#edtech for #edleaders: Properly Configured IT

It is the role of the IT professionals to ensure that technology is properly configured to both provide the services educators need, plus reflect the responsible configuration of the system. Remember, we do not want IT professionals running schools and we do not want educators to be running IT systems. Proper configuration of the IT systems ensures they are secure, reliable, and robust. 

First, devices and data are secured to minimize threats. Securing systems is work that has accepted procedures regardless of the nature of the organization. The same strategies for physically securing the IT systems (e.g. keeping wiring closets locked, ensuring cooling systems are functioning, and uninterruptable power supplies are installed as needed) in a law office are used to secure school systems. The same strategies for providing virtual security of the devices (e.g. using malware protection, firewalls, and other threat protections) as deployed as well. Security also extends to data; properly configured systems prevent users from accessing data they are not supposed to access.  

Second, properly configured systems are reliable; they are available whenever they are needed. Some threats to reliability can be avoided, for example by scheduling software updates and hardware upgrades to occur during times when school is not in session. Other threats, for example failed devices cannot be avoided, but regularly upgrading devices and ensuring firmware and other software is updated reduces device failure. One advantage of using cloud-based systems for productivity suites and data management systems is those are largely built on virtual servers which can be made redundant at much lower cost and much quicker than physical servers. 

Third, properly configured systems are robust which means they have the capacity to meet the load. As one-to-one initiatives have gained popularity in schools, the need to increase the capacity of wireless networks to manage the connections of dozens of devices and provide sufficient bandwidth so no users experiences network latency (the term IT professionals use for “a slow network”) has become one of the most important aspects of properly configuring IT in schools.