The new year is here, and so are a slew of new issues with technology in higher education.
Susan Grajek, EDUCAUSE Vice President for Data, Research and Analytics and the EDUCAUSE IT Issues Panel released the top 10 IT issues for 2016.
The top 10 issues include:
1) Information security
2) Optimizing educational technology
3) Student success technologies
4) IT workforce hiring and retention
5) Institutional data management
6) IT funding models
7) BI and analytics
8) Enterprise application integrations
9) IT organizational development
10) E-learning and online education
Grajek says it’s no surprise that information security is number one on the list.
“Those threats are never ending,” she says. “They’re on the increase and coming from all different angles…It’s not only that – it’s other things: one is that the number of different vectors through which people can breach data are increasing as well. As people access data more and more, mobile devices and personal Clouds, and the ability to lap down and protect one location is just lost.”
This means that data is everywhere – in analytics, set aside for decision-making – and up for grabs by any virtual hands.
“That increases the size of the target,” Grajek says. “There are more arrows being shot at the target, and the target is bigger.”
With information security at the top of issues list, Grajek says that colleges are revising roles and policies related to information security risk management, compliance and general campus security.
“I think we’re going to continue to see those roles evolve,” she says. “Some institutions have a chief security officer who’s responsible for information security as well as physical security…we know gun violence, climate change and weather are a threat to campus operations and ongoing business continuity. Very often campuses will establish an institutional officer who is responsible for overseeing all of those threats and developing risk management plans and risk mitigation strategies for all of them.”
In conjunction with role evolution, Grajek anticipates that security models will reshape to fit a college’s culture and “existing talent.”
One of those models includes the automation of smart networks and resources that will take cyber threats by force.
Grajek says this includes more intricate encryption and multi-authentication to replace traditional usernames and passwords.
“I’m hopeful that encryption will get easier and that multi-authentication will get easier,” she says. “Finally, the thing I think we’re going to see more of as data get put more to greater use is more attention being paid to privacy and individuals’ privacy rights.”