As the benefits of cloud computing become increasingly obvious, a growing number of industries are beginning to embrace it. The newest sector adopting cloud services is education, as they offer students and teachers the ability to access a variety of applications and resources easily and economically. Added security, cost-effectiveness and ease-of-use are also driving the adoption of cloud computing in educational institutions of all levels and sizes, as well as disaster recovery services and the promise of stronger communication and collaboration between students.
Due to the increase in adoption of cloud technology by schools, the global cloud computing in education market is growing at a rapid pace. MarketsandMarkets recently released a report projecting the global market will grow to more than $12 billion by 2019, an increase of $7 billion over five years. The study found that reduced costs, increased flexibility and enhanced infrastructure scalability were major market drivers, as was the growing need for schools to be technologically advanced.
"The significant production of inexpensive computers, Internet broadband connectivity, and loaded learning content has created a worldwide trend in which Information and Communication Technology is being used to alter the education process," the report stated. "Cloud computing is beginning to play a key role in this revolution."
The report went on to say that North America is expected to remain the leader of the market, but the Asia-Pacific and European regions are projected to show the most significant traction.
A separate survey from a technology provider found that almost 50 percent of respondents in higher education made adopting cloud computing a priority because their employees were increasingly utilizing cloud applications and mobile devices in their work. The study also found that IT professionals in higher education expect to save an average of 20 percent over the next three years due to the implementation of cloud services.
Schools see multiple benefits with cloud
A major reason many schools are adopting cloud technology is the ability to cut spending, not just with the cloud services themselves but through the ability to reduce the costs of office supplies like paper and ink. With cloud-based services, teachers are able to make lesson plans, homework and reading available online instead of having to print and copy hundreds of pages each semester.
Another major benefit of the cloud is that disaster recovery and online backup services are built right in to the infrastructure, which comes in very handy as students increasingly complete work electronically. Schools are also benefiting from the large amounts of cloud storage services available. Student records can be kept in the cloud and then encrypted, making them easy to share with necessary parties while at the same time improving security.
With the cloud, students are able to collaborate more easily and effectively as they can work on and edit documents simultaneously. Sharing and transmitting documents is also made easier which improves the ability to receive feedback and improve work. The increased accessibility offered by the cloud also allows students to work on assignments from anywhere with an Internet connection.