In this article you will read about,
- why the Bonn-Rhein-Sieg University of Applied Sciences relies on a hybrid model when it comes to the cloud,
- why it opted for the Open Telekom Cloud for data protection reasons,
- how it makes it easy for its students to access the Open Telekom Cloud and how it promotes the entrepreneurial spirit of its students with cloud competence.
"We want to combine good, practice-oriented teaching with applied research at our university," says Dr. Luigi Lo Iacono, Professor of Information Security at the Bonn-Rhein-Sieg University of Applied Sciences. Cloud computing is one example of how this works. Naturally, the topic is included in the curriculum of computer science students, and therefore they should also have to deal with the public cloud as early as possible. "I really want my students to acquire competence and scientific knowledge in cloud computing in a real environment." Hence the decision to add a public cloud to their own private cloud and use resources from the Open Telekom Cloud to do so. "The students thus develop, learn, and carry out research in an environment that they could also find later in their jobs. This really motivates our students.”
Raising awareness of data protection
The university has been using the Open Telekom Cloud since April 2020; as a security expert, Luigi Lo Iacono was involved in the selection of the cloud service and was the first of the professors to use the public cloud. What tipped the scales in its favor? "Data security and cyber security are focal points of my teaching and research activities." In other words, the professor looks very closely at what cloud service providers offer in terms of data protection and information security. "For a long time, I worked with a hyperscaler offering in my lectures and seminars." For data protection reasons, he looked for an alternative and found it in the Open Telekom Cloud.
Telekom's public cloud offering also impressed Professor Lo Iacono because of the fact that the academics and students can process their data there in a GDPR-compliant manner. "This is a very important aspect for our research. Because companies provide us with very large data sets so that we can investigate attack patterns, for example." The benefits of the Open Telekom Cloud are a good opportunity to discuss the topics of GDPR, data protection, and data security with future developers, he said. "In their developments, they should think about how to protect sensitive data from the very beginning, ask themselves whether one cloud provider might be more suitable than another in this respect." Part of academic teaching, he said, is setting an example when it comes to security in institutes and faculties and making students aware of the pitfalls of digitalization. After all, they will have to handle the personal data of their company and their customers responsibly later in their professional lives.
Quick account creation
But the simple user management of the Open Telekom Cloud was also a persuasive factor: accounts for students can be easily created without having to provide personal data such as credit card numbers or address details. An option not offered by the US hyperscaler previously used, as the provision of each user's credit card data was a prerequisite. The Identity and Access Management (IAM) also supports project work at universities and colleges. For example, Professor Lo Iacono can use his tenant to create several separate projects for different users and set up and revoke access as needed.
Becoming familiar with the cloud world
The first steps are usually taken in the private cloud, where the students develop the first prototypes of their applications. This is where they "warm up" to the cloud services, and where they also try out their first research approaches. From the fourth semester on, the future computer scientists use the Open Telekom Cloud, set up their servers, storage areas, databases, and firewalls in the public cloud, provide them with their programs and develop their SaaS services, paying particular attention to the security of these distributed application systems. A high percentage of students at the Bonn-Rhein-Sieg University of Applied Sciences, he said, are extremely eager to start their own businesses and show a keen interest in getting to know more than just the top dogs among cloud infrastructure providers. "They want to try out the technology and see what you can do with it."
Always innovative: Cloud Container Engine and AI
The possibilities of the IT infrastructure are far from exhausted, says Professor Lo Iacono. Currently, for example, the students are using elastic servers to build larger distributed environments in the cloud for their projects, or they are using relational databases to deal with attacks on these kinds of database-driven cloud systems. "We build the environments for that and then figure out how to program our IT services to make the attack go nowhere." Coming soon: the Cloud Container Engine, which the Open Telekom Cloud also provides and which allows containers to be built with both virtual machines (ECS) and bare metal servers. Also under consideration: ModelArts, the comprehensive development platform for artificial intelligence, as well as the possibility of setting up private forums within the Open Telekom Cloud community: "We could offer students a place there to exchange ideas, post answers to frequently asked questions, and participate in training courses in the public area of the community as well as read helpful tutorials."
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