Higher Education Critical Infrastructure Solutions
Building Better Critical Infrastructure for Higher Education
Universities and colleges face many challenges in today’s rapidly changing landscape. Moore’s Law states that technology tends to double every two years while simultaneously becoming more accessible and affordable. This is certainly true in higher education facilities as security and educational services are critical concerns.
The Internet of Things (IoT) has brought technology to the Edge of the classroom allowing professors to become more efficient and provide better academic support and enrichment for their students. This rapidly changing landscape presents significant challenges.
Colleges and universities require continuous, clean and reliable power to support the critical IT infrastructure and ensure 24×7 continuity. Loss of power can result in data loss and worse yet, loss of infrastructure availability such as internet and telecommunications which is especially important in today’s online course availability, virtual staff meetings, and online resources.
The keys to ensuring campus safety, protecting your university’s reputation, and boosting financial stability start with building your college’s reliability through optimized critical infrastructure along with flexible services and support for students, professors, and university staff.
Factors such as aging physical infrastructure, rising energy costs, ever-changing regulatory requirements, rapid changes in educational strategies and a shortage of skilled professors also contribute to technology risks for higher education institutions.
How Technology Is Changing the Landscape
Internet of Things
The Internet of Things (IoT) is the idea that the internet will expand to many items in the world besides phones and computers. These items will be accessible via the internet wherein you can pull data and/or affect them.
Empowering students with access to educational content via tablets, laptops, or smart watches is an example of IoT. In addition to enhancing the learning environment, these devices can increase efficiencies.
Here are three ways the IoT can change your work today:
- Remote Monitoring
- Provides status updates and up-time reports for critical infrastructure through wireless communications, allowing your university staff to quickly resolve potential problems.
- The Advent of “Smart Schools”
- IoT is allowing colleges and universities to become “Smart” through connecting various devices, education applications, interactive learning systems, digital signage, and many more technologies that collect and analyze data. This data can then be used to improve the student experience, provide personalized learning plans, and enhance security.
- Cost and Time Savings
- Like any major upgrade, the initial investment of both money and time into the IoT will be high. You might need to completely revamp your technological base and retrain your staff. The returns, however, are well worth it: more accurate data recording and reports, which means no more wasted time and money on inaccurate analysis or data records. In the long run, the IoT is the next big step towards efficiency, automation, and accuracy.
Interoperability & Secure Data Transfers
The idea of interoperability is multiple educational organizations working together, exchanging data, and trends to provide the best educational experience for their students. To do this, each organization must communicate with each other and send sensitive documents through the internet. Here are a few perks of interoperability:
- Fast Access to Data
- Collaborating with other organizations allows you to get the key data you need at faster speeds than ever before.
- Expanded Knowledge
- Sharing information allows everyone to develop a complete knowledge base, expanding the possibilities for every organization.
- Better Decisions
- With more information, professors and university staff will be well-equipped to make better decisions.
- Improved Learning Experience
- The goal of interoperability is to improve the learning experience for each student. Sharing data empowers your staff to make the best decisions and offer the best services possible.
Despite these benefits, interoperability and regular data transfer has some drawbacks.
- Risk of Hacks
- As documents are sent over the web, secure connections must be ensured to protect from hackers. If your tech isn’t up to security standards, interoperability is unsafe for your students or staff until you upgrade.
- Regulatory Compliance
- Any breach can result in incredibly large fines, loss of trust, and even a loss of funding. The tech in each building across campus needs to protect your students and your university’s reputation before interoperability can start.
- Data Security
- The biggest source of data breaches at any business isn’t hackers or faulty tech, it’s the people using the equipment. The same goes for higher education institutions: Professors, administrators, university staff, and students need to be trained in proper usage of new technology and procedures. Ongoing training is highly recommended.
A career in higher education is both incredibly stressful and greatly rewarding, with significant impacts on students and the community in general. Not only do you need to provide quality education, but you also have to maintain your university’s technology and ensure your staff have the necessary equipment in place to successfully do their work.
No one wants to worry about malicious attacks, but these events are all too common and growing ever more frequent. Data breaches compromise security, and natural disasters can cause loss in power, resulting in further vulnerabilities and sunken costs. Improving the physical and virtual security of your higher education facilities is essential to preserving your operations and students’ privacy.
The result of a noncompliance suit or inspection can be incredibly detrimental to your college. Fines often stretch into the millions of dollars after a data breach, and this is considered a generally good outcome. You need a partner who understands the stringent requirements you face and can build elegant code-minimum solutions.
Higher Education Critical Infrastructure Challenges
Network Security & Infrastructure Protection
- Technology is an incredibly important part of higher education. Without a strong IT backbone, you won’t be able to rely on the critical technology you need to help your students.
- Your university needs reliable power all day, every day.
- As interoperability and the Internet of Things expand, so too will your needs for greater security and power.
Enable the Higher Education Technology Edge
- As students become even more technologically sophisticated, new innovations must take place to ensure efficiency and drive rising costs down.
- Deploying small branch center locations with connections to your university’s data center(s) expands your reach without compromising security, efficiency, or operational ability.
Distributed Technology Infrastructure Challenges
- Higher education institutions must meet the challenge of not only using legacy applications but applying them over outdated infrastructure. Some of these networks are comprised of hundreds of facilities all trying to use these programs at once.
- Without strong IT management resources, it can be impossible to know what’s happening on your own network.
- Through a strong, connected network, you can simplify your IT management and empower your educators.
Educational Operations Efficiency
- Educational infrastructure is a complex system. You need all the power you can get out of your IT systems to meet requirements and prepare for new technology adoption.
- Pressure is rising to reduce your costs, improve performance, and increase staff and student productivity and efficiency.
- As the IoT grows, your systems will be increasingly taxed by the volume of incoming data and connected devices. Your infrastructure needs to keep up with growing requirements and be capable of increasing efficiency with each addition.
Enable “Green” Solutions & Sustainability in Higher Education
- Large college campuses use a tremendous amount of energy. Getting the most efficient tech possible is a huge priority to drive down skyrocketing power costs and conserve funds.
- Energy-efficient equipment upgrades and replacements help decrease costs and your university’s environmental footprint. Optimizing your infrastructure can be a simple but powerful way to lower costs.
Power Quality and Protection Concerns
- Low power quality, poor installation, or problems in your electrical grid can severely impact critical infrastructure equipment and lower the quality of service for your students.
- Unplanned equipment downtime due to power problems can hinder educational services and put students at unnecessary risk.
- Clean, reliable, and efficient power starts with proper design, equipment selection, and installation. Regular system testing can also help ensure efficient, safe, and continuous operation.
Education Technology Infrastructure Services
As you look to optimize your higher education operations, keep JG Blackmon & Associates in mind. We provide a variety of solutions to keep your infrastructure secure and online. Connect with us to schedule a call with one of our engineers to determine the best solution for your higher education facilities.
How JG Blackmon & Associates Can Help
- Simplify the management and design of your educational institution’s IT infrastructure.
- Build your infrastructure power system into a reliable, efficient, and eco-friendly system.
- Aid your operations in the transition to IoT.
- Create compliant energy and data storage solutions.
- Empower your university staff to do their best work.
Empower Your Educational Facilities with a Partner You Can Trust
Educational technology is ever-expanding and growing quickly in complexity and cost. You need a partner who understands the stringent requirements and incredible regulatory complexities. You need a partner with industry experience, dedication to safety and efficiency, and expertise in the IT fields.
Our team at JG Blackmon & Associates can help lower your power costs, increase your security, create an efficient network, establish strong infrastructure, and empower your university to provide the best possible environment for your students, educators, and staff. Contact us today to start moving towards tomorrow!