Exinda: Lack of Network Control Continuing to Hamper Education Networks

IT departments at educational institutions are well along in their planning for the 2013-2014 academic year, and some persistent management issues are becoming increasingly problematic as network managers deal with the continued rise of both strategic and recreational Internet traffic from high-bandwidth applications and P2P traffic crossing the network, according to Exinda.

Add in BYOD / BYOA (bring your own device/bring your own applications), new compliance regulations for digital copyright infringement, and the move of some critical applications to the cloud, and education IT staff have a complex set of issues to resolve.

“The issues that educational institutions are facing really illuminate the challenges that are facing enterprises as a whole,” saidBrendan Reid , Vice President of Product Marketing at Exinda. “Because they serve three distinct user groups – administration, faculty and students – the requirements of one group is always seemingly at odds with the others for the use of precious network resources. Most educational institutions do not have the visibility they need to see who is using the network, and for what. Until they have policy-based Internet control in place, many educational institutions will continue to struggle with the issues that an accelerating convergence of strategic and recreational Internet traffic is placing on their networks.”

According to Exinda, the top 5 IT challenges for education institutions are:

1. Distinguishing strategic traffic from recreational traffic: The more students, faculty and staff rely on learning and administrative resources served from the cloud, the more difficult it will be to decipher what web traffic should be optimized and what should be contained. How do you tell when YouTube is being used as part of a marketing class and when it’s being used to watch the complete library of Taylor Swift music videos?

2. Managing the impact of BYOD / BYOA: If students are consistent about one thing, it’s how much they love their devices: the more, the better. But more devices equal more applications being run across the network, and that’s a big issue for educational institutions with limited capacity. At the same time, they want to stay cutting edge and introduce new learning tools and applications to their students. How can they embrace BYOD / BYOA without negatively impacting their network?

3. Controlling real-time video and collaboration content: Whether it’s Netflix, YouTube or Skype, the use of video at educational institutions is exploding and must be controlled. But what about the strategic collaboration video, voice, etc., served up by Learning Management Systems, such as Blackboard and Moodle? This content needs to be protected and presents an emerging and complex challenge for managing these strategic, real-time Internet collaboration applications.

4. Having the user data required to meet regulatory compliance: More and more burden is being put on education IT departments in the effort to curb digital copyright infringement by students. How can educational institutions best act to reduce piracy and prevent the dissemination of copyrighted material, music and other intellectual property, and be able to react quickly when it does occur?

5. Maintaining SLAs for newly migrated cloud applications: What will the network impact be as more learning applications move to the cloud? Learning institutions will struggle to accurately model and maintain application SLAs through the process. How do we model how SLAs need to change for an application once run on-premise to now running in the cloud?

For more information about how educational IT departments can overcome their network challenges, download Exinda’s Education whitepaper.

About Exinda

Exinda is a leading global supplier of WAN optimization and Network Control solutions. Exinda enables organizations to assure a predictable user experience for strategic business applications through policy-based WAN optimization and Internet Control that intelligently allocate network bandwidth and optimize traffic based on the priorities of the business. The company has helped more than 2,500 organizations in over 80 countries worldwide assure application performance, improve the end-user experience, contain recreational applications and reduce network operating costs for the IT executive. For more information, please visit http://www.exinda.com.