The education sector has seen a massive uptick in technology adoption in the past decade. 77% of educators — according to Promethean — agree that technology is crucial to engaging students in an effective manner.
As schools, colleges and universities look to technology solutions to advance themselves into the digital age, it’s hardly surprising that 28% of providers lack confidence in implementing technology to its full effectiveness, and that 16% of providers struggle with implementing technology within their systems.
In education, cybersecurity is an ever-present threat. CSO says that cyberattacks against educational institutions increased by 75% in 2021.
It is therefore now more important than ever for education providers to become wise to the vulnerabilities of modern technology, and how to implement solutions to prevent a possible catastrophe within their systems.
In this article, we’ll explore some of these key pitfalls in implementation, security, and management for schools undergoing a digital transformation. Ultimately, we’ll discuss how modern innovations can provide solutions for these issues.
The implementation of cybersecurity controls in educational institutions has become an essential part of the digital age. Whether you’re prepared for a cyberattack in the education sector or not, there is a risk of losing critical data and systems that are vital to your students. With ransomware attacks on the rise, critical systems may be at risk of being damaged, since they block access to data until a payment is made to unlock them.
Potential attackers may also be able to gain access to sensitive data that is stored on a vulnerable system, such as financial information, personal information of students and employees, and other documents that contain sensitive information.
To counteract this threat, cloud-based solutions with built-in cybersecurity protection are the best solution. With Microsoft Azure, your whole system is protected, with Microsoft Defender protecting your infrastructure from malware attacks, and Azure providing client-side and server-side encryption to safeguard your files.
Complexity and Integration
In light of the security risks associated with moving a system from a physical environment to the cloud, it is not surprising that many education providers are hesitant to integrate technology into their infrastructure. Investing in digital systems may also be hampered by the difficulty of integrating each program into a system that assists students in achieving their full potential.
If you choose a package such as Microsoft 365, then everything you need is already included in your system seamlessly – from Microsoft Office to Azure, all integrated with the cloud – and you can get assistance during the setup process. It allows seamless access both at home and on different systems within your institution, as well as full integration and digitalisation of your system, which is beneficial to both students and educators.
It is also possible to outsource your IT requirements to a Managed Service Provider (MSP), who can help you set up and maintain your system. MSPs have experienced teams that handle the harder elements of system integration seamlessly. This helps you reduce the complexity of setup and administration and ensure a better experience for your students and staff.
According to Robert Walters, 70% of technology companies are facing a skills shortage. It’s visibly becoming more difficult to find IT workers, so IT wages are rising. This presents a unique challenge for schools as they struggle to attract the talent required to manage cloud systems and handle their complex digital needs.
Moreover, costs for the educational sector are rising across the board, it can be difficult to spend so much on technology, as well as finding the right kinds of IT support — especially as the most sought after work is cybersecurity.
It is here that an MSP can help since a dedicated outsourced IT team does not require recruiting – the MSP already has employees ready to help, so you are paying a set fee.
In Promethean’s study, 96% of providers consider budgets when formulating their school strategy – and 50% consider it essential. A surge in costs, however, has caused 46% of providers to struggle to meet their strategic goals due to budgetary constraints. Four out of ten educators report that their institutions don’t spend enough on technology. As a result, any benefits of digital transformation may be difficult to see.
When you use a server-based solution such as Azure, your physical hardware costs drastically decrease — due to lower system requirements — as students and educators only need hardware powerful enough to access and run on a virtual machine in the central servers, which can substantially cut costs.
Also, due to the need to hire a dedicated IT team to ensure the system is set up and operated correctly, IT costs can be higher. In contrast, when you hire an MSP, you don’t have to hire a team, allowing them to maintain your systems much more efficiently — also saving you money.
Embark on your digital transformation with an MSP
A possible reason to be reluctant about digital transformation is the fear of being unable to keep up with the constant technological advancements. When considering that obsolete technology leads to higher security risks and diminished capability as technology advances, this statement is especially true.
This is just one more reason why cloud solutions and an MSP are beneficial. Through a constantly updating service like Microsoft 365, it’s extremely easy to keep your systems up-to-date by keeping them in the cloud.
In addition, MSPs can make it even easier to maintain and keep your system up to date, because you’ll be paying a team of experts to do so, so you won’t have to worry about your systems becoming outdated and slow.
So, are you ready to take your institution’s systems to the next level?