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2012 Top Ten IT Issues Reflect Privacy, Security, and Compliance Challenges

The EDUCAUSE IT Issues Panel and the staff of EDUCAUSE Data, Research, and Analytics have published the Top Ten IT Issues for 2012.  According to an article published in EDUCAUSE Review, this year’s results reflected a change of methodology “in response to perceptions that the top issues were at risk of becoming a stale recycling of the same fifteen or so issues”.  Although the 2012 list is significantly different from prior years, it continues the tradition of providing an insightful outlook into the most pressing issues in the world of higher education information technology.

The following topics surfaced in response to the question "What is the single-biggest IT-related issue currently facing your institution?"

  1. Updating IT professionals' skills and roles to accommodate emerging technologies and changing IT management and service delivery models
  2. Supporting the trends toward IT consumerization and bring-your-own device
  3. Developing an institution-wide cloud strategy
  4. Improving the institution's operational efficiency through information technology
  5. Integrating information technology into institutional decision-making
  6. Using analytics to support critical institutional outcomes
  7. Funding information technology strategically
  8. Transforming the institution's business with information technology
  9. Supporting the research mission through high-performance computing, large data, and analytics
  10. Establishing and implementing IT governance throughout the institution

The topics of “Bring Your Own Device” (issue #2) and “Cloud Computing” (issue #3) are undeniably among the timeliest and critical current issues for campus IT leaders.  While both represent  “the new normal” and track the emergence of technologies that are impacting academia, government, and the private sector, the sense of loss of control over mobile devices and the movement of institutional data into the cloud present profound policy and security challenges.  Analytics (issue #6) implicates the need for solid data governance and policies that govern the appropriate use of data, including privacy protections and security safeguards.  Given the growing importance of privacy, security, and compliance, you can expect that efforts to update IT professionals’ skills (issue #1) will require a growing sensitivity to and awareness of legal, policy, and ethical issues.

EDUCAUSE Policy will plan programs and services to help college and university IT professionals address the policy implications inherent in many of their most pressing IT issues.

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