Navigating the vendor line-up to find the right tech partner

Jonathan Whitley, Northern European Sales Director at WatchGuard, explores one of the most important decisions institutions make

I’m sure we all remember lining up on the school playing fields waiting to see if we were going to be the first or last to be picked. Whilst how early you were picked would come down in some part to your perceived social standing, mostly it was based on whether you had the requisite skills for the upcoming football, hockey or rugby battle about to unfurl.

Making the right choice could be the difference in winning or losing for the captain. Today, translate this line-up to that of eager vendors wishing to gain a slice of a school’s ever-tightening budget and the consequences of a bad choice being made by the IT admin could lead to students being placed in danger, crumbling Oxted ratings or them receiving their P45.

Technology has played a huge part in transforming the learning environment for students in the 21st century. Tablets, smartphones, interactive white boards and video-projectors are all now commonplace. Numerous pieces of research have concluded that introducing technologically-rich digital learning experiences from an early age both stimulates enthusiasm and reduces drop-out rates. However, the sheer cost of change and the fear of increasing the chances of a cyber-attack have been barriers for many schools wishing to fully push the button on the latest technology advancements.

They are right to be wary of the security implications. WatchGuard’s recent Internet Security Report highlighted how total malware attacks globally are up by a third[1]. The sad reality is that today’s cyber criminals are increasingly leveraging sophisticated, evasive attacks and resourceful malware delivery schemes to infiltrate schools and colleges.

Keeping up with the latest technological advancements is a constant struggle for schools. Almost as soon as they’ve invested in technology, something bigger and better inevitably comes along to take its place. This can be a frustrating experience so making the right choice first time round is imperative to be able to future-proof their IT estate.

Modern, ambitious schools and colleges want both their students and teachers to utilise the most up-to-date technology in their classrooms. The simple truth is that investing in technology can be an expensive business, and many schools have been burnt before. A fear factor therefore remains. Only by working with a trusted technology partner that can provide bespoke solutions and sage advice along the way can a school get the most out of their investment and protect pupils and staff alike from the latest cyber-attacks.


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