EDUCAUSE Annual Conference in Denver – November 2012

I appreciated the chance to join about 8,000 IT leaders from higher education and R&E networking at EDUCAUSE’s annual conference last week in Denver. Of particular relevance for The Quilt community were sessions addressing the key IT challenges facing campuses: 1) Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) management strategies; 2) institutional strategies for managing “big data;” and 3) campus policies for deciding what information and applications are acceptable to place in the “cloud.”

The BYOD panel, consisting of IT execs from Pepperdine University, Rowan University and Bradford Networks, suggested prioritizing risks and performing fit-gap analysis for existing policies and BYOD policies and asking the following questions: Do you need a separate BYOD policy? Or, just marketing/training around existing policies and how they apply to mobile devices?

On the topic of managing “big data,” IT and administrative representatives from Lehigh University and also the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill shared Lehigh University’s strategic storage planning initiative, which studied current storage practices in order to devise a plan to respond to the exponential growth in demand for data storage. The panel recommended the following areas as particularly important to consider when developing a “big data” game plan: i) create & share; ii) store & protect; iii) analyze & publish; iv) remix & curate.

The campus policy discussion at the meeting was an open forum where campus IT leaders came together to share common ideas, issues and considerations for campus IT priorities. The discussion focused on new campus IT policy considerations for storing institutional data in the public vs. private cloud. Representatives from the different institutions described their own campus efforts to define or classify data in order to make decisions on the most appropriate location for the data to be stored and archived while adhering to the protection requirements of transmitting and storing sensitive information.