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Managed Service Providers in Education: What’s Right For You?

Managed Service Providers - Microsoft Teams

Managed Service Providers (MSPs) are valuable in any company that needs to connect its resources in a way that highlights communication and productivity. And if communication and productivity are important in the world of business, they’re no less critical in higher education.

MSPs are providing value in the corporate world, and they’re becoming more attractive in the world of education. And as priorities shift over time, their appeal is growing for financial, efficiency, and productivity reasons.

A Changing Landscape in Education

Over time, higher education has accepted and adopted a trend toward online learning and virtual communication, with great success. But with the pandemic, that implementation was accelerated further and became a necessary staple of learning. And as things slowly return to a more recognizable level of normalcy, those trends aren’t going away. The virtual format for students and educators is here to stay.

For most centers of learning, that’s a good thing. Their “campus” is more open than ever, their educator talent pool can come from anywhere, and students have access to more resources than before. And at the same time, students and educators can connect almost immediately and gain meaningful feedback in a useful way.

Unfortunately, there is a downside. All these new opportunities require new investments in technology and IT staff and require a vision regarding how to connect everything and everyone in a simple way. Trial and error have yielded some results, with some missteps as well. Many educators are using less-than-perfect application solutions to provide some utility, with no clear direction regarding how to implement a permanent solution. And as students begin to expect these IT resources in their educational experience, colleges and universities can gain (or lose) a competitive advantage based on their IT infrastructure.

Investing in MSPs

The solutions Managed Service Providers offer to successful companies translate well to higher education. The school saves money in hardware investments and has an expert point of contact to help their IT staff, or even replace most of it. The infrastructure provides the opportunity and flexibility they need now, with the opportunity to grow over time. As student needs change, the infrastructure changes. Instead of racing to catch up with current technology trends, they can remain on the cutting edge each year.

MSPs can also help with important issues such as downtime and cybersecurity. While all organizations need reliability and security, the field of education has its own unique needs and challenges. Downtime can affect test-taking schedules, a class syllabus, and the entire timeline of a course. If some students are affected but not others, it can upset the atmosphere of fairness when it comes to grading and receiving course credit. And with a hard deadline for each semester, schools can’t simply extend their timelines. A reliable managed service provider can guarantee upload times and ensure everyone has access when they need it.

Security also has special importance in education. The integrity of when assignments are turned in, grades and project work data needs to be protected so both students and teachers can do their jobs effectively. A data breach threatens the integrity of the institution, and the MSP can protect that data with an evolving suite of tools that protects the school and its students.

In short, the MSP protects and maximizes the online environment and enhances communication for all parties. Students expect excellent learning technology for their tuition, and this partnership allows the school to offer it effectively and affordably.

Teams in the Teaching Environment

Just as Microsoft Teams is tailor-made for the business environment, it works just as well in areas of higher learning.

Teams is about productive communication and seamless, productive environments. All Microsoft applications that are used extensively in classes and projects will work perfectly, and group projects are never bound by coordinating schedules and in-person meetings.

For educators, Teams provides a clean format for one-on-one communication, dialogue between groups or classes of students, and a platform to send essential information to everyone (in all groups) at once. All course-necessary documents are in one place, interactive communication is encouraged, and chats, audio, and video are all available to enhance instruction and discussion.

Students get the same benefits in the virtual classroom, but they also use those tools to communicate with each other. With one sign-in, they have everything they need in one environment. Documents can be shared and edited, and eventually shared with instructors as well. Instead of looking through different applications or email accounts to find a specific piece of information, everything is in Microsoft Teams. And it’s useful for multiple classes across an entire academic career.

Teams also help schools with their own business. The same communication required between teachers and students, and students among themselves, is also necessary for administrative support positions. The entire staff can communicate with each other across multiple campuses, with the same tools and ease of use as any other group involved in the educational experience. Throughout different departments and projects, Microsoft Teams can evolve and expand as needs change. And in all of these cases, the same tool is serving everyone’s needs.

Managed Service Providers - Microsoft Teams
Managed Service Providers – Microsoft Teams

Next Steps

Utilizing a Managed Service Provider comes with many benefits for higher education organizations, and nearly as many questions when it comes to getting started. Fortunately, Imperium Data Services can answer those questions, guide your team, and implement the right solution for you. Simply use our contact page to begin the conversation.

 

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