Schools focus on data analytics, cybersecurity

Dell survey ranks cybersecurity as top concern for higher-education IT professionals; Dell will offer data science analytics software for free

data-analyticsAt EDUCAUSE 2015, Dell announced the Dell Statistica Free Academic Program, a free version of its Statistica advanced analytics software now available to all U.S. college students and professors, to help boost interest in and preparedness for data analytics careers.

The Dell Statistica Free Academic Program is designed to bolster college students’ interest in data analytics.

Recognizing the nationwide shortage of data scientists and other professionals with data analytics skills, and the increasing importance of employees with analytical skills in our data-driven economy, Dell has made its advanced data analytics software free for college students and professors in the U.S. through the Dell Statistica Free Academic Program.

A solution that does not require coding and integrates with open source R, Dell Statistica delivers advanced and predictive data analytics tools that help organizations predict future trends, identify new customers and sales opportunities, forecast industry shifts, explore “what-if” scenarios, and reduce the occurrence of fraud and other business risks.

The Dell Statistica Free Academic Program provides college students with free access to industry-leading advanced data analytics technology, as a well as a host of support materials, including a free online statistics textbook, how-to-videos, and access to a growing base of collegiate and professional users in the broader STEM community. The free offering also applies to all college and university professors, enabling them to make hands-on practicum a more relevant part of their curriculum, and to aid in their own research endeavors.

“The use of predictive analytics is key for us as we continue to work at improving student retention rates,” said Patrick Bauer, chief information officer, Harper College. “Our model leverages analytics to pull disparate data sources together to provide a reporting framework, so at-risk students can be identified quickly and early intervention can increase student success.”

“Today’s organizations, including institutions of higher education, depend on advanced technologies in security, data analytics and mobility to stay ahead of student and faculty needs. At the same time, they realize that students who gain knowledge and expertise in these technologies learn critical career-enhancing skills,” said Jon Phillips, Dell’s managing director of Worldwide Education Strategy. “Today, we see a dangerous nationwide shortage in professionals with data analytics skills, which has prompted Dell to offer our Statistica advanced analytics software free for all U.S. college students and professors.”

Dell also revealed the results of a security survey conducted by the Center for Digital Education, which found that while organizations in the higher education industry are now better aware of the latest threats and vulnerabilities, numerous challenges still remain.

Survey findings include:
• 73 percent of respondents rank cybersecurity high or very high among their institution’s technology priorities;
• While institutions rank their ability to detect and block cyber-attacks relatively high, with 65 percent citing their abilities as good or excellent, only 17 percent indicate they have not experienced a network breach/incident in the past year; and,
• 77 percent of respondents expect to spend more on network security in the next 12 months and 63 percent expect to spend more on secure access to data and applications.

Material from a press release was used in this report.

Laura Ascione