Internet infrastructure that leads to low bandwidth. While there are usually ways to reduce the latencies and improve the response time, the network speed of the Internet Service Providers (ISPs) within a certain geographical location represents a fixed performance of the cloud service which cannot be altered.

Data security

This is arguably the biggest challenge faced when adopting cloud computing. Institutions are more comfortable when their data is hosted within the institution because whether at rest or in transit, the possibility of loss or leakage is still high when the data is stored remotely with no physical control over it.

Furthermore, if there is a breach of confidential data such as those in environments such as a public cloud, affected parties may take legal action against the institution to bring all types of unfavorable publicity and unnecessary legal costs.

Unsolicited advertising

Since cloud service providers have access to an institution’s data, the data collected by the cloud providers may be sold to commercial entities that may use this contact information to send unsolicited advertisements or promotional emails to users who may be unaware that their personal information is now in the possession of a third-party. In some parts of the world, unsolicited advertising is illegal.

Lock-in

When preparing to migrate an institution’s data to the cloud, clients must make sure that they choose a reputable cloud service provider that will cater to every need that may arise, especially in the future because the vendor lock-in problem is common as clients are dependent on a single cloud provider and its accompanying technology.

The problem arises when the client decides to switch between cloud providers for whatever reasons and find it extremely difficult to integrate into or migrate to, or terminate the services of one cloud vendor and migrate to the next without losing data due to technical software incompatibilities, paying high switching costs, or dealing with some other legal constraints. This can be overcome by doing due diligence and selecting the right cloud service provider.