dreamstime_xs_30266879The expectations of students, professors, and administrators for IT services at colleges and universities across the United States are greater than they have ever been. Students and professors alike expect to have great apps to handle registration, course selection, and research grant submissions, as well as the ability to reach out and get all of the data they need immediately anytime and anywhere on campus, whether delivering that data to students or accessing that data to study or research.

That kind of challenge has grown immensely in higher education and for the technology manufacturers and solutions providers who work with them. That is why I’m excited to attend next week’s EDUCAUSE Annual Conference in Indianapolis. It is a “must attend” higher education IT event that offers an engaging and informative program, opportunities to build professional networks with other education and technology experts, and to learn about best practices in higher education technology from around the world.

NetApp is excited to work with many of the colleges and universities that have created these best practices and have the chance to show others how our data management solutions can help other institutions. Whether it is helping them to deliver better services through a new student information system, a data warehousing solution that allows greater access to data for professors, students, and administrators, or a virtual desktop infrastructure that allows faster access to services through mobile devices or laptops, NetApp has experience to share at EDUCAUSE.

One of the main things we value about meeting with the higher education IT community at EDUCAUSE every year is the chance to hear about the challenges that they face in terms of delivering services to their constituents and working out how we can help with innovative solutions.

There has been a philosophical shift in higher education when it comes to the cloud. CIOs and administrators know they need to deliver these services more quickly and more reliably.  They know that cloud solutions can help, but need to understand better how it works and what the results and benefits will look like. I mentioned rolling out a student information system or a data warehouse project, and higher education tech leaders are wrangling with whether to offer on-premises or in the cloud or a hybrid of those. NetApp can help create stellar service delivery on campus, establish data center consolidation with real disaster recovery, enable faster access to information on a faster network, and tie all of that to the cloud.

Educators must remember that they cannot just “send everything to the cloud.” We work with our clients to figure out what apps and data they can send to the cloud in the right way that guarantees redundancy, access and – most of all – security of those apps and data. Everyone at higher education institutions, from the chancellor to the deans to the CIO, cares about finding ways to leverage the cloud while still maintaining that security, and NetApp can help them with the complex decisions they must make.

I look forward to EDUCAUSE and plan to bring back as much information I can share on GovDataDownload about best practices in technology for higher education and some of the unique ways that NetApp helps colleges and universities around the world.