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Cloud Futures @ Lehigh: Balancing Access and Risk

Cloud services

Cloud computing enables the Lehigh community to access technology resources—email, software, storage, etc.—over the Internet. It's fast, convenient, and an undeniable trend. However, the ease and hype of cloud computing needs to be balanced with the risks and complexities associated with securing Lehigh's data. Lehigh needs to be concerned with:

  • • complying with government regulations
  • • supporting secure and appropriate access
  • • safeguarding intellectual property
  • • ensuring business continuity

While technology-savvy students have embraced the cloud computing trend—fueled by a desire for near-constant mobile connectivity—staff and faculty use the cloud to operate more freely among data sources, locations, and collaborators. In developing a campus cloud strategy, the big challenge is finding solutions to mitigate concerns with using non-secure consumer services (such as Dropbox) to store or transmit Lehigh data.

Last spring, Lehigh adopted a Cloud Computing Policy to guide the campus in evaluating, selecting, and using university-sanctioned cloud solutions. The policy outlines categories of data and levels of control required and establishes guidelines for evaluating cloud service providers (CSP). Lehigh has contracted with a number of CSPs for important services, including the course catalog, employment applications, MyLehigh alumni community and directory, and most recently, a graduate application service for the four colleges.

Cloud solutions funded and supported by LTS include:

  • Ensemble Video is a web-based multimedia content management tool for publishing and sharing videos.
  • Google Apps for Education delivers a suite of services including Lehigh Google Mail, a feature-rich web based email system, and Lehigh Google Drive, a web-based document creation and collaboration tool.
  • Qualtrics Research Suite provides a full-featured, web-based tool for creating and conducting online surveys. The license covers all faculty, staff and students, and should be used in place of Survey Monkey.
  • Box is a document management system that promises a secure resource for storing and sharing Lehigh data. LTS is currently evaluating Box as the cloud service to replace Dropbox. If the fall pilot is successful, LTS will roll Box out to the campus in 2014.
  • LTS utilizes InCommon—a federated authentication tool, to provide secure, role-based access using your Lehigh credentials—for all LTS-sponsored cloud services.

LTS is committed to partnering with students, faculty and staff to identify and use secure solutions that support the needs of the campus community and enhance teaching, learning, and research at Lehigh. For additional information, please contact your Computing Consultant or the Help Desk.