Jun 03 2021
Data Analytics

To Effectively Manage Higher Ed Data, Address Sprawl

Data governance requires efficient and comprehensive IT strategy.

Universities and colleges may be Big Data hubs, but few institutions are effectively leveraging data insights to make better business decisions — a phenomenon known as being “data rich but information poor.” One reason for this is poor data management and governance.

Even before the pandemic, IT departments had difficulty tracking and managing disparate sources of higher education data, a problem that has only been exacerbated during the shift to remote learning and work.

Remote and hybrid learning may have a permanent place in higher education, and data will likely “sprawl” across more places than ever before. This will only make it more crucial to have an effective data management strategy.

In a CDW Tech Talk series on data and digital transformation, Stephen Manley of Druva explained the dynamic infrastructure needed to manage and protect valuable data — especially when adopting hybrid cloud strategies.

How to Protect Against Data Sprawl

Although cloud is easy to deploy, it’s not always easy to track data in the cloud. Increasingly, IT leaders are asking how they can keep their organizations safe in a world where data is in so many different locations, Manley says. “The answer is, you can’t keep doing things the same way,” he says.

Instead of focusing on “controlling the machines,” Manley recommends IT departments prioritize the basics: Provide a safety net for data by backing everything up. This way, IT leaders can “have confidence that no matter what happens, their data is going to be safe and secure,” he says.

The second step is to ensure you can scale data protection strategies across the entire environment. If users make different choices or adopt different applications and locations, the same services should be able to apply universally.

MORE ON EDTECH: Universities are using analytics and AI to curb enrollment drops. 

For example, when workloads are running on cloud computing platforms such as Amazon Web Services, IT organizations can get a copy of that data to create a safety net in the event of a cyberattack or accidental data deletion — regardless of the application service from which the data was collected.

Having that work outsourced to the cloud can free up IT leaders to focus on tasks that create higher value for universities.

“Now that you’ve built that insurance policy, you can look at some of that metadata to understand what’s going on in your environment,” Manley says. “Did you know this is where our data is growing? Did you know we just bought that same data set three different times? These are all opportunities for you to bring more value.”

 This article is part of EdTech: Focus on Higher Education’s UniversITy blog series.


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