Using cloud, collaboration and networking tools
Web 2.0 services enable users to interact, share information and collaborate online. Some examples of these services include web-based communities, cloud computing, social networking, video sharing, wikis and blogs.
Many companies are now offering services and interconnected suites of applications based on these technologies. These are increasingly being considered within the University community for a range of administrative, teaching, learning and research purpose.
In response to the increasing popularity of these interactive technologies, Cardiff University is also developing its own set of collaborative tools and Web 2.0 applications (including Cardiff Blogs, Connections and Quickr). Staff are encouraged to consider using these University services first before engaging with alternative providers.
However, there are some important issues which staff within the University need to consider before using external Web 2.0 services, to ensure the external service does not place you, your data, or your information, at an unacceptable level of risk.
Some of the advantages of using external Web 2.0 services include:
- You can easily make use of the latest technology and select your preferred service from a wide range of options online.
- The social aspect of many services depends on widespread use.
- Using an external service means that your students, colleagues, or research partners can sign up for the same service, making it easier to collaborate across institutions and internationally.
Whilst these are valid reasons for electing to use an external service where there is no suitable internal provision, it is important to recognise the full implications of using an external service, and to understand and accept the level of risk. For example:
- Your information could be at a greater risk of unauthorised use or loss than if you hold it within the University.
- The service provider may change the nature of its service, its terms, or even cease trading.
- It may be difficult to show that you are complying with relevant UK legislation and University regulations.