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The Future Technology Challenges in Education

5th, December 2017

Faced with insufficient digital capability within internal resource skill sets the criticality to improve digital skills of everyone within HE is essential for driving future efficiencies and generating value for money from technological investments.

With the rise in student expectations and demands, integrated and streamlined IT systems can ensure a smoother, more cost-efficient administrative process.

It’s more important than ever for Higher Education institutions to have the technology to handle the demands of complex organisational structures and to organise their data. It’s the best way to streamline functions like recruitment, talent management and data analysis.

During the academic year 2015-16 there were 2.28 million students studying at UK HE institutions. According to Universities UK in 2014-15 the sector supported almost one million jobs contributing £21.5 billion to UK GDP. Universities support UK economic growth in many ways. They generate and translate world-class research into new products, services, processes and ways of working.

Regardless of the sector in which you operate there is a growing need for storage management for the increasing amount of data that is generated.
To support complex software applications and to effectively allocate system resources, Higher Education institutions need to focus on improving their existing architecture. Faced with the challenging task of accommodating new applications whilst balancing the requirement to meet the increasing demand for capacity, security and all on reduced resources.

Several recent trends are increasing the requirement for HE providers to react to the rapid adoption of technology;

• Increase in Bring Your Own Device (BYOD)
• Big Data
• Rise in Ransomware
• Storage Security

Let’s look at the increase in adoption of BYOD within educational institutions. A popular trend which is allowing users to access education networks on their personal devices. Aimed at enhancing the learning experience whilst developing 21st century skills for the future generations. But do the benefits out way the consequences?

Due to lack of funding, schools, colleges and universities rely on students bringing their own tablets, smart phones and laptops to use whilst learning. However, this notion poses concerns over data security breeches as well as a potential threat to the complete operation of the establishment. Typically, schools share the same architecture. With students’ devices, likely to be unprotected, being connected to the network they could potentially act as easy loopholes to cyber-attack.

In the Bradford Networks ‘Impact of BYOD on Education’ survey, based on more than 500 IT professionals from within the education sector, it found that 89% allowed students to use their own devices on campus networks however, 27% stated that they granted open access to the school network to anyone without registration whilst 54% said that they did not require Antivirus products to be installed on the device prior to being connected to the network.

Maintaining information security for educational institutions is a growing concern with Ransomware attacks threatening to encrypt every single file on the network with the devastating result of bringing the daily operation to an abrupt end.

Staff and students alike are relying on the reliability of the data that is captured and stored. Losing student grades could result in students not being able to graduate and losing out on that all-important job offer. Not only is a reliable system required that ensures that a backup process is in place and that it can cope with the handling of power surges at busy times such as assignment deadlines and exams, but it needs to have the capacity to store humongous amounts of data which requires constant storage management. A challenge in itself.

Ensuring that Education providers have the correct system in place to react to changes quickly is paramount. Development in technology will continue to advance and so will the amount of data that we produce, therefore Educational institutions need to review their IT strategy to ensure that reliability, security and accessibility are sufficient.

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