Developing a new cloud strategy
As Lafayette College began to update and roll out their school’s campus-wide cloud technology strategy, they had some big decisions to make. Part of the task fell to Bill Thompson, director of digital infrastructure for Lafayette College. With more than 15 years of experience in higher-education technology, Thompson specializes in open source identity and access management systems, and has been a key contributor to the Internet2 TIER program.
Lafayette College had been using G Suite – formerly known as Google Apps – since 2010 for students, faculty, and staff. But they wondered how G Suite services stacked up when it came to migrating, securing, and administering their data and infrastructure needs in the cloud. Would it be more effective and a better value than their existing on-premises infrastructure?
"When G Suite Enterprise for Education made enterprise and data security controls available to higher education – that changed our thinking on campus."Bill Thompson, Director of Digital Infrastructure, Lafayette College
The pivot point: enterprise-grade admin tools and security
For Lafayette College, a key factor was the release of G Suite Enterprise for Education, a new edition of G Suite for Education that offers additional enterprise-grade capabilities. As Thompson explains, features like advanced security tools and IAM administered through the security center dashboard, mobile-device and bring-your-own device (BYOD) management, and enhanced support services made all the difference.
And because Lafayette College had already functionally deployed Docs and integrated it with their Identity and Access Management (IAM) stack, G Suite Enterprise for Education allowed them to quickly integrate through the identity system. Staff and students were already familiar with G Suite tools like Drive, Calendar, and Gmail – which were being used for personal email by more than half of Lafayette College users – which meant less training and ongoing support.
"With G Suite Enterprise for Education, we look forward to not having to worry about deploying the physical resources to run those services on-premises and shifting resources to other priorities across campus."Bill Thompson, Director of Digital Infrastructure, Lafayette College
Saving costs and redirecting resources to research
John O'Keefe, vice president and CIO of Lafayette College, says that beyond ease of adoption, their analysis suggests that G Suite Enterprise for Education will lead to significant savings in time, support, and overall costs. And freeing up resources will have a much broader impact. It will help the school attract and retain faculty – and build for the future.
As he explains, “Shifting to G Suite means we can reinvest those resources into ramping up our support for computationally intensive research methodologies. Those capabilities have become much more important to faculty, not just in science and engineering, but also the humanities and social sciences. Part of our cloud technology transition includes redirecting resources from existing, on-prem infrastructure towards computation and storage needs that will meet the demands of the next generation of research, teaching, and scholarship.”