TEACHING THE TEACHERS
As the largest provider of teacher education in the U.S., Lesley University has been “teaching the teachers” for more than 100 years. With campuses in Boston and Cambridge, Mass., Lesley University has served teachers at every stage in their teaching careers—from pre-college programs for high school students investigating the teaching field, to undergraduate and graduate degrees and recertification courses for veteran teachers needing to brush up on their skills. “We serve teachers who are looking for recertification, teachers who want to come up to date in their field and really have the tools they need to really reach out to their students,” says Scott Boulet, Director of Enterprise Applications and Servers at Lesley University
Lesley’s educational programs are not confined to the Boston campus; in fact, the university runs remote programs and seminars all over the country. This means a fair percentage of faculty and staff are on the road at any given time, with the same requirements for seamless data and network access as the campus-based staff.
THE NEED TO SYNC & SHARE ON THE ROAD
Lesley University needed to provide its faculty and staff with remote access to data from wherever they were and on whatever device they were using. The university had tried a number of different solutions over the year, including VPN. But VPN depends on the availability of high-speed Internet access, which is not always available. In addition, the university ruled out consumer file-sharing services such as Dropbox or Google Docs due to their lack of security and control.
“We didn’t want to take any chances that our institutional data would be out there and available to our competitors or anyone else who could farm it for profit,” Boulet said, “What we really needed was an easy way for our users to sync and share files from the road, but with enterprise-level controls and the ability to secure, manage, track, report, and encrypt file-sharing activity.”
A SIMPLE YET POWERFUL SOLUTION
After an intensive evaluation period, Lesley University settled on a deceptively simple yet powerful solution: EMC® Syncplicity® Enterprise Edition, a next-generation, cloud-based solution for secure file synchronization, mobility, and collaboration.
“Our tech council ruled out solutions that required us to place additional hardware in our data center," Boulet relates. "Everyone on the tech council has a mobile device so they could see instantly how Syncplicity could help them do their jobs. Plus, we know that EMC is a company that we can trust with our data, and that the solution will be around and supported in the long term.”
USERS JUMP ON BOARD
After an easy deployment of the software, Lesley University initially targeted its faculty to adopt Syncplicity. “At first, people thought it was too good to be true—could they really access all of their documents from any remote location, using their iPhones and iPads?" explains Boulet. "But gradually, people learned about the system through the grapevine and realized how much time and inconvenience it could save them. Once they figured out that all they have to do is touch the Syncplicity folder on their device, they were hooked.”
Syncplicity is now hovering around a 52 percent adoption rate after only seven months, significantly above the norm for software adoption at the university.
By untethering our users from their desktops, we're lowering our hardware costs and reducing the load on our servers and network. Couple that with seamless data access for our users, and Syncplicity is a real win-win."
Because Syncplicity stores users’ information in the cloud, Lesley University is experiencing the key operational benefits and savings that come from a reduced reliance on desktop resources.
"With applications like Syncplicity, we need less desktop storage, fewer standalone drives, and fewer support calls from people needing more space or a VPN account," Boulet says.
He continues, "With desktop footprints getting smaller and smaller, being able to safeguard our data in the cloud and then access it from anywhere is a huge advantage. By untethering our users from their desktops, we're lowering our hardware costs and reducing the load on our servers and network. Couple that with seamless data access for our users, and Syncplicity is a real win-win."