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Laying the Foundation For a Student-Centric Campus

Laying the Foundation For a Student-Centric Campus

This is the third and final installment in a series of posts discussing critical aspects of the Educause report “Top 10 IT Issues 2020: The Drive to Digital Transformation Begins.”

In our last two blog posts, we discussed the data integration challenges institutions are facing in the context of the constantly connected student, as well as the intersection of digital transformation and faculty adoption

Though the pandemic has urgently accelerated both the need for and the implementation of new approaches to just about every aspect of the higher ed experience, the limitations and obstacles to those new approaches that existed before covid still remain: 

– IT teams still need to pour considerable time and money into the integration of new tools into an institution’s IT ecosystem.

– Faculty and staff still face a learning curve with any new tool, which sometimes results in limited adoption.

Meanwhile, students used to a ubiquitous connection and seamless digital experiences are demanding that their colleges and universities provide a truly student-centric environment for them – a campus experience that encompasses not only their physical, in-person interactions with their institution, but also their virtual interactions, whether with learning resources or administrative resources – and allows them to move effortlessly and seamlessly among them all.

Trying to find solutions that address each of these challenges is a formidable task for higher ed administrators already dealing with all of 2020’s slings and arrows. 

Fortunately, there is one solution that provides a firm foundation for the creation of a student-centric campus that checks all the above boxes, one that creates a secure, easy-to-use framework for data integration that is simple to adapt to changing requirements – the N2N Illuminate platform.

N2N Illuminate is an integration platform developed specifically for higher ed, with pre-built integrations for the tools you’ve been using for years, and quick, snap-together integrations for the new tools you want to try out today.    

By placing Illuminate at the center of your IT ecosystem:

– You’ll drastically reduce the IT resources needed to integrate any new tool, freeing your IT team up for other, more important tasks.   

– You’ll gain much needed flexibility in the choice of tools you use, allowing you to quickly and affordably integrate and try out different ones as needed to ensure faculty and staff adoption.

– And you’ll be able to easily create a student-centered, seamless experience that will help you retain current students and attract new students.

…all while gaining the ability to quickly and easily adjust to whatever 2021 and beyond has in store for us.      

At N2N, we are committed to a student-centric and seamless experience, that begins at recruitment and follows through application, acceptance, financing, learning, student success, graduation, and beyond. 

Let us help you lay the foundation for a bright future for your institution and your students, no matter what lies ahead. Contact us for a free demo today. 


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The Intersection of Digital Transformation and Faculty Adoption

The Intersection of Digital Transformation and Faculty Adoption

This is the second in a series of posts discussing critical aspects of the Educause report “Top 10 IT Issues 2020: The Drive to Digital Transformation Begins.”

In our last blog post, we discussed the data integration challenges that colleges and universities face in 2020 – most notably, the need for adaptability within a student-centered ecosystem. Today, we turn our focus to another aspect of the integration puzzle – the fact that faculty adoption of new tools is just as much a factor in an institution’s ability to adapt and thrive as the tools themselves.

This issue has been thrust into a glaring spotlight in recent months, with frustratingly inconsistent adoption of tools for virtual learning, varying from professor to professor. While some are comfortable using the new platforms and tools their institution has provided or recommended, others struggle to get them to work correctly or to utilize all the features – and some opt out of using them altogether.

Unfortunately, this creates an environment that is the exact opposite of student-centric – and certainly not the seamless digital experience set forth as the gold standard in the above-mentioned Educause report.

It’s one thing when inconsistent faculty adoption of an app or tool affects only a small part of a student’s college experience – it’s quite another when it impacts their daily class experience, and causes ongoing frustration all semester long.

Of course no one is blaming faculty for this inconsistent use of the tools available – the entire world of higher ed has been thrown into uncharted territory these past several months, and everyone is scrambling to figure out the best ways forward.

But precisely therein lies the solution – what if there was a simple and affordable way to rapidly experiment with different tools to find those best ways forward, quickly integrating those new tools with your institution’s other apps and databases for trial usage by faculty, and then just as quickly removing them to try another one, if the first just isn’t gaining traction with professors?

What if you were able to retain this flexibility into the future, so that you could always test new tools for faculty adoption before settling on the perfect fit – and what if doing so didn’t require using up all your institution’s IT resources for weeks at a time?

That’s exactly what the N2N Illuminate platform can do for you.

Illuminate removes barriers to institutional adaptability by making it easy to try out any new app or tool, securely integrating it into your existing IT ecosystem.

When it’s that quick and easy to test out a new tool, it becomes just as easy to find exactly the right fit for your institution’s faculty – the tool that they are all willing and able to utilize and that they can use to provide a consistent, seamless learning experience for your students on a daily basis.

No more frustration for faculty…no more frustration for students…and no more frustration for administration.

If you’d like to learn more about how N2N Illuminate can help your institution navigate our current challenges and prepare for those to come, contact us today for a free demo.

 


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Solving Data Integration Challenges for the Constantly Connected Student

Solving Data Integration Challenges for the Constantly Connected Student

This is the first in a series of posts discussing critical aspects of the Educause report “Top 10 IT Issues 2020: The Drive to Digital Transformation Begins.”

Although Educause’s annual top ten list of higher ed IT issues was released months before covid disruptions began to work their way into higher ed, its findings and predictions have managed to hold true – and the need to address them has in fact been accelerated due to the changes the pandemic brought on.

One of the key considerations the report focused on was the need for colleges and universities to build a truly student-centered campus in order to attract and retain students.

Prior to the pandemic, this was already a daunting feat – one that meant catering to a demographic used to a ubiquitous connection, integrating multiple devices and operating systems into a seamless experience.

Now, with so much more of the college experience migrating online, it’s even more daunting – and even more crucial to the success of both students and universities.    

What is a Student-Centered Virtual Campus?

According to the Educause report, a student-centered campus is focused on creating a student services ecosystem to support the entire student life cycle, from prospecting to enrollment, learning, job placement, and continuing education. The university must approach this from a student’s point of view. The university should make attempts to satisfy the student’s needs, expectations of a seamless digital experience, and future professional goals.

This digital transformation, although inevitable, has been hastened by the current pandemic. It has shown administrators, students, and professors that enabling a seamless learning environment for students is critical as we continue along with our technological evolution. A seamless experience will attract more students and help drive student retention and success. But it does not stop there.

At N2N, we believe in a virtual, student-centered campus that works on any mobile device or desktop environment. We believe that a student should be able to access every resource – whether they are learning resources or administrative resources from a simple application, without the need for multiple logins or applications on the student’s device. 

The model needs to incorporate not just learning modalities but must be present with the student through his/her entire campus lifecycle. The model should support student services like billing, financial aid, library, and even cafeteria services directly from this holistic virtual campus module.

At N2N, we are committed to the end-to-end student experience, that begins at recruitment and follows through application, acceptance, financing, learning, student success, graduation, and beyond.

Considering all the departments and disparate systems the above entails, that is quite a challenge for any institution.

An Adaptable Student-Centered Campus System

In addition to the pure technological challenges of combining siloed systems, there is the challenge of future planning. For example, universities were once centers of synchronous learning. But recent worldwide events have shown that this model is no longer sustainable. The incorporation of virtual learning into the traditional college experience is no longer optional for academic institutions. Some institutions are now 100% virtual, but most institutions now support hybrid learning or flex learning to support students and their learning preferences.

Looking beyond the current pandemic, and projecting forward – we believe that students will need more flexibility from their educational institutions going forward, and the academia needs to adapt to succeed in this new student-centric world. 

It will be imperative that leadership at institutions choose a set of tools that can be adapted to support whichever learning modalities it may be called on to try. Beyond modalities, leadership must also be able to adapt and scale their systems to integrate new tools for the ever-growing and ever-evolving demand for that seamless online experience.

In a previous blog post we discussed how the N2N Illuminate platform is a solution that allows university systems to easily add and remove any tools they decide on quickly, easily, and affordably, integrating them into one seamless ecosystem.

Contact us to find out how we can help you transition into a student-centered campus.


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N2N Services successfully completes SOC 2 audit

N2N Services successfully completes SOC 2 audit

N2N Services, Inc., a provider of secure and holistic cloud integration, today is pleased to announce the successful completion of a System and Organization Controls (SOC) 2® Type I Audit examination for N2N’s Illuminate Integration Platform. N2N Services, Inc. retained international business advisory firm Marcum LLP for its SOC 2® audit work. N2N Services, Inc. selected Marcum LLP after an intensive search based on Marcum LLP’s reputation as a leading risk advisory and compliance firm.

Ben Osbrach, CISSP, CISA, QSA, CICP, CCSFP, National Risk Advisory Leader of Marcum’s risk advisory group says, “We were excited to work with N2N Services, Inc. from the very start. They are an intriguing organization delivering high-quality services and their business adds to our growing SOC reporting practice.”

SOC 2® engagements are performed in accordance with the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants’ (AICPA) AT-C 205, Reporting on Controls at a Service Organization and based on the trust service principles outlined in the AICPA Guide, Reporting on Controls at a Service Organization Relevant to Security, Availability, Processing Integrity, Confidentiality, or Privacy. The SOC 2® Type I report is performed by an independent auditing firm and is intended to provide an understanding of the service organization’s suitability of the design of its internal controls. A service organization may select any or all of the trust service principles applicable to their business and N2N Services, Inc. chose to report on the control environment, communications and information, risk assessment, monitoring activities, control activities, logical and physical access controls, system operation, change management and risk mitigation. The successful completion of this voluntary engagement illustrates N2N Services, Inc.’s ongoing commitment to create and maintain a secure operating environment for its clients’ confidential data.

Marcum’s testing of N2N Services, Inc.’s controls included an examination of the firm’s policies and procedures regarding network connectivity, firewall configurations, systems development life cycle, computer operations, logical access, data transmission, backup, and disaster recovery, and other critical operational areas of their business. Upon completion of the audit, N2N Services, Inc. received a Service Auditor’s Report with an unqualified opinion demonstrating that their policies, procedures, and infrastructure meet or exceed the stringent SOC 2® criteria.

“At N2N, we take security and best practices very seriously, as we are focused on student data interchange. The successful completion of our SOC 2® Type I examination audit provides N2N Services, Inc.’s clients with the assurance that the controls and safeguards we employ to protect and secure their data are in line with industry standards and best practices. SOC2 attestation is one of the critical parts of N2N’s focus on best practices and commitment to data security,” said Joel Dunn, CTO and CISO.

About – N2N Services, Inc.
N2N Services, Inc enables secure and holistic cloud integration so that organizations of all sizes can seamlessly connect cloud applications with their enterprise applications and data stores. Headquartered in Duluth, GA, N2N Services, Inc’s flagship product, Illuminate is an iPaaS enabling turnkey SaaS-to-SaaS and SaaS-to-on premise application and data integration. Illuminate’s intuitive approach enables customers to create, manage, secure, and monetize APIs, and build bridges between two APIs without any need for programming and additional infrastructure.

N2N Services, Inc believes that secure and turnkey application and data integration, powered by APIs is critical to the success of any enterprise competing in today’s digital economy. Enterprises, irrespective of their size and business models, need APIs for integration with the cloud, mobile, and social applications, wearable devices, and partner and customer portals. Modern, digital enterprises are now leveraging APIs to support real-time process automation, workflows, artificial intelligence, and business intelligence and analytics.

Even though APIs are critical for achieving success in today’s digital economy, many enterprises have struggled with the creation, management, and security of APIs. In this context, enterprises frequently spend millions of dollars on middleware, architecture teams, and disparate technologies without realizing any significant success. Small and Medium-sized businesses have more IT spending and resource constraints and often struggle to meet the unrelenting need for integration for composing digital business processes and a seamless transition to cloud services.

N2N Services, Inc is committed to enabling enterprises of all sizes to participate, benefit from, and compete in today’s digital economy enabled by APIs. N2N Services, Inc’s iPaaS, Illuminate enables enterprises to achieve success with migration to cloud services and fosters the implementation of cloud and API-first strategies. For more information, visit N2N’s website.

About – Marcum LLP
Marcum LLP is one of the largest independent public accounting and advisory services firms in the nation, with offices in major business markets throughout the U.S., as well as select international locations.

Headquartered in New York City, Marcum provides a full spectrum of traditional tax, accounting, and assurance services; advisory, valuation, and litigation support; managed accounting services; and an extensive portfolio of specialty and niche industry practices. The Firm serves both privately held and publicly registered companies, as well as nonprofit and social sector entities, high net worth individuals, private equity funds, and hedge funds, with a focus on middle-market companies and closely held family businesses. Marcum is a member of the Marcum Group, an organization providing a comprehensive array of professional services.

Marcum offers an extensive range of professional services and a high degree of specialization. The Risk Advisory practice specializes in SOC Reporting, PCI DSS Compliance, HIPAA Compliance and HITRUST validation, FISMA, NIST, ISO 27001, and other regulatory information security assessments. Staffs in Marcum’s Risk Advisory hold several industry certifications including Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA), Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP), Qualified Security Assessor (QSA), GIAC Penetration Tester (GPEN), and GIAC Web Application Penetration Tester (GWAPT). For more information about Marcum’s Risk Advisory Services, please visit their website here.


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