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You don’t have to be a security expert—these IT solutions will help your institution keep networks secure and empower student learning.

The IT solutions you need to succeed this year

You don’t have to be a security expert—these IT solutions will help your institution keep networks secure and empower student learning

Key points:

There is no shortage of devices on a school campus between students, faculty, and educators. Not only are there school-mandated devices, but the rise of BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) linked to the school’s network has the potential to cause major strain on a school’s IT system, both from campus and at home.

In today’s digital age, one student alone might be using two or three different devices for their schoolwork – that’s more surfaces for security threats to creep in than ever before. Not only is personal device use on the rise, but since 2020, there has been a 19 percent average increase in the overall use of learning technologies.

As teachers and students alike are looking to implement the latest tech to improve lessons and streamline learning, there is a lot to learn when it comes to safely and securely introducing new technology into the classroom.

IT 101: Self-service procedures and remote support

No matter the size of an educational institution, IT departments are typically stretched thin while also working with a limited budget. For small tech teams, it’s essential to ensure as many people as possible are able to help manage the business-critical infrastructure like phone systems, internet connectivity, and remote educational tools, to minimize downtime and poor user experiences. Setting up a self-service tool can significantly streamline upkeep for these systems, allowing school staff to troubleshoot smaller issues without taking up the IT team’s time and resources. 

Remote support and management solutions also play a critical role in keeping technologies running smoothly, especially for problems that are too complex for regular faculty to solve on their own.  With it, IT teams can remotely view the device or software experiencing issues, investigate the problem, and guide staff through the fix or remotely take control and troubleshoot the problem directly – all from any location. That saves valuable time and resources, allowing teams to solve issues for teachers and students in the classroom, at home, or elsewhere.

Regularly updating your IT plans and solutions

The key to any successful classroom is ensuring the curriculum remains as up to date and relevant as possible. This holds true for IT teams, too. Students regularly use virtual collaboration tools, online chat rooms, machine-powered learning assistants, and more recently, AI-powered tools in and out of the classroom. McKinsey found that in 2022, “technologies that enable connectivity and community building, such as social media–inspired discussion platforms and virtual study groups, saw [a 49 percent] uptick in use, followed by group work tools, which grew by 29 percent.” These technologies are helping shape the education system, and IT professionals are a driving force behind making them accessible – and reliable – for students and teachers. 

Emerging technologies require teachers, students, and IT teams to develop new skills. IT teams should collaborate with educators to understand what technologies teachers want to implement in the classroom and to ensure that these technologies are deployed and used properly. A great way to foster that collaboration is by hosting regular meetings outlining recent technology updates, offering onboarding sessions, and providing a platform to answer questions that can help with initial adoption pains. 

While the COVID-induced learn-from-home era accelerated the adoption of technologies used for remote learning, faculty and students in classrooms or wherever the learning takes place are still challenged when adopting new technologies. By offering remote support tool options for educators, IT teams can bridge gaps between the classroom and tech. With a plethora of remote support tools available, IT departments should look for solutions that are simple and user-friendly for non-technical faculty members or students to receive assistance. Adopting support solutions that offer state-of-the-art security and effective troubleshooting functionality is vital in streamlining the problem-resolution process. 

A lesson in crisis planning

Today, it is hard to keep pace with the constant influx of new devices and technologies that education systems leverage. The rapid changes to the environment increase the risk to security and privacy. In fact, “the educational services industry [recently experienced] a dramatic increase in ransomware attacks, accounting for over 30 percent of breaches.” 

The rise in education sector cyberattacks proves why school districts, higher-level institutions, and IT leaders need to take the lead in cybersecurity crisis planning, outlining how to identify, respond to and recover from cybersecurity incidents. 

To reduce the risk, schools should focus on choosing products with proven built-in security measures, such as 256-bit AES encryption, multi-factor authentication, and zero trust network access, enabling students and staff to securely connect with multiple platforms and devices, while also proactively protecting against threats.

Educational decision-makers should also invest in IT remote management tools that are easy to deploy, use, update, and manage. Such tools will not only reduce cost, and improve efficiency of IT teams, but will be essential when responding to and recovering from a cybersecurity incident if the need arises. 

It’s an exciting time for the education sector as emerging technologies open a realm of opportunities for both faculty and students. With the above IT security measures and best practices in place, schools can reap the benefits of these tools while also keeping their students and faculty safe from cyberattacks.

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