Welcome to our new eNewsletter, Spotlight on IT.  Each month we will spotlight a different trend or topic in the information technology world.  If you would like to receive this publication in your inbox, subscribe here.

For this month’s spotlight, we’re talking all about the cloud.

Due to an innovative and evolving IT world, nowadays when we hear the term “cloud”, we don’t often think about what we see in the sky, but rather, the promise and convenience of accessing files from any location.

There are four options when it comes to the cloud: private, on premise, hybrid, or public cloud and more and more IT departments are turning to the cloud for their infrastructure, platform, and software needs.


Cloud Market

With the promise of speed, flexibility, reliability, accessibility, and cost benefits it’s no surprise that cloud computing is on the rise.

  • There are 50 million servers in the world today and 60% of server workloads are already virtualized.
  • In 2013 there was an estimated 1 Exabyte of data stored on the cloud. That’s 1,073,741,824 GB of data.
  • In 2014, the market for cloud computing was worth 56.24 billion U.S dollars. This value is predicted to increase to 128.3 billion U.S dollars by 2019.
  • In 2015, Amazon Web Services generated $7.88B in revenue. This number was up 69% from the previous year.

Cloud Research

Researchers are turning to cloud computing resources for on-demand access to easily accessible and collaborative resources, and high performance computing.

  • A Carleton researcher has a vision for a cloud-based platform that would enable researchers to share information, tools and resources related to research on the management of smart facilities.
  • The Ontario Research and Education Cloud (OREC) is a service available to educators and researchers that uses Virtual Computing Lab (VCL) technology to deliver research and education software packages.
  • Research Computing Services provides researchers with the support, expertise and resources necessary to conduct research computing at Carleton. Amongst other services, the team offers access to open and commercial software through Carleton’s OREC.
  • The School of Computer Science are using OpenStack, a cloud management solution to manage virtual computing and storage resources, to provide fast and convenient computing and storage resources.

Cloud Strategy

A 2015 EDUCAUSE study found that “CIOs expect a significant shift in focus within the next five years, away from managing primarily infrastructure and technical resources and toward managing vendors, services, and outsourced contracts.”

  • Several institutions, such as the University of Notre Dame, Harvard University, and Queens University have adopted the formal cloud-first strategies that aims to move the vast majority of computing to cloud-based providers. And Simon Fraser University recently released their Cloud Computing strategy.
  • According to a recent eCAmpus news report, Software as a Service (SAAS) is “by far the most commonly used cloud computing service in Higher Education”.
  • Security is the top challenge for cloud computing followed by data ownership.
  • Prior to signing cloud computing contracts, our Legal Council have indicated that they require a standard security assessment completed (including a Privacy Impact Assessment) and submitted to General Council.

Staying Safe in the Cloud

University departments planning on using cloud services need to be aware of the security policies and standards as well as provincial and federal laws that come with the cloud computing territory.

Carleton’s Cloud Computing Guidelines and Cloud Computing Policy outline the security requirements on the use of cloud computing in order to protect confidential and information being processed, stored, or transmitted by cloud computing services.

5 Things We Thought You Should Know

  1. CUAD2016Carleton University Appreciation Day was a resounding success thanks to the hundreds of faculty and staff who came together to celebrate our connection to each other and this great university.
  2. Infographic: This month’s infographic highlights service desk stats, the rise in malware in higher ed, and traffic to the ITS website.
  3. Web Services Events: In June Web Services hosted two events: a Social Media Talk and a Writing Great Posts Workshop and they have two events coming up in July.
  4. Clutter: ITS is in the process of turning off the clutter feature on all Carleton email accounts. Here’s what you need to know, including how you can turn it back on.
  5. Security Tip: At Carleton, over the past four months we have seen a 46% increase in spam and emails with malicious attachments and last month over 80% of email messages coming into our email gateway were blocked by our spam blockers. Here’s what you can do to protect against phishing, malware, and ransomware.