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IT @ Northwestern Transformation

Over the last several years, critical Northwestern IT workloads have migrated to the Cloud. The market success of Cloud services and practices is reshaping the IT industry and will require significant transformation of IT @ Northwestern organizations.

While the continued evolution of the Cloud is reshaping all areas of IT, the changes facing infrastructure and operations organizations are acute and imminent.  A significant portion of current IT @ Northwestern infrastructure and operations roles and responsibilities will require substantial transformation to remain relevant within the next three to five years.

Effectively migrating and managing IT workloads in the cloud requires different skills and organizational strategy than those currently practiced with on-campus service platforms. IT roles and responsibilities specialized around specific products, operating systems, or single technology silos are no longer required when workloads are moved to the cloud.  The Cloud Practices and Recommendations sections of this site provide additional information about the new skills and practices utilized by mature cloud organizations.

Current training and collaborative opportunities are available on the Resources section of this site.



Northwestern has contracts in place with both Amazon’s AWS and Microsoft’s Azure cloud services.  All university business conducted on either AWS or Azure should be hosted in accounts governed by the university contracts.

Benefits of contract-governed accounts include; direct billing to a university chart string, administrative access to accounts managed via NetID and secured by two-factor authentication, and the full contractual and legal protection of the university. New contract-managed accounts can be quickly provisioned and existing individual accounts can be easily converted to university accounts.

Additionally, Northwestern has BAA agreements in place with both AWS and Azure allowing the use of either for HIPAA workloads so long as those workloads are managed in accordance with the HIPAA guidelines.

Guidance on requesting a cloud account is available at the Cloud Platforms section of this site.


University Policy, Security, and Cost Management

Current Northwestern IT policy provides undifferentiated guidance for IT workloads based on the hosting platform.

IT @ Northwestern Units are responsible for the development and implementation of procedures to appropriately manage and protect IT workloads and data hosted either on on-campus platforms or in AWS and Azure.

The Northwestern Cloud Planning Group has developed minimum security requirements and management recommendations for cloud hosted systems. These recommendations are available in the Recommendations section of this site.

In addition to security guidance,  these recommendation include  several tools and practices which enable IT @ Northwestern organizations to effectively manage the overall cost of cloud hosted systems.

All IT @ Northwestern organizations are encouraged to leverage these recommendations.