Educational institutions, such as schools and universities, have very different IT needs compared to other types of businesses. With most IT companies marketing themselves toward a wide rage of busineses, it can be difficult for school and university administrators to work out whether or not a particular company is qualified to serve an educational institution.
If you are looking for an IT company that can provide effective IT services for your school or university, here are some tips that could help.
Understand the Unique Technology Needs of Educational Institutions
Educational institutions are rightly focused on the needs of their students, which can mean that they neglect important IT functions, such as making a backup and recovery plan or taking steps to protect their organization’s data and systems against a cyber attack. Many schools and universities have tight budgets, which can make it difficult for them to hire the in-house staff that would be needed to manage the large and complex IT systems most educational institutions rely on.
Schools and universities often have more IT users than most businesses. When every staff member and every student has an account on the university IT systems, it is important to make data security a high priority. Students today expect to be able to log into their educational accounts using both desktop and mobile devices, which although extremely convenient can present an additional security risk.
When you consider bringing an IT company on board to help you manage your school’s IT and security systems, it is important to ask whether the provider has experience of working with educational institutions. IT companies that have only worked with commercial businesses may not understand the particular security and IT management challenges that schools face.
Explore Solutions for IT Infrastructure
In an educational institution, the IT infrastructure and network must be designed to meet the needs of staff and students. Universities and schools often rely heavily on ageing intranet systems, which need to be updated with more modern systems that make it easy for users to find the content they need.
For example, a university in London recently realized its limited first generation intranet system was hopelessly out of date. By partnering with a suitable IT company, the university was able to select and set up an integrated enterprise content management system (ECMS), which provided a content platform for both internal and external collaborators. This helped people working or studying at the university to easily find out about ongoing research and access vast respositiories of useful information.
To find the ideal IT infrastructure design for your educational institution, the best approach is to work with an IT company that understands the unique needs of schools and universities. Such a partner can help you set up a network that can deliver content to all your students, staff, and external collaborators.
Don’t Neglect Security
With a growing number of cyber threats targeting universities and schools, network security must be high on your list of priorities when selecting an IT company. Ask potential IT providers how they will keep your educational institution safe from cyber security threats, such as malware, phishing, and ransomware.
Any good IT company will be eager to help your organization set up a solid backup and disaster recovery strategy. For an educational institution, data loss can be disastrous. Your IT network likely holds thousands of educational resources, each of which took hours to prepare, along with important work belonging to students and researchers. Protect all this data by partnering with an IT company that understands the importance of backing up educational data. Your IT provider should also help you put a rapid recovery strategy in place, so you can recover data fast enough to prevent students and employees missing important deadlines.
Consider Cost Savings
Sticking to a tight budget is almost always a concern for schools and universities. A good IT company will work with you to find solutions that help to lower your ongoing IT costs. For example, a voice over IP (VoIP) service can reduce the cost of calls your institution needs to make. Cloud computing can also be a cost-effective solution, with much lower upfront costs than purchasing servers and software. When choosing an IT company, be sure to select a provider who can offer you a good deal on cloud computing services, which experts predict will be the future of computing for a wide range of organizations, including schools and universities.
How to Find an IT Company for Your School or University
When choosing an IT company for your school or university, look for a company with many years of experience of serving organizations similar to yours. Ask other local educational institutions for recommendations, and read client testimonials on the websites of IT providers, as well as looking for reviews on third-party sites. You also need to speak directly to the IT company to ensure they are prepared to take the time to understand the unique computing needs of your insitution. By following all these tips, you can get the IT support you need to help your school thrive.