Transforming Education: Smart IT Asset Management for Schools & Colleges

BY IT GLUE | May 14, 2024

The digital revolution in education has transformed how teaching and learning are approached, making technology not just an enabler but a necessity. Educational institutions have been progressively integrating sophisticated IT systems and tools to cater to the dynamic needs of modern educators and learners.

While this evolution fosters enhanced learning experiences, it has also brought with it its fair share of challenges. With the increasing reliance on digital platforms and tools, the risk of data breaches and cyberthreats has become more pronounced. Cybercriminals are increasingly targeting educational institutions, making it critical to track, manage and secure the devices and data in educational environments.

IT Glue’s experts conducted the Transforming Education: Smart IT Asset Management for Schools & Colleges webinar to underscore the growing cybersecurity threat on educational institutions and reveal how IT pros within the education sector can effectively tackle this challenge. This blog post covers the important points discussed in the webinar, revealing how to create safer digital ecosystems that empower both educators and students to explore and learn in innovative and secure environments.

As we dive in, we’ll explore the critical role of IT documentation in navigating today’s cyberthreat landscape and supporting modern educational needs. We will also delve into topics like the need for transformation in education IT departments, the asset management and IT documentation challenges that they face, and how smart IT asset management can help solve this issue. Finally, we’ll cover some purpose-built solutions for educational institutions.

You can also watch the full recording of the webinar here.

The paradigm digital shift in the educational domain

Traditionally, educational institutions grappled with limited technology and connectivity. Learning environments had fewer IT systems and tools, and most users possessed minimal IT knowledge. Consequently, cybersecurity threats were limited. However, fast forward to today’s dynamic digital learning environments; personal devices like smartphones and tablets have become key to learning. Artificial intelligence (AI)-driven platforms and subscription-based learning models are gaining prominence, and students are swiftly getting accustomed to leveraging these leading-edge technologies in their everyday learning.

In fact, many surveys indicate that educators are the ones struggling with adapting to this new environment. There is a growing need to integrate cutting-edge technologies into teaching methodologies to keep pace with tech-savvy students. As educational institutions navigate this rapidly evolving landscape, it is crucial for them to stay proactive and create secure digital ecosystems for educators and students.

Common IT issues found in educational institutions

As educational institutions try to facilitate a secure digital ecosystem, they come across a few prominent challenges. They are:

Managing critical information in spreadsheets

Spreadsheets are an outdated form of documentation and come with numerous limitations. They lack automation, security and a structured format, making them impractical for today’s needs in educational institutions. However, many educational institutions still rely on spreadsheets to manage assets, licensing and other critical information, costing them considerable amounts of time, money and resources. The reliance on spreadsheets for critical data management also often results in security challenges.

Leveraging siloed tool sets

IT teams in educational institutions often use a mix of unrelated tools and systems, such as spreadsheets, asset management solutions and password managers, which do not integrate with one another. This fragmentation leads to time-consuming processes, diverting IT professionals from more strategic tasks.

Moreover, the absence of a unified information source complicates the tracking of access and modifications to critical information. This poses a significant risk due to the limited auditing capabilities across these siloed tools. Without a single source of truth, IT pros are also forced to document this critical information in less secure and non-ideal locations, thereby increasing the potential for security vulnerabilities.

Results of poor asset and knowledge management

Wondering how such poor asset and knowledge management in disparate tools and spreadsheets would affect you? Check these stats:

In organizations:

  • Up to 40% of critical IT knowledge is lost due to disorganized documentation.
  • Siloed information increases cybersecurity risks by 25%.
  • An average of 10 hours a week is lost searching for information.

Introducing smart IT asset management for education IT teams

Imagine a world where all your information is in one place, critical knowledge isn’t walking out of the door, and your data collection is more automated, accessible and more secure than ever. That’s what IT Glue helps you realize. Let’s look at how it can benefit you.

Consolidate and centralize data: Your entire IT in one pane

Consider the hassle of switching between applications, or even having to interrupt a colleague, just to find information about a task that should be readily available to you It’s not an ideal situation, right?

IT Glue doesn’t just give you a platform to consolidate all of your data in one place; it also pulls information from all the other systems you may already have. IT Glue supports over one hundred integrations with other platforms and tools, including Microsoft 365, Microsoft Active Directory (AD), Microsoft Intune, ServiceNow, Jamf and Meraki. That means no more constant check-ins on whether information is live and accurate on different platforms. Aside from these out-of-the-box integrations, IT Glue also has other intuitive ways to pull information in, such as open API, PowerShell scripts and automated network discovery.

Centralizing all this information means you can easily track license usage of specific contacts, find passwords for their devices within one or two clicks, and even manage the life cycle of the same machine or device, all out of the same interface, resulting in a much more efficient operational workflow.

Preserve knowledge: Work smarter, not harder

Centralizing information into a single source of truth is crucial, but utilizing that consolidated knowledge is key to operational efficiency.

Without proper IT documentation, tasks become time-consuming and prone to errors, leading to potential knowledge loss. This issue is particularly significant when IT professionals leave or join the organization, as undocumented knowledge cannot be shared or retained. IT Glue ensures that knowledge is preserved, making it accessible to all team members. This means even your new team member can resolve tasks efficiently without reinventing the wheel.

Standardize and structure data: Waffles over ladles

Having all your information in one place is a start, but its real value lies in how easily it can be accessed and utilized. The difference between structured and unstructured data can be likened to ladles and waffles; without structure, finding specific information is like searching for a piece of meat in a stew, a random and inefficient process.

IT Glue structures data like a waffle, where each piece of information has its place, making it straightforward to find what you need when you need it. This standardized approach to data management ensures quick and accurate access, enhancing the efficiency of leveraging information.

The Waverly School District #6 story

Waverly School District #6 operates its IT department with just one person, supporting 67 teachers and 347 students — akin to running IT for a small and midsize business (SMB) but on a school district’s tight budget.

Students, being prime targets for cybercriminals, are vulnerable due to the lack of safety knowledge. This makes documentation not only vital for operations but also a legal necessity for student protection. Upon assuming the role at the school district, the IT manager faced over ten years of disorganized, printed spreadsheets.

However, the situation transformed when they onboarded IT Glue. The IT manager can now effectively manage device tracking and inventory and has a comprehensive overview of the whole network. The platform’s ability to consolidate information has been invaluable, especially considering the high turnover ratio of IT in school districts, ensuring that the administration and superintendent have a unified source of IT documentation. On the whole, IT Glue has proven to be indispensable for Waverly School District’s one-person IT department. Read the full case study here.

Out-of-the-box customizable templates for education IT teams

IT Glue provides out-of-the-box customizable templates for education IT teams called Flexible Assets to help IT professionals standardize IT documentation and make sure everyone is documenting the same information in the same format.

For instance, IT Glue offers a flexible asset for inventory tracking that is hugely beneficial for IT teams in educational institutions. By tracking the location, devices, onboarding checklists, applications and grade levels of students, IT teams can ensure the effective utilization of resources while maintaining security and complying with regulations. This provides benefits such as efficient device management, enhanced security, optimized resource allocation, personalized onboarding and support, maintenance and upgrade planning, data-driven analytics, reporting compliance adherence, and cost control.

IT Glue also has a Flexible Asset for grant tracking that offers precise insights into available resources for technology initiatives. By monitoring grants, IT teams can strategically plan, allocate budgets and implement projects while ensuring accountability and compliance. Such a proactive approach not only optimizes resource utilization but also facilitates informed decision making, innovation within budget constraints and the measurement of technology’s impact on educational outcomes.

Similarly, IT Glue supports vendor management, domain and SSL tracking and multi-tenancy management.

Effective IT documentation has never been more critical for educational institutions. It serves as the cornerstone for safeguarding against potential cyber-risks while ensuring seamless IT operations. IT Glue is a robust IT documentation solution on that front, offering unparalleled efficiency and security by centralizing IT documentation.

Want to discover more robust capabilities of the platform? Get a demo now.

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