From connected classrooms to modernised facilities, today’s education providers are adapting to and adopting emerging technologies to bring their institutions into the modern age. However, as educators embrace digital transformation, they face new and complex challenges with their IT infrastructure.
On one hand, education providers prioritise transparency and collaboration for the sake of learning. On the other hand, they are subject to intense and ever-evolving security pressures. In fact, cyber attacks are of one of the biggest threats facing the education sector, with figures showing that a fifth of education establishments have been hit by an attack.
To remain competitive, education providers must keep pace with digital innovation, whilst also ensuring the highest levels of security. At the same time, IT departments are challenged with solving complex challenges with limited budgets. A successful digital transformation requires a holistic strategy that addresses not only technology, but also personnel, budget and operational issues. Here, we look at some of the top considerations in driving digital transformation in education.
The Internet of Things (IoT)
As technology continues to transform education, many are looking to create “smart classrooms.” Smart classrooms are outfitted with connected IoT devices that foster collaborative learning and automate common classroom tasks to make better use of faculty and student instructional time. These smart classrooms often include tablets enabled with educational applications and software, smart boards, attendance tracking capabilities, etc.
Though these IoT devices help reduce complexity and minimise support requirements in the classroom, they’re inherently insecure and often targets for hackers. That’s why it’s imperative that security leaders have the right tools to manage and secure increasingly complex IoT networks. We partner with industry-leader Fortinet to offer a range of solutions that enable IT leaders to see everything connected to the network, including headless devices, as well as the ability to onboard and control those devices and users, all while providing dynamic, automated responses to threats.
In addition to data theft, a classroom of tablets is also vulnerable to physical theft. A smart classroom can easily represent more than £10,000 in hardware costs alone. Equipping classrooms with secure USB charging stations is essential to prevent unauthorised access and protect against theft.
Today’s schools and universities house an immense amount of data, which continues to grow at incredible rates. As information is collected and shared via applications, education portals, IoT devices and other sources, security leaders are under increased pressure to manage their data infrastructure efficiently and provide fast and uninterrupted access to applications and data.
That’s why many educational institutions have turned to hyperconverged infrastructures, such as the Nutanix Xtreme Computing Platform, which converges compute, virtualisation and storage into a single solution. Not only does this reduce power and space in the data centre, but also delivers predictable scalability.
As schools and universities embrace digital transformation to usher in greater efficiency, flexibility and collaboration, they are also embrace host of new cybersecurity threats. A successful digital transformation requires a security transformation that keeps pace with the digital one. Implementing a security fabric approach, rather than developing IT in a piecemeal fashion, provides superior protection against sophisticated threats by protecting the entire end-to-end infrastructure – from IoT devices to the cloud.
Digital transformation in the education sector offers immense opportunities. However, as education providers move to bring emerging technologies to the classroom, they must re-evaluate their IT infrastructures and ensure their digital ecosystems are secure.