Advantages of Outsourcing IT Support for Educational Institutions

The Government of Canada lists numerous types of educational institutions, including universities, junior colleges, nursing schools, teacher training, technical and vocational, and private institutions. In the end, there are nearly 700 unique designations when program types are considered, collectively making education a very big industry in the country. As each individual school increases digital transformation to better serve students, faculty, and their own organizational interests, so grows the need and demand for IT support. There’s a lot at stake when it comes to education and putting off this key component increases the risk of failure.
 
Below we detail why you, as an administrator, must increase IT support today.

3 Reasons Why Educational Institutions Need to Increase IT Support

Schools Are Hot Targets for Hackers

To hacking groups, educational institutions are valuable hubs of sensitive personal, financial, and research data. This is why for the past half-decade schools have become the top targets for cybercrime, and hackers are using advanced tactics to steal data.
 
For example, phishing schemes and their variants (SMiShing and Vishing) are increasingly zeroing in on educational institutions. Earlier this year, it was reported that Chinese hackers had targeted 27 universities across the U.S. and Canada, hiding under the guise of partner institutions. This instance is just the tip of the iceberg. Ransomware is also a major issue, and recently New York’s for-profit Monroe College had its technology systems and platforms disabled, leaving students and faculty without access to the college’s online systems, including email. Hackers demanded approximately $2 million USD in Bitcoin payment. The institution worked around the clock to restore systems. This is just one of the innumerable examples, and in an industry where reputation is everything, you do not want to find your school in the media as a victim of cybercrime.
 
The only way to keep up with these advanced threats is to back up the efforts of your in-house IT team by securing support from an expert in cybercrime prevention. A Managed Services Provider (MSP) will be armed with expertise and tools that leverage artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning to detect malware before it’s executed while using advances in anti-malware / anti-spam filtering to protect against phishing schemes and the like.

Few Schools Have an Adequate Disaster Recovery Plan in Place 

The ransomware incident referenced above proves the need for a better IT disaster recovery plan. However, an IT disaster can strike in many forms, be it from a weather event, staff negligence, or any malicious behavior. Along with healthcare, medical and the financial market, “business continuity" in the educational environment is more critical when compared to other organizational types.
 
Your institution’s disaster recovery plan will need to account for data backup, increased adoption of the cloud, and a comprehensive inspection of systems to make software, hardware repairs, replacements, updates, and upgrades as needed. In addition, your school will need to institute an explicit system of reporting to immediately meet new privacy compliance mandates. This is all too large a task for your in-house IT team. The only way to account for it all is to secure a partner with expertise in IT disaster recovery planning and testing.

Your IT Team Needs to Focus on Improving Student Experience 

The student experience is everything to an educational institution. It’s the key to attracting new students (and thus tuition) and is even indirectly integral in getting funding through government grants (non-private). Since increased digital transformation (DT) is essential to improving student experience, your IT team needs to focus their efforts in this arena or fall victim to the common DT mistakes that so many organizations make.
 
In order to leverage their talents and industry-specific knowledge and skills, you need to focus your IT executives (and team) solely on the hardware and software systems that will directly reflect on the student experience. This includes increased adoption of technology to make managing their workload (on and off-campus) more efficient, while improving student services through online initiatives.
 
Free up your tech team from the concerns addressed above and allow them to gain access to superior SaaS subscriptions made available through MSP partner programs to keep your budget in check. 
 
Let’s talk about your IT support needs. Contact Fully Managed today.