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The IT education industry has undergone massive shifts in the last few years, with IT professionals quickly finding themselves in new digital landscapes.

With remote and hybrid learning models, alongside digitized systems in modern educational institutions, IT specialists are tasked with managing intricate systems to accommodate an expanding user base, address mounting demands, and face emerging challenges.

In this blog and accompanying infographic, we delve into the present state of the education IT industry and all its moving parts, so that IT specialists can navigate this dynamic landscape effectively.

Educational IT seasonal rhythm

Understanding the peak periods of activity within educational IT departments is key for resource management and predicting user needs. The following statistics shed light on how IT professionals are affected throughout the year. 

When are educational teams the busiest?

Looking at IT-related keywords associated with the top 100 universities in the US, a surge in demand can clearly be seen at the start of the fall semester, and to a slightly lesser extent, at the beginning of the spring semester.

Searches for Education IT

In the study, two main groups were identified: those enrolled (students) and those employed (faculty and staff). The analysis focused on Google searches conducted in universities during peak periods of activity. It revealed a significant correlation between the number of faculty and staff in a university and a higher search volume for that particular institution.

Active devices throughout the year

As can be seen in the graph, most industries have a relatively steady active device-to-monitored device ratio, with a fluctuation of only a few percentage points throughout the year. Education, on the other hand, follows the school calendar, showcasing a much more significant difference between the lowest point and the peak. 
*Ratio between active and monitored devices

The education sector’s threat landscape

Educational institutions store a vast amount of sensitive data, including student records, financial information, and research data, so it’s no surprise that cybercriminals may attempt to breach these systems to steal personal information or sell it on the dark web.

Ransom attacks

A far too common occurrence, unfortunately, ransom attacks were more common in the education industry in 2023 than in any other industry.

Percentage of providers hit with ransomware attacks

Year  Higher EDK12

Regulatory demands

In the education sector, there are several regulatory demands that institutions must comply with to ensure the safety, privacy, and quality of education. 

They include:

  • FERPA – Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act
  • CERPA – California Educational Rights and Privacy Act
  • CIPA – Children’s Internet Protection Act

Education cybersecurity essentials

  • SSO + MFA – Single Sign-On and Multi-Factor Authentication are critical for securing access to institutional resources, balancing ease of use with enhanced security.
  • Antivirus – Real-time antivirus software should be installed and updated regularly to ensure efficient detection and protection against malware.
  • EDR – Endpoint Detection and Response tools provide insight into common and uncommon network connections for each host.
  • Patch managementRegular patching helps ensure cybersecurity hygiene for hardware, software, and operating systems.
  • Data encryption and backup – Encryption can frustrate 20-25% of attacks on educational institutions, while backup ensures retrieval of data.

Consolidate your education IT management with Atera 

With the educational industry undergoing changes and challenges, a robust and highly capable AI-powered IT management platform is a must in the toolbox of every IT professional. 

With Atera, you can achieve proactive, reliable, and budget-friendly IT management with Atera’s all-in-one RMM, helpdesk, and ticketing platform.

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