A robust IT experience is critical to an institution’s success--IT infrastructure that evolves with changing needs deliver a successful experience.

Privacy, infrastructure, and innovation: Keys to success in higher ed

A robust IT experience is critical to an institution’s success, and IT services that evolve with changing needs will deliver a successful experience for all

Colleges and universities need greater flexibility to respond to rapidly changing circumstances–a major takeaway from the pandemic. Many institutions are struggling to support data protection requirements and meet students’ administrative needs. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) Director Jen Easterly recently noted that education is a focus for the agency, as institutions are “target-rich, resource-poor entities….that are part of critical infrastructure, [yet] they don’t have large security teams.”

In addition, many universities are challenged with fluctuating enrollment right now. According to a new report from the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center, enrollment is down 2.5 percent at private institutions and 1.6 percent at public institutions.

Financial difficulties faced by many institutions due to the pandemic, coupled with these enrollment challenges, have resulted in a struggle to support data protection requirements and meet students’ changing administrative needs. Many long-standing business models and expectations have changed, and institutions need technology that enables them to quickly spin up new applications and respond to shifting conditions.

As learning plans continue to adapt, institutions are focused on implementing cybersecurity and privacy practices, infrastructure and networking tools, and innovation and emerging technologies.

By implementing tools to defend against cyberattacks, using as-a-service technology, and embracing innovation, institutions can better deliver for students.

Cybersecurity and Privacy Practices

The pandemic has yielded new opportunities for cyberattacks, including the increased use of third-party tools and new mechanisms for collecting personal data, which leaves institutions wondering if they’ve implemented infrastructure and technologies that will support them in the long run.

In 2021, schools were targeted by more than 5.8 millionmalware attacks–63 percent of all such exploits, Gartner reports. Optimizing ransomware defenses is more critical than ever. Institutions should ensure high-quality defenses at all points, prepare for the worst, and make rapid backup and restore a priority.

Institutions must invest in the most secure systems, prioritizing backup and recovery to guard against potential threats, minimizing downtime, and delivering an optimal student experience. Data protection is a vital component of the contemporary data center that encompasses multiple platforms and technologies, efficiently provides critical data and applications with blazing-fast restores, and enables institutions to continue to derive real value from data. It also plays a crucial role in risk mitigation, continuity of teaching and learning, protecting institutional reputation, and student satisfaction.

Infrastructure and Networking Tools

Student and administration needs are changing. The greater need for flexibility, virtual services, and remote capabilities that emerged during the pandemic is here to stay. To meet and exceed these needs, institutions must employ flexible and agile solutions. Some of the most advantageous IT systems position institutions to better sustain change and growth.

As-a-service technologies can benefit a campus’s IT infrastructure, as institutions need solutions that can integrate seamlessly into existing systems. This will allow institutions to streamline operations while giving institutions the flexibility to scale up or down as needed. A data management platform can empower campus IT teams to support their modernization efforts while simultaneously delivering a unified data protection architecture in support of an enhanced technology strategy. As-a-service solutions can help shift costs and augment the shortage of skills needed to manage technology platforms.

Innovation and Emerging Technologies

Sixty-three percent of higher education leaders say they saw an overall decrease in the IT budget in the 2020–2021 academic year, with a median decrease of 10 percent, Educause reports. Embracing innovation and emerging technologies can help institutions overcome fiscal hurdles.

Many education IT leaders are looking to modernize with cloud-based solutions.These solutions give IT development teams the tools to update their applications, using containers and microservices to gain speed, agility, and scale. They also offer easy backup and restore and enhanced disaster recovery that protects the entire application, including data, application configuration, and container-based objects.

Institutions can implement a container-native environment through the support of containers, Kubernetes, and microservices. This brings a heightened drive for data management for enterprise-level assurance while operating in a fully packaged and portable environment, speeding up development, preventing cloud vendor lock-in, and improving management and security.

Prepping for the Future

Cybersecurity, infrastructure, and innovation are the guiding principles in the higher education space, and institutions must consider them when investing in new systems. Institutions should strive to implement a technology ecosystem that allows them to manage storage and data protection through the use of as-a-service and Kubernetes applications, no matter where they are running.

In addition, a focus on sustainability initiatives can set institutions up for success. Architectural efficiency lowers costs, enables institutions to meet their most demanding requirements, and helps build sustainable storage solutions. Alignment to green initiatives including power, energy, and other sustainability goals, enables IT to advocate for more sustainable platform choices.

A robust IT experience is critical to an institution’s success. IT services that evolve with changing needs will decrease complexity, level-up operations, and deliver a successful experience for students and administrators.

Growing ransomware threats require maximum data protection

Sign up for our newsletter

Newsletter: Innovations in K12 Education
By submitting your information, you agree to our Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy.

Michael Wiseman