Digital workspace top tech priority in education – survey

A poll by Softcat found 80% of sector respondents saying that the digital workspace would be their primary technology investment area over the next year

An overwhelming majority of education-related organisations are putting digital workspace improvements above all other technological priorities, according to a new report from IT infrastructure provider, Softcat.

Eighty per cent of education sector respondents surveyed in the 2021 Softcat Business Tech Priorities Report said that it would be their primary technology investment area over the next year.

Second was cybersecurity, cited by 68%, while networking ranked third with 43%.

Twenty-two per cent of those in the education sector cited sustainability as an important factor in their IT strategy for the coming year, compared to a 10% cross-sector average.

The findings are based on the views of nearly 1,250 organisations in the UK and Ireland, across 23 industries.

Digital workspaces are designed to bring all of a user’s digital resources into a single place and be managed via any device and from any location, irrespective of whether the information is stored in a data centre or in the cloud.

An appreciation of their worth grew exponentially during the pandemic-enforced switch to remote learning and teaching, and is unlikely to lessen in a post-Covid world, according to Softcat MD, Richard Wyn Griffith.

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“Over the past 18 months or so, the education sector has been heavily challenged [and] working hard to limit the impact on business as usual or respond to unprecedented restrictions on in-person teaching,” he said.

“People, empowered by technology, have made navigating this uncertain and disruptive period possible. And this will only continue as we learn to live and thrive with new ways of working.”

When it comes to identifying cybersecurity attacks, there is a wide sub-sector split in education.

While primary schools are relatively close to typical businesses in terms of how many identify breaches (36% vs 39%), secondary schools (58%) and further education colleges (75%) are much more likely to recognise them.

In August we reported on how education was the most targeted sector in more than half of the nations surveyed by Check Point Research, with cybercriminals exploiting the industry’s rapid shift to remote learning.

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