The business of ed-tech: March Madness edition

Campus IT officials may have a March nightmare of epic proportions

march-madness-businessCampus IT officials haven’t always thought of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament — March Madness — as a technological nightmare of epic proportions.

That’s what March Madness has become, however, on campuses large and small, with students streaming NCAA tournament games on their various mobile devices, laptops, and video game consoles. IT directors watch as mammoth amounts of bandwidth are devoured while the school’s basketball squad makes a push toward the Final Four.

I once had a university IT director tell me that if students hadn’t been on spring break during the school’s March Madness first round game, there could’ve — and probably would have — been major network complications that might have prompted extreme measures.

Those measures could have included blocking devices from connecting to the campus network, just as colleges blocked some students from downloading Apple’s iOS7 when it was released last fall.

Carmine Clementelli, product manager at iNetSec — maker of network security management solutions — said the massive influx of devices connected to a college or university Wi-Fi network during March Madness games accentuates the need for more robust security measures designed to monitor who (and what) is using a school’s web connection.

Traditional network firewalls, Clementelli said, only go so far in guarding against malware, botnets, and other cyber threats from breaching a school’s internet network.

(Next page: Fending off threats)

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