Tag Archives: university

Drifting Off to College: Universities & the Cloud

The cloud has helped countless businesses and enterprises gain a competitive edge on the market. From nonprofits to the largest Fortune 500s, cloud storage and syncing offers secure solutions that are both cost-effective and convenient. For universities and colleges, private cloud services offer streamlined admissions, secure grading, and protections for student records. The cloud also grants universities the capabilities to offer online education opportunities, from real-time feedback over the web to entire courses, like in the example of Open Yale.

Admission Office at Tulane University

Photo courtesy of asergeev.com

Recently, Far Eastern University switched to NetSuite SuiteAcademy, a program that brings cloud-enabled management to global classrooms. Through the program, the Philippines-based institution has enabled offsite learning through online modules. Instead of having to purchase a wide range of software, NetSuite’s SuiteAcademy offers students flexibility in being able to learn anywhere with an Internet connection on their own devices. According to Dean Celito C. Macachor of the FEU Institute of Accounts, Business and Finance (IABF), “We see the cloud as the future of software. Introducing cloud-based business instruction through NetSuite SuiteAcademy can enable us to give students highly sought-after skills that today’s employers covet as more companies migrate to NetSuite cloud business management. Being in the cloud, NetSuite makes anytime/anywhere learning and education possible for both our students and faculty.”

Cloud Technology and Education

Image courtesy of edtechmagazine.com

The recent switch also makes marketing admission much easier for the university. As James Dantow, NetSuite’s Vice President of Worldwide Support and General Manager for the Philippines, told DigitalJournal, “FEU has staked out a leadership position in preparing students for a fast-changing business world with hands-on instruction of the world’s leading cloud financials/ERP software suites. FEU’s partnership with SuiteAcademy can not only make FEU graduates more appealing to employers, it makes the university itself more appealing to students looking for an outstanding business and accountancy education, and the practical cloud computing experience that employers demand.” Even software language giant Rosetta Stone, has put its weight behind the cloud, investing in the cloud-based online learning programs like Livemocha and Lexia Learning Systems.

The Potential Future of the Cloud for Education

Image courtesy of edtechmagazine.com

Along with online learning, colleges can leverage the cloud for better admission operations. Before online admissions, colleges and universities would be flooded with loads of paper applications to keep track of. With cloud-based admission procedures, institutions can store and sort thousands of applicants online instead of having to hire hordes of temp workers. While system shutdowns can derail an entire admissions season, angering applicants and their families, the private cloud offers a safe space for application storage. One recent cloud adopter is the Undergraduate Admissions department at Tulane University. With over 30,000 applicants each year, Tulane found a solution in the cloud. As Tulane’s Vice President for Enrollment Management, Earl Retif, told PRWeb, “We pride ourselves on our evaluation process as well as the support we provide to students and their parents. Over time, we realized we’d reached a tipping point where a more robust infrastructure was essential to sustain a quality admissions experience. Increased application numbers meant increased call volume, which strained resources while posing challenges to an equitable and comprehensive review….[the cloud is] a superb solution, not only as a secure place to store our data, but as a strategic, low-cost cornerstone of our disaster recovery plan. We’ve seen the kind of results we were hoping for. Increased efficiencies and automation are allowing staff to focus more time than ever on problem solving and admission decisions. We’ve also seen a significant increase in the percentage of completed applications, adding even greater equity and opportunity to our process. We made the right move at just the right time.”

Securing Records & Grades in the Private Cloud

Universities and colleges must protect student records and grades to preserve the integrity of higher learning. But hacking attempts and privacy concerns brought on by the PRISM program can severely damage institutional brands. Instead of relying on drastic systemic change, universities should exclusively seek out cloud services that offer user anonymity and strong data encryption. That way, even in this case of a security breach, student and school data would be protected.

For many universities, finding a truly protected third party cloud service can be a challenge as many “secure” services on the market have security gaps that leave private school and student data wide open to third party attacks and even governmental spying, in the light of the ongoing NSA PRISM program. One cloud storage and sync service that sets itself apart from the rest of the market is SpiderOak Blue. This service provides enterprises with fully private cloud storage and sync, featuring all of the benefits of the cloud along with 100% data privacy. SpiderOak Blue is available with onsite deployment and private servers or outsourced deployment through a private and secured public cloud server.

SpiderOak protects sensitive school data with 256-bit AES encryption so that files and passwords stay private. Authorized accounts and network devices can store and sync sensitive data with complete privacy, because this cloud service has absolutely “zero-knowledge” of user passwords or data. And all plaintext encryption keys are exclusively stored on approved devices because SpiderOak never hosts any plaintext data. This way, even if programs like NSA’s PRISM continue to stand unchallenged, universities can rest easy knowing that their data is truly protected while earning diehard alumni loyalty by publically securing student information. SpiderOak Blue’s cross-platform private cloud services are available for colleges and universities on Windows, Mac, and Linux platforms, along with Android and iOS mobile devices, allowing flexible solutions for online and mobile classrooms.

What people are saying about SpiderOak (Pt. 3)

Over the past few days, we’ve been highlighting what our users are saying about us. In case you missed it, you can view our posts from Friday and yesterday.

We appreciate SpiderOak users, and one of our favorite things is getting to know you. Our loyal customers and fellow privacy fanatics have continually helped us create a better product and develop and grow as a company.

Cody, the pharmacy student:

Konrad, the computer geek:

“I came across SpiderOak a few days ago and gave it a bit of testing. I absolutely love the pricing plans, especially with the student discount. As a fellow computer geek, I also really appreciate all the security features. You are doing an awesome job as far as doing things properly is concerned.”

Alexej, the savvy solution-seeker:

“Back before I discovered SpiderOak, I was feeling the need to set up some kind of backup and sync between my work and home computer. I never, ever would store any data that is personal on someone else’s server unencrypted though. What was I to do?! I searched and tried and eventually came up with an encfs-Volume in a Dropbox folder. Believe me, it was a day’s work for me to figure out how to get this running on OS X including installing the Linux files, making a bash-script that would mount the volume automatically so it would always be ready to use, etc. But finally, this allowed me to store and sync files remotely while ensuring they were encrypted on my side on the fly. That was the first – at least functional – solution I used; I had tried a few other ways before but they all fell short in terms of usability. Then, I found SpiderOak – and you guys! You can imagine how moved I was to see that somebody was doing just what I had looked for for all the right reasons and in just the right way! Great company, great people, good reads on the website, and all in all such a feeling of relief, both safe and secure.

The best test was a recent hiccup while backing up: transfers just froze at some point and nothing seemed to be working anymore. But thanks to the way SpiderOak is coded and stored, nothing got lost, the re-installation of my primary device’s backups and syncs were a breeze, and Laura (Customer Relations) was a pleasure to talk to and get assisted by.”

Don’t be shy – what about you? What has been your SpiderOak experience? Leave a comment below.

(Psssst…tomorrow we will kick off our limited special offer of 25GB for $30. We’ve had a lot of requests for a 25GB offering, but this will be our first. Be sure you don’t miss out – it will only be available for 3 days!)

Intro – How SpiderOak Was Built

Welcome to SpiderOak University. If you’re a student, new user, or a lover of continuous learning, this month we’re focused on you.

We’ll be posting a couple video shorts each week where SpiderOak CEO Ethan Oberman uses a whiteboard to explain some of our basic product functionalities. School yourself and keep an eye out for an occasional quiz so you can receive extra GBs.

Ethan explains how SpiderOak began in 2006 in an attempt to solve two distinct problems.

Do you have a .edu email address? Don’t forget – you can enjoy 50% off your private backup/sync/share account:

Sign up today.

How we got here

Welcome to SpiderOak University. If you’re a student, new user, or a lover of continuous learning, this month we’re focused on you.

We’ll be posting a couple video shorts each week where SpiderOak CEO Ethan Oberman uses a whiteboard to explain some of our basic product functionalities. School yourself and keep an eye out for an occasional quiz so you can win extra GBs.

Ethan explains how the backup industry as a whole got to understanding and using cloud technology, and how the movement from the firewall to personal devices is causing companies to look at different solutions.

Do you have a .edu email address? Enjoy 50% off your private backup/sync/share account:

Sign up today.

SpiderOak To Open Up The Doors To SpiderOak University

School should not only be a place where learning occurs, but a state of mind. When children – or adults – approach school, they should open their minds, brains, and hearts to learning, unlearning, and relearning. Here at SpiderOak, we are always learning and always encourage others to learn – whether it is our Zero-Knowledge privacy policy or the way our SpiderOak client works on your computer.

Enter SpiderOak University

Tomorrow, we are opening our doors to SpiderOak University. We will be hosting classes taught by our very own Ethan Oberman. Once a week, all students of SOU (SpiderOak University) will be able to take a quiz to get FREE storage!

Are you ready to put your thinking cap on? We sure hope so. We look forward to seeing you on the first day of class!

In the meantime, please enjoy this open letter to students by Vblogbrothers.