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Softcat report reveals the technologies helping the education sector through pandemic challenges and beyond

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 Report from @Softcat reveals the technologies helping the education sector through pandemic challenges and beyond   

A new report from Softcat, a leading IT infrastructure solutions provider, reveals the technologies helping the public education sector navigate the ongoing disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and which are being prioritised in the year ahead.  

In all, Softcat’s Business Tech Priorities Report 2020 includes the views of over 1,500 public and private sector organisations in the UK and Ireland, across 21 industries.   

The pandemic has and continues to disrupt the normal operation of many schools and higher education institutions, with changing procedures around duty of care, staff absences, new e-learning initiatives, and widening learning and technology gaps in the pupil population.  

This is coupled with growing pressure on public sector organisations to keep data secure, control costs, and empower workers to be more productive.   

Technology has played a key role in helping the public education sector respond to fast-moving situations, mobilise its workforce and switch to new operating models and back again throughout the pandemic and will continue to do so long-term.  

20 of the 21 industries surveyed, including the public education sector, agreed that their biggest technology challenge of the pandemic so far has been the switch to remote working (and remote learning in this case).   

But looking forwards to an uncertain future, what technologies are the education industry prioritising for the year ahead and which will be key post-COVID-19?  

The biggest priority area for IT investment within the public education sector is end user computing (EUC). Bringing the full digital workspace to life, EUC consolidates all systems required for the daily workload and allows employees (including teachers) and pupils to work at their most productive and securely, both at school and remotely from home.   

Cyber Security ranks as the second biggest tech priority for the public education sector in 2020, And it isn’t alone. Overall, 86 percent of industries say their focus is keeping users, data and infrastructure secure in the year ahead. This is up from 83 percent in Softcat’ 2019 report.  

The education sector has become a lucrative target for cyber criminals in recent years, with a recent Government study reporting the risk is highest for secondary schools and further/higher education institutions, with 76 and 80 percent of organisations identifying breaches or attacks in the last 12 months.  

The chaos of the first wave of national lockdowns in Spring 2020 meant many schools, colleges and universities had to give ground on security to respond at speed. Cyber criminals used this disruption to their advantage, with cyber attacks against UK organisations up by a third in the first quarter of 2020.   

It’s clear from the report’s findings that the public education sector is now looking to standardise and consolidate its security technology, helping to rebalance productive employee and pupil freedoms with cyber risk management.   

The report also highlights the importance of networking technologies to the public education sector, ranked in third place. 

As education becomes increasingly digitalised, a stable, secure and reliable network is vital. Essentially, a network is the digital backbone of an organisation, facilitating quick and efficient communication and connections between computers and devices.   

Richard Wyn Griffith, Managing Director of Softcat commented on the findings:  

“This year has been hugely challenging for the education sector. Despite each unprecedented twist and turn, organisations have shown agility, creativity and intelligence in the face of the disruption and pressure.   

“It is clear from our 2020 Business Tech Priorities Report that the importance of enterprise IT has truly been solidified, accelerating demand and giving rise to innovative use cases. The future of enterprise IT is looking brighter.”  

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