Page 4 - CT Innovation in Education, November 2021
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The Absolutely Essential Higher Ed Superpower
Gaining visibility into what’s going on inside your systems lets IT teams be proactive, and that makes all the difference in how effective they are.
reliant on technology and the IT organization.
As a result, colleges and universities are much more at risk from cybersecurity vulnerabilities today than ever before. At the same time, as technology dependence has grown, staffing and budget haven’t, which means IT solutions for educational institutions truly need to do more with the same or, in some cases, less than they’ve historically had.
The pressure is immense. If a student can’t access an application or a resource, if a faculty member can’t get onto web conferencing, if a staffer can’t send e-mail, the institution will fail in its missions: educating students, making research discoveries, and doing everything in its power to secure the future of the world.
With so much at stake, the one superpower IT teams
in the education sector need to develop above all others is X-ray vision. Gaining visibility into what goes on inside your systems lets you become proactive, allowing you to see exactly where to target your time and attention and quickly troubleshoot problems for speedier response.
Unless you were born on Krypton, the best way to achieve this level of visibility is to capitalize on tools that deliver the same capabilities. Those IT tools for higher education would be expected to provide oversight in at least four areas:
Brandon Shopp
Group Vice President of Product Management SolarWinds
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Doing status checks on the health and performance of infrastructure, on-premises, hosted, and in the cloud
Tracking the delivery path along which data traverses, identifying connections, dependencies, and topology
Diagnosing network performance and endpoint compliance
Applying machine learning to automate response and augment human capabilities
3 Priorities for Visibility
I can cite three scenarios where visibility proves invaluable in the education environment: jumping on network problems, indicating application snags, and staying on top of security risks.
Helping identify the network problem
If a student is getting choppy video or audio during a class session, does the problem rest with Zoom, the university infrastructure, the home network, the service provider, the hotspot, or something else? Where does the user start? Who does he or she call? The longer it takes to figure that out — to do a root cause analysis of the problem — the longer it will take to resolve it.
SolarWinds school network monitoring software opens up visibility on the path that an end user follows in accessing a resource, all the way from the service provider’s network through the university’s VPN out to Zoom and into the user’s device. Armed with this information, IT can identify where the bottleneck is taking place and provide evidence for the solution phase.
Helping identify the application problem
Universities are hotbeds of homegrown applications. When issues surface for users and they take it to their help desk, how does the IT staffer narrow down the source of the problem? Piecing together the mystery may require jumping from tool to tool, a time-consuming and inefficient troubleshooting process. Plus, the whole rigamarole leads to longer downtime, which results in growing user dissatisfaction.
By allowing for full-stack observability through a single display, SolarWinds can track how data traverses the network, following it through the server, virtual machine, application, and database. The software can identify data

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