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Paessler PRTG for secure schools monitoring and management

Non-IT systems from building services engineering to laboratory technology are being integrated into the central IT system at most educational institutions, increasing the need for monitoring and security as well as teaching opportunities.

That’s according to Paessler‘s Sebastian Krueger, who penned an article for Education Technology Solutions‘ website on the changes that technology is delivering into modern classrooms.

“Although many in the teaching profession like to rely on traditional methods of teaching, the possibilities that are opening up when technology is brought into the classroom are endless,” he said.

Unfortunately, the increasingly sophisticated use of technology in schools, colleges, or universities also results in complexity, which itself can open up security gaps and vectors of attack.

That means that heterogeneous infrastructures, distributed locations, virtual learning environments and custom applications should be essentially “brought under one roof” to be monitored and managed, Krueger suggested.

“The ideal monitoring solution should provide a centralised overview of distributed locations and heterogeneous environments and integrate IT with external systems like video conferencing equipment, surveillance cameras and door lock systems,” he added.

“In addition to a variety of notification options, such as email, SMS or push notification, there should be a dashboard that keeps IT teams constantly informed.”

According to Krueger, holistic monitoring of the new environment can contribute to an improved learning experience for students or pupils overall, which can of course also ultimately help teachers and administrators. This is partly because effective, efficient monitoring of system status and the like can help reduce costs — freeing up resources to redeploy.

“Educational content is increasingly being offered via the internet and videos in particular in which teachers, lecturers and professors transmit learning content and tasks to pupils and students have become a part of everyday life,” he points out.

To allow students and teachers benefit fully from the multitude of ed-tech tools now on the market, servers, devices and applications must increasingly be available at all locations at all times, enabling uninterrupted data exchange across distributed networks, says Krueger.

Teachers should ask themselves why students want technology in the classroom, not just why they need it. It can definitely help education professionals in the monitoring of individual development and innovative and engaging lesson planning. But the students who learn through technology are acquiring a new set of skills that will help them throughout their own careers.

New equipment may need to be brought online as well as keep working with older, even outdated equipment, which can often turn out to represent an unplanned, time-consuming challenge for users and administrators, he says.

Monitoring technologies for educational institutions must meet standard requirements such as feature set, usability, price-performance ratio, licensing, implementation efforts and technical support, incorporating features like reliable alerting of malfunctions and issues.

Krueger also said that although “numerous” bespoke technology solutions have been developed at great expense for the ed-tech customer often can be justified, especially for custom solutions, a unified monitoring solution that’s easy to implement in the cloud should also be considered to ensure full continuity.

“Complex IT infrastructures need to be constantly monitored to ensure they provide a superior and secure student learning experience,” he said.

Educational institutions that do not tackle monitoring can easily find that users are on the network carrying out unauthorised activities, like torrenting media or searching the dark web, as Paessler discusses in another July post.

( Image by 14995841 from Pixabay )

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