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Challenges and opportunities in cloud learning solutions

cloud learning

More businesses than ever are demanding the benefits of an effective cloud learning program to satisfy their training needs.

Technology has accelerated the adoption of training, with learning management systems (LMS) acting as an accessible classroom, offering engaging content and trackable progress against specific objectives.

Previously, LMS platforms have been developed within internal networks, self-hosted by the company training its employees. Over the last decade, as workforces have become more distributed outside of a single office and the need to train external audiences has grown, the adoption of cloud based training solutions has become more ubiquitous to meet scalability needs with limited resources.

“A key challenge of adopting the cloud is that LMSs often require multiple layers of infrastructure, consisting of hybrid and multi-cloud environments, to meet the high-performance distribution requirements of the platform,” Lloyd Smith, managing director at Wahoo Learning, said. “Learners must also be able to engage with gamified content in real-time and access resources from any chosen device, anywhere in the world. These complex environments can be difficult to manage, both from a commercial and security risk perspective.

Like many SAAS applications, LMSs rarely exist in a bubble but integrate with third-party applications to deliver both core and extension-level functionality. Security considerations need to extend beyond the immediate platform but across the whole sphere of tools. With this large attack surface, businesses need a comprehensive and precise security approach, making the most of the next-gen application firewalls and enterprise-grade encryption for data protection.”

LMS security starts with a Zero Trust policy and security controls. Verification plays a major role through a three-step process: authorise, inspect and secure. A least-privilege governance strategy is usually adopted, where users are only granted access to the resources they need to undertake their specific learning journey, and third-party apps are limited to their integrated function.

To help further mitigate the risks of integrating cloud solutions, businesses can adopt granular policy-based controls and multi-layer authentication protocols. Virtual server protection and software update policies must be enforced with tracked change control, logging and auditing tools.

“Just as training should not be thought of as a one-off and should be regularly revisited, so should threat intelligence,” Smith continued. “Businesses need to conduct regular penetration testing and use AI-based anomaly detection to detect and repair vulnerabilities before they become a security issue.

“These challenges should not deter any business from considering cloud-based LMS solutions. The capacity and functionality provided by cloud servers mean that learning programs can be easily developed and dispersed globally with limited internal IT resources, especially when hosted by a managed learning service provider. We expect that cloud-based SAAS LMSs will continue to grow in popularity as an effective solution to support learners with personalised training.”

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