You may constantly hear people make reference to “the cloud” and still have no idea what it really means. The difference between cloud based and regular software is that with the cloud, you are not actually storing your data on the device’s hard drive, instead, you are accessing data, applications, and software all through the Internet. It is becoming more common to see K-12 districts switching over to cloud technology support. As more schools become digital and invest in expensive devices like Chromebooks, more teachers come to the conclusion that Google’s cloud based tools are the easiest and most effective way to encourage collaboration between teachers, students, and parents.

In our opinion, cloud based technology support is a great option for K-12 schools. Before you make the change, it is important that you ask the hard questions. You should understand the pros and cons of cloud support technology to ensure that it makes sense for your district’s direction and goals.

There are many pros to the cloud. It is important to take into consideration how it will work specifically for your students and staff and to figure out if switching over will save you money. For most schools, the cloud is a cost-effective way to cut back on the budget. Not having to maintain your own server or pay a consultant to do so is a money-saving factor to consider. Many schools face budgeting problems, so the cloud is definitely a great option for schools who need extra cash but do not know how to cut back.

The cloud is also effective when it comes to the collaboration and communication between students, teachers, and parents. If you switch over, teachers and students can easily send messages back and forth, and parents can log on to a student’s account from home to check out their child’s progress. Students can no longer claim that they lost their homework or forgot it at home because assignments are completed online and can be accessed from any device with browsing abilities. There is also no need for flash drives or other portable devices to backup files because students and teachers can pull up files through applications.

Cloud based computing is perfect for 1:1 schools because administrators have the option to disable missing or stolen chromebooks to ensure that non-authorized users cannot access the contents. Inappropriate apps and websites can also be blocked from student access if your district desires. As you can see, the cloud is a very student and teacher friendly server.

If a non-cloud based server crashes, it is usually complicated and time consuming to recover lost information, but with the cloud, data can be restored quickly. Cloud based technology offers users more data space and the option to upgrade the data plan at any time depending on the needs of students and teachers. Storage space is basically limitless. There is also no need to install and upgrade applications on each individual device because everything is online, not on the device’s hard drive. Cloud based computers do not need to be upgraded regularly and accessing software and applications online is much more convenient.

Of course not every server is perfect, and cloud support has some cons as well. The most prominent con regards the aspect of security. We’re sure you’ve heard of data breaches involving the cloud on the news, and when a breach occurs hackers can get their hands on confidential information like attendance records, medical data, phone numbers, and social security numbers. Schools, after all, are popular targets when it comes to hackers. There are a few simple ways that you can ensure that your information stays protected and that if a breach ever does occur, you’ll be prepared for it.

Many data breaches can be prevented as long as important files and information are encrypted and firewalls are installed. It is also important to note that some data breaches occur because of user error. So if you decide to switch over to cloud computing it is essential that you educate your staff on what applications are safe to enter information into and to teach them about security risks and how to protect private information.

We stand by our belief that the cloud is a great option for K-12 schools. If you want to switch to cloud technology support, we recommends that you do you research and understand what you’re getting into.

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