Innovative initiatives can fall flat when matched against the need to run operations efficiently and maintain existing endeavors. However, the cloud can enable organizations to do significantly more with fewer resources, as was recently exemplified by Saint Francis High School in Mountain View, California. In an interview with THE Journal, the school's technology director Larry Steinke highlighted the benefits his organization achieved by utilizing the cloud.

Similar to the staffing challenges of many small companies, Steinke's IT department only consists of two people. He told THE Journal that the cloud enabled his limited staff to better serve the technology needs of 1,700 students and more than 100 faculty members. In addition to moving away from on-site backup, Saint Francis High School leveraged the advantages of cloud storage and disaster recovery services to improve access to critical resources. Steinke noted this allowed the limited IT staff to focus on other initiatives within the school.

"We have chosen various cloud service providers based upon their demonstrated ability to meet our objectives for data storage, reliability, compatibility, and cost," Steinke told THE Journal. "With respect to disaster recovery, cloud storage also removes many of the issues related to hardware and software compatibility. We can also review and recover backup files from a central location without the need to find tapes or compatible tape drives."

Unexpected outcomes are frequently bad news, but technology can sometimes be accompanied by positive surprises. Steinke told THE Journal one of the things that surprised him was that his cloud services came with monitoring and reporting tools that enabled his organization to manage data and capacity more effectively. And more educational institutions are beginning to make the shift to cloud services. As Campus Technology writer Alicia Brazington noted, Boise State University is also in the midst of a large-scale technology shift. The university has integrated a total of 12 technologies with both on-premise and cloud infrastructure.

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