School’s out for the summer, but that doesn’t mean administrators and tech staff aren’t hard at work upgrading technology infrastructure.

K-12 schools are increasingly turning to the cloud to store, manage, and process data. However, cloud adoption is not without its hurdles and concerns.  CDW-G recently released a new infographic, “K-12 Cloud Possibilities,” that highlights the strides schools have made in moving to the cloud, as well as the obstacles still in their way.

Cloud Growth

In 2014, less than half of schools had IT solutions partially or fully delivered by the cloud, but now 67 percent of schools are using the cloud to deliver IT solutions. And the growth isn’t expected to decline; K-12 IT pros expect 74 percent of schools to use the cloud for IT solutions in the next three years.

How Schools are Using the Cloud

The increase in cloud computing is allowing schools to improve the classroom experience, as well as strengthen administrative processes, according to the 400 K-12 IT pros surveyed. With greater access to the cloud teachers can embrace digital curriculum and share resources. Additionally, teachers are able to teach in new ways as they now have greater access to mobile apps, which can be hosted in the cloud. With new educational resources making their way into the classroom, teachers can personalize lesson plans and engage with students on an individual level–helping to improve learning outcomes.

On an administrative level, the cloud helps improve communication and collaboration among staff, administration, and parents. Improving communication and collaboration between key education stakeholders ensures that everyone is on the same page when it comes to student performance, both on a school, classroom, and individual level.

Obstacles to Further Adoption

While cloud computing carries many benefits, it also has obstacles that schools are still grappling with. Nearly half of IT pros surveyed said security concerns were a remaining barrier to further cloud adoption and 38 percent said keeping student data private was a concern. With schools gathering more and more personally identifying data on students, the need to keep information safe and secure is paramount. However, hacks and cybersecurity threats abound in today’s IT landscape. While cloud computing can improve learning outcomes, the benefits must be balanced against potential cyberthreat risks.

Outside of security concerns, 35 percent of respondents had budget concerns. Cloud computing can require a large upfront investment, though many schools do see cost savings in the long term, since less manpower is required when compared to managing data on premise.  Many schools may want to either begin the migration to cloud or deepen their cloud use, some may be boxed out of the technology for purely budgetary reasons.

While concerns exist, nearly two-thirds of IT pros surveyed said that security and budgetary concerns are lessening over time.

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Kate Polit
Kate Polit
Kate Polit is MeriTalk SLG's Assistant Copy & Production Editor, covering Cybersecurity, Education, Homeland Security, Veterans Affairs