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One of the best things about education is getting to learn something new, whether it’s a technology, methodology, or figuring out a better way to do a common task.Of course, education doesn’t end when you leave school — we are all constantly learning and improving (or you should be) in our daily work and personal lives. This is certainly true for CIOs, network administrators, and other IT staff tasked with building, managing, and optimizing the networks that organizations rely on to run their businesses.

In this series of articles, we’ve discussed the challenges that higher education and all organizations face today when deploying Wi-Fi networks that can meet the high demands of modern users and technologies.

We’ve also seen how one institution, Thomas College in Maine, has been able to leverage modern networking technologies and cloud-based network management to not only ease the demands on their IT staff, but to also ensure that their Wi-Fi network serves students, faculty, and administration who rely on the network to deliver high-speed and reliable connectivity. Leveraging these technologies isn’t simply a matter of just having support for new standards or easier administration — Aberdeen Group research has shown that any organization that takes advantage of technologies such as cloud-based management for their networks gain a number of benefits.

For example, companies using cloud-based network management are 20% more likely to prevent unauthorized network access when compared to other organizations, and they secure guest network access 40% more than non-cloud management businesses. They also enforce mobile endpoint security compliance at a 55% higher rate. With this focus on ensuring secure and policy-compliant access to their wired and wireless networks, these leading organizations show that use of cloud-based management does not equal a low emphasis on security.

More importantly, when we asked organizations if their network performance was optimal, adequate, or poor, institutions with cloud-based network management were 50% more likely to have networks with optimal performance.

These kinds of benefits are especially important in today’s technology landscape. Providing network connectivity is no longer about just putting in place some wireless access points and supporting basic web browsing and laptops.

Modern users connect a wide variety of devices, from smartphones and tablets, to smartwatches and other devices. And, much like higher education institutions, businesses are putting increasing amounts of performance-sensitive traffic on these networks, whether its real-time video and voice communications, or massive amounts of big data analytics and virtual systems. To meet these demands, IT departments everywhere need to keep up their education in network technologies and practices. They need to leverage emerging technologies such as 802.11ac, secure against unauthorized access, and be ready for the influx of Internet of Things devices that will soon be swamping networks everywhere.

And they have to do all this in environments with often limited IT resources and staff. This kind of education never really stops. Organizations today need to continue to hit the books to ensure that they are ready and able to handle every new innovation and demand that modern users and business requirements send their way.

Class dismissed.

For over 20 years, Jim Rapoza, Senior Research Analyst and Editorial Director at the Aberdeen Group, has been using, testing, and writing about the newest technologies in software, enterprise hardware, and the Internet. He previously served as the director of an award-winning technology testing lab based in Massachusetts and California. Rapoza is also the winner of five awards of excellence in technology journalism, and co-chaired a summit on technology industry security practices. He is a frequent speaker at technology conferences and expositions, and has been regularly interviewed as a technology expert by national and local media outlets including CNN, ABC, NPR, and the Associated Press.