Boston University Technology Plan Boston University Technology Plan Information Services & Technology

Cloud First Principle

IS&T’s Cloud First Principle

Our strategy for campus IT computing resources will employ a “Cloud First” principle in alignment with the IS&T Technology Plan. Public cloud-based solutions will be the primary, prioritized, and preferred IS&T architecture deployment model for all new business processes, workloads or applications that meet the University’s needs as the first step. We are also fortifying our networking capabilities by partnering with internet leaders such as Internet2 for high capacity service delivery. IS&T offers support and consultation for moving new and existing workloads to public cloud based services.

What is Cloud Computing?

Cloud computing involves the use of software and infrastructure provided through data centers operated by Cloud Service Providers (CSP). These offerings include Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) products that are managed end-to-end by a vendor. Boston University already uses a wide variety of SaaS products for example, Office 365, G Suite for Education, Blackboard and ServiceNow. Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) offerings allow IT professionals to build customized technology environments within a data center operated by a CSP. Amazon Web Services (AWS) is the most significant vendor in this space, both by market share and functionality according to the latest analyst reports. Microsoft and Google services are expanding their service offerings and are expected to offer competition to AWS.

What are benefits of the cloud for Boston University?

Cloud computing offers Boston University an opportunity to achieve significant improvements in functionality at the potential for reduced costs, especially as related to future capital cost avoidance. We believe that the current environment presents an opportunity to transform our IT services and operations in a significant way. The major benefits offered by the cloud include:

  • Scalability. Cloud services offer us virtually unlimited capacity.
  • Resiliency. Cloud services are highly durable and spread across multiple geographic locations.
  • Agility. Rapid deployment of IT resources allowing us to create services rapidly.
  • Cost. The “pay as you go” model of cloud computing, potentially reducing costs.
  • Innovation. IS&T’s staff are able to rapidly take advantage of industry trends advancing services.
  • Compliance. Providing contracts most stringent compliance options for Boston University services.

Are There Risks With Cloud Computing?

The risks associated with cloud computing parallel those in running on-campus data centers. The primary difference is that in a cloud model we depend upon vendors for some risk mitigation activities. Some of the highest profile consumers run in the cloud today. Such customer examples include the federal government, financial institutions, private sector and many of our peers in higher education. The presence of this information demands that the cloud maintain the highest level of security controls at all of their facilities.

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