In 2020, many colleges’ and universities’ daily operations experienced significant disruption and major glitches, causing management to take a critical look at their existing IT infrastructure to determine what steps could be taken to better accommodate faculty and students.
As remote and hybrid learning environments continue to become the norm amid the lingering COVID-19 pandemic, many decision-makers may still be thinking – ‘what else can we do to improve the learning experience?’
If this scenario resonates with you, continue reading to learn the benefits of partnering with a managed service provider for your institution’s IT.
Managed Services for Higher Ed IT Support
The higher education industry is facing more challenges than ever before, from budgetary constraints to school security concerns. Partnering with a managed service provider will ensure your IT solution and ongoing management is one less thing you have to worry about.
Here are some of the biggest benefits of managed IT services for higher ed.
Keep Faculty, Students & Staff Connected
In the era of online school, 24/7 connectivity between staff, students, and faculty is critical for a seamless remote learning experience for all.
Through proactive monitoring and management of IT infrastructure – including network maintenance, server support, and connectivity troubleshooting – managed service providers can minimize disruptions, reduce technical downtime, and increase productivity for technology users.
Leveraging a managed service provider’s support desk offering will also increase efficiencies throughout the college. With dedicated resources to address IT tickets and requests, in-house staff will be freed up to focus on other IT initiatives. Furthermore, institutions can use a support desk to handle overflow or after hours tickets or even expand operations to 24/7.
More and more colleges and universities are having success migrating their IT infrastructure to the cloud, as it offers a more scalable and cost-effective solution while providing students and staff with more flexibility and accessibility.
Obtain Business Application Support
Today’s online learning environment relies on numerous application types ranging from document collaboration to file sharing to hosting on-demand lessons. A few of the most common tools in a virtual higher education setting include:
- Learning Management Systems
- Video conferencing platforms such as MS Teams or Zoom
- Microsoft 365
These applications require dedicated support channels to ensure consistent availability for users, but this can be difficult to maintain.
A managed service provider will have the experience and bandwidth to assist with new technology rollouts, including troubleshooting and rectifying onboarding issues and providing continuous support post-deployment.
Get IT Resources When You Need Them
Because technology plays such an integral role in higher education today, it is important to have dependable resources for IT projects, technical troubleshooting, and more.
In this regard, managed service providers can be your all-in-one partner or act as an extension of your team to supplement your staff as workloads increase and new initiatives are realized.
Some examples include:
- SharePoint implementation
- Cloud migration
- Microsoft 365 support
- Cabling and wireless projects
- New technology rollouts
- Network assessments
- Break/fix assistance
As there may be more than one campus within a college or university system, it is important to select a managed service provider who has the capability to support multiple locations simultaneously for the best results.
Is Your Institution Getting the Best Rate for Its Service Desk?
Simplify Business Processes
In higher education, IT is not the only thing that needs support; general business processes require attention, too. Having a dedicated partner to manage back-office operations including administrative tasks, maintaining records, and processing forms can increase efficiency through the organization and improve student satisfaction. This can typically be accomplished by a managed service provider’s business process outsourcing services.
In a higher education environment, students must complete various tasks for enrollment, financial aid, housing, and more. Rather than spend time in a queue or visit the registrar office multiple times, educational facilities can utilize business process outsourcing to create a “one-stop-shop” for common business functions such as:
- Apply for financial aid and review and pay bills
- Complete applications and enrollment forms
- Register for classes
- University FAQs
- General student account questions
This will also reduce stress on your in-house teams by providing dedicated support when needed from agents with experience in supporting a number of key common higher ed technologies, including Learning Management and Student Information systems.
Protect Critical Data
Higher education facilities store large amounts of sensitive data, including financial documents, student records, and more. With many remote students using personal networks on a daily basis, this data may be at risk for a breach. Secure VPN connections, antivirus, firewalls, and more must be provided to each remote learner as a way to help keep critical assets secure.
IT security and business continuity plans should be strictly enforced and regularly assessed for maximum efficacy. Consulting with a managed service provider ensures all the boxes are checked from both a functionality and compliance perspective.
Interested in IT Support for Your Institution? Learn more.
- How Can a Managed Service Provider Support Remote Learning in Higher Education?
- The Main Benefits & Challenges of Cloud Computing in Education
- Five Benefits of Smartsourcing IT in Higher Education
This is not an all-encompassing summary of how managed service providers can benefit colleges and universities – many providers can have areas of expertise well beyond this list.
If your institution is struggling to respond to IT tickets, find expert-level technical resources, streamline business processes, or anything else, contact Buchanan today and see how our team can help.