How to be a good (data) host now and in the future
Data is the lifeblood of the modern vocational education and training industry.
With a constant need for providers to gather, access, disseminate and store business and student information, ensuring it is flowing freely and is secure is critical to keeping the heart of an education business beating.
There’s just one question. Where’s the best place to keep it?
Traditionally, providers managed their own on-premise servers. As time has passed and technology has advanced, they've moved towards outsourcing the burden. Now, there is a rapid shift towards the advantages of the cloud.
What are the data hosting options - and should you join VET's inevitable migration to the cloud?
1. Hosting your data at home
Hosting data on-premise in locally managed servers is the way that most businesses - including education providers - traditionally managed and stored their data. The advantages in the past have included the following:
For a long time this was simply how data was managed. This gave many providers the comfort of the familiar (complete with the gentle hum of a server room and an IT support person down the hall).
On-premise hosting gave providers confidence they could play a role in limiting things like system downtime, which may be perceived as out of their control when using a third party provider through internet access.
By keeping things in-house, providers assumed control over much of the hosting function, from the security of their student and business information right through to hardware maintenance and basic software support.
Do-it-yourself hosting behind a firewall was perceived as a safer place for data to reside in the past, in comparison with being shipped to an offsite location that was dependent on an external service.
Most educators over time have discovered the drawbacks of managing their own servers on-site. From capital outlays on expensive server equipment to employing or contracting IT support in-house and managing a constantly changing cybersecurity environment themselves, this has often proved to be a headache providers would prefer to avoid.
2. Borrowing a friend’s place
Educators who didn't want the hassle of managing their own servers have also chosen to host data in servers owned and managed by a third party provider, which were located in a location off-site. The advantages included:
- Cost savings
Educators avoided having to direct capital towards on-site IT infrastructure - like their own expensive on-site servers - because they were utilising those that were being provided by the off-site third party provider.
Managed hosting enabled educators to eliminate the challenges of infrastructure maintenance and upkeep. All this was taken care of using hardware and experts that were supplied by their technology provider.
Providers who offered third party hosting services often saw data security as a core priority, meaning that customer's could trust their data was secured with the most up-to-date security measures.
3. Shooting for the sky
Cloud SaaS technology is the real seachange in education business data management. Built for the future, it is rapidly being adopted by smaller and larger enterprise institutions alike. The advantages include:
There are no in-built limits on growth when educators use cloud software. This leaves them free to scale up and scale down their system usage depending on their business needs in the now.
Cloud computing delivers true mobility for educators. All students, trainers and managers have access to a single source of truth for data, wherever they are, on whatever device at any time.
Cloud service providers have the capability to deploy advanced security technologies and practices that are safer than on-premise servers. (VETtrak Cloud is certified to the global ISO 27001 security management standard.)
SaaS models are primarily subscription-based. This reduces upfront expenditure on new software and hardware, and locks in predictable ongoing costs for premium software and service that is continually being improved.
Cloud software allows education providers to stay on top of change thanks to ongoing agile development and regular automatic software releases that support education best practice into the future.
Flexibility and freedom
There is no ‘right’ choice for a modern education business when it comes to hosting and software choice. It will depend on the needs of an individual business as well as how they wish to face the challenges of the future.
It's clear though that, in an era of VET digital transformation, cloud software is the arena where true value has (and will continue to be) created. Access to cloud software is providing businesses with an edge as well as flexibility.
While there are different ways to be a data host, most businesses want to be a good one.
And both now and into the future, being a good host is likely to mean shifting to the cloud.
Explore the cloud with VETtrak Cloud.