Cloud Technology Services

Mission Statement

The Cloud Technology Services division of ITS facilitates the successful delivery and implementation of cloud technology services through coordination, monitoring, and reporting of project activities and serves as a liaison with campus departments, assigned technology staff members, ITS leadership, and other administrative service areas, as needed, from request inception to system completion.

Services Provided

To accomplish this mission, Cloud Technology Services provides the following assistance to the campus community:

  • Consultation on selection of a cloud service
  • Information on services already approved and licensed by Baylor departments
  • Guidance through the ITS review and approval process
  • Explanation of technology issues and Baylor IT standards
  • Contract review and advice from a technical and best-practice, but non-legal, perspective (i.e., it will still need review by the Office of General Counsel)
  • Coordination of IT representation to the cloud services vendor
  • Coordination with appropriate ITS areas for:
    • Authentication services
    • Integration with administrative systems, such as Banner student and Banner HR, PeopleSoft (Trax), CBORD ID system, etc.
    • Networking services
    • Other technology requirements, as applicable
  • Monitoring and reporting of project status within ITS

ITS Cloud Strategy

In the effort to accomplish its mission, ITS strives to provide excellent service to the campus community. As the university has moved to leverage cloud computing capabilities to meet many technology needs, ITS has transitioned toward a “cloud-first” approach for the majority of new systems. Currently, these systems are primarily classified in the "Software as a Service" (SaaS) model and should meet these standards. Special consideration may be given if these standards are not met, or if there is a compelling reason for an on-premise solution. In addition, ITS has begun the process of testing services classified as "Platform as as Service" (PaaS) and "Infrastructure as a Service" (IaaS) with the objective of making these technologies a part of Baylor’s cloud portfolio.

What is the "cloud?"

The “cloud,” or “cloud computing,” is loosely defined as on-demand access to shared computing services or resources which can range from infrastructure (i.e., processors and storage) to software applications. Typically, these resources are provided by an outside vendor and are supplied on a subscription-type basis. At this time, Baylor is primarily focused on the SaaS model of cloud computing. In the SaaS model, the service and/or data is most typically accessed through a web browser or mobile device, and the customer (Baylor) does not house the data or manage the underlying infrastructure (servers, network, etc.). The PaaS and IaaS models require more technical expertise from local IT personnel for maintenance and support.

Why has the cloud become so popular?

There are many benefits to cloud computing, including:

  • SaaS solutions are standardized software and not dependent on development by University staff members, so they allow for faster implementation of new services, also resulting in rapid increases in the portfolio of services and applications available to the campus.
  • Cloud services bring real savings in capital expenditure because required servers, storage, networking equipment, etc. are not purchased, managed, and refreshed on campus.
  • Personnel resources in client and IT departments often dedicated to system design, programming, and infrastructure support can be re-directed to other mission-critical work.
  • Cloud services are able to scale quickly, increasing or decreasing license quantities or capacities as demand changes.
  • New functionality updates, new system versions, and required patches are managed and installed by the provider on a regular, published schedule which relieves Baylor staff members of this work and affording the ability to effectively plan for the changes.
  • The subscription cost model provides a predictable amount for budgeting purposes.
  • Greater ease of access is often a direct result of implementing a cloud service - you do not have to worry about where the data is stored and the data is often accessible from multiple devices, including mobile.
  • Because cloud services are built on robust infrastructure, including redundant datacenters that must provide security, performance, and reliability, these systems usually include strong disaster recovery capacities which is inherent to the architecture and not usually available with on-premise solutions.
  • Many users are already familiar with the idea of a cloud service as they use publicly available cloud services such as social networks (Twitter, Facebook, etc.), YouTube, and Google.
  • There is greater variety and availability, as many desired software applications are now only offered as cloud services.

Next Steps

ITS is available for advice and counsel on any cloud services that your department might be considering, or to answer questions about cloud computing in general and how it might help your department achieve its goals. ITS also has external resources available that can be used to help in the evaluation of these services.

Before proceeding with a contract for any cloud service, you will need to fill out the Technology Capture and Technology Security review forms located here. Please be sure to review the Standards and Other Considerations before completing the forms.

If you have any questions about cloud computing or the contract approval process, or need assistance with the review forms, please contact Mark Mastin by email.