As the world responds to the current health crisis, the wellbeing of our customers and everyone impacted by this pandemic remains our top priority. To support teachers and students, and the huge number people working from home, we are committed to helping maintain business continuity for all our customers.
2019 was a hugely successful year for Aruba and Platinum Partner KHIPU Networks, working in partnership with several UK universities and colleges, to help transform learning and teaching experiences for thousands of students and staff.
By addressing common challenges within the education sector, they have designed world-class networking solutions to give students and staff ultra-reliable, high-speed and secure connectivity. Intelligent network provisioning is helping revolutionise digital life on campus – by empowering students and staff to embrace the latest digital learning tools, while enabling IT departments to proactively enhance the user experience.
The Real Connectivity Challenge
Today, the challenge of delivering reliable and secure IT services in higher education (HE) and further education (FE) is huge. According to Jisc, about 8 in 10 students used a smartphone to support their learning in 2019. Student learning is fast becoming a digital experience. Many students now take notes on smartphones, access recorded lectures and use apps to manage time, study notes and revision.
These new trends put a massive strain on the demand for secure and reliable wireless and wired networking. For students, using multiple devices anywhere and everywhere, campus-wide connectivity is no longer a luxury – it’s become essential to a productive, enjoyable learning experience.
As a result, more and more HE and FE institutions are choosing to transform their networks, opting for modern, intelligent solutions that can cope with these new demands. So, with the big shift to digital transformation for enhanced learning and teaching, and user expectations for 24x7x365 network availability, IT must be fit for purpose.
To offer a world-class educational experience, education providers know that they need to offer world-class connectivity. Aruba and KHIPU Networks have met this challenge by focusing on three key areas:
1. Always connected – that’s a vow
Why shouldn’t you relate to any device, anywhere, anytime on campus? With a growing dependence on mobile devices, the growth in IoT and a desire to learn and connect virtually anywhere, network refreshes have typically required a strong focus around campus-wide wireless access – resulting in ultra-reliable, high-speed and secure wireless connectivity for all types of users. It can be a huge step up for the institutions – from providing just an average IT service to delivering a world-class ‘always-on’ digital experience that transforms the way students work and learn.
2. A shift in IT mentality – from break/fix to technology enabler
Our projects are changing how educational institutions see IT. They no longer view network infrastructure as just the backbone of IT, but as an opportunity to proactively add value to the student experience. For example, the use of Aruba’s ALE (Analytics and Location Engine) allow students to check study space availability in real time – saving wasted journeys and promoting good use of campus resources. It’s a clear demonstration of how intelligent network design not only transforms the digital experience for students (through better reliability and speed), but also enhances the wider learning experience – bridging the physical and digital worlds.
3. Staying safe online – the overriding need for network security
Our projects have harnessed Aruba’s market-leading expertise in network design and KHIPU’s world-class reputation for cyber security. This has helped create secure, future-proof networks that give students and staff the confidence that their information is safe. It also gives institutions peace of mind that they are well defended against cyber threats.
In summary, in 2019 Aruba and KHIPU played a key role in helping leading FE and HE institutions offer world-class connectivity to their students, staff and visitors. In so doing, they are transforming the overall learning and teaching experience.
4.How can universities deploy cloud managed solutions without sacrificing security?
Understand that the traditional network boundaries have shifted and morphed to meet the remote working revolution. The thought process needs to change – not only is network security important, but also data security, as it no longer resides in a ‘safe’ data centre under your control.
Security policies need to be simple and geo-independent, an employee or student needs to access resource from anywhere at any time, not experience different boundaries. This flexibility then needs to be secured and protected, with encryption and multi-factor authentication at the forefront of any deployed system. The traditional, on-premise security policies and enforcement need to be pushed out to the cloud and end users to maintain the consistent approach.
Data and the risk of exposure increases with the widening of the ‘network’ – as people share information through public mediums (SaaS), it often never touches your institution. Monitoring, reviewing and analysing the integrity of your extended network becomes paramount, to stop or detect breaches as quickly as possible to limit their effect.