You can significantly improve the effectiveness of your training processes by adopting a cloud-based virtual training platform. But with the plethora of options out there (both general and premium cloud-based training solutions), choosing the right one for your business can seem like an overwhelming challenge.
Many cloud-based training providers promise effective training for dispersed teams, while keeping the need for resources, investment and additional staff at the lowest possible level. As you do your due diligence, it might be tempting to believe every provider that makes this claim. But keep in mind that, unless they have the following characteristics, they will most likely not be able to deliver on that promise:
In order to be assured of reliability and consistency in a highly flexible and user-friendly training environment, look for a virtual training platform that achieves these three objectives and is aligned with your business requirements:
Ask potential providers if their solutions can be configured to meet your organizational needs, and that they do not require you to make any changes on your end in order to integrate with their platforms. Many providers will tell you that you need to recode or make changes to your architecture, but that is totally unnecessary. You should choose a provider that does not ask for such changes and that provides a solution that makes your life easier.
The ideal provider should also let you keep your IP addresses, storage connectivity and protocols exactly as they are, and shouldn’t tell you that you must change or re-route any on-premise software.
You should also avoid providers that run solely on open-source Linux hypervisors. They usually have limited support for varying operating systems/virtual machines, and are just trying to reduce their expenditures.
The cloud-based training solution you choose should allow you to communicate with and support a dynamic and constantly fluctuating student cohort. The technology should be flexible and intuitive enough to scale easily to any number of students immediately, and make it possible for them to easily follow lectures by logging in at several different times, when needed.
Here are a few questions to ask potential providers to make sure they offer this easy scalability:
Is their server flexible enough to accommodate a fluctuating number of students with just one click?
Is their licensing valid, and can it prevent sessions from being blocked?
Can their system monitor, de-provision, and remove elapsed student training environments?
Are your IP and budget secure, so that you will not end up paying for unused servers or old training environments?
Can they support classes of varying lengths of time and numbers of attendees?
You should not have to worry about uploading material, configuring computers, last minute drop-outs – or even unexpected late joiners. The right cloud-based training provider should enable you to literally “set it and forget it”. Everything should be ready for each student, and scheduled to shut down after the session.
When training students in off-site locations, over-the-shoulder teaching is absolutely necessary. To get the best results from your training sessions, you need a cloud-based virtual training environment that facilitates constant interaction between teacher and student; this allows for constant reviews, visibility of progress and case-by-case evaluation.
Your cloud-based training provider should be able to give you the tools and support to make this possible, such as:
Advanced reporting tools
Detailed access to usage insights
Analytics on student progress, engagement levels, content efficacy, etc.
The ability to control views and access to training materials
The option to customize your virtual training lab with your company branding
The ability to control student desktops to assist them in real time
Your virtual training lab should feel like an actual classroom as much as possible, and it should enable you to conduct classes using your own infrastructure. You should not have to depend on or worry about IT configuration or suffer delays due to logistics setbacks.
Choosing a cloud-based virtual training provider is actually much easier than you might have imagined. By researching the different options and narrowing down your list of providers based on the three characteristics described, above, you will be able to more easily find and choose the one that best suits your business needs and improves the effectiveness and efficiency of your training sessions.
Zvi Guterman is Co-Founder and CEO of CloudShare, a leading supplier of virtual IT environments in the cloud. CloudShare provides its clients with specialized solutions designed to meet a wide variety of business needs. Zvi is an internationally renowned security expert with experience in a range of security domains, including cyber-attacks, data leakage protection, cryptanalysis and cloud security. He also lectures at conferences worldwide, and holds a PhD in Computer Science from Hebrew University.