Coronavirus, Universities and Remote Access: Higher Education is Going Remote, but How Will Their IT Keep Up?
In response to the growing threat of COVID-19, an increasing number of universities across the world are cancelling all “non-essential activities,” campus tours, study abroad programs and, more critically, in-person on-campus classes.
Just this week, Harvard notified students they had five days to move out of on-campus housing and would be completing classes and exams remotely, while many other colleges, including UCLA, Stanford and Duke, have also suspended in-person classes indefinitely.
It’s a unique challenge and complicated task for any higher education institution to balance the safety of students, while still ensuring the continuity of their education. While there are many considerations when moving to 100% remote learning, especially with an uncertain timeline, one solvable – yet extremely critical – piece of the equation is ensuring the right underlying IT is in place to support a remote student body.
Many universities already leverage online learning platforms, like Coursera and Blackboard, as well as videoconferencing tools, like Zoom. So, for many, the tools have already been adopted. But never before have colleges needed their IT networks to support entire remote student bodies. Attending a remote lecture or taking an online exam requires consistent, stable network performance. Yet the influx of remote users can and will create bottlenecks on a university’s network, degrading application performance and ultimately impacting learning and productivity.
Aryaka’s Secure Remote Access (SRA) solution routes traffic through a dedicated, SLA-driven global Layer-2 private network, accelerating both on-premises and SaaS applications by up to 10X and providing consistently fast data, voice and video. No hardware or software is required. SRA can leverage an organization’s existing VPN client, so the solution does not require any changes to the IT architecture and can be deployed within minutes. Aryaka also offers SmartCDN, which accelerates application and content delivery and is especially useful for universities that post content and resources to the web. In this case, no VPN is required. All Aryaka solutions also include access to MyAryaka, a cloud portal that provides real-time visibility into the network and applications.
For students and faculty, this translates to a smooth, stable videoconferencing experience for lectures and quick, reliable access to applications and learning platforms. For a university’s IT department, Aryaka solutions simplify the VPN infrastructure, enhance remote access security and provide end-to-end visibility into the network via MyAryaka – all after a quick and easy deployment.
As the coronavirus continues to be a growing threat and organizations like the CDC encourage “social distancing” as a best practice for all communities, there’s no clear timeline for when university campuses will be back to normal. Universities need a solution that can be implemented now, but also serve as a long-term solution that can adapt to their changing and unpredictable needs during these times of uncertainty. Aryaka provides reliable connectivity that can be quickly deployed and is flexible to meet the evolving demands of any organization.