In the past, schools needed to be able to recover their data in the event of disaster but, beyond that, it was up to each institution as to how it handled its IT infrastructure and backup. In many cases this was a matter of dumping on separate servers and hoping for the best! Fortunately today, we have more professional cloud backup and storage services available.But, what should you consider in choosing a service provider for your school in UK?
You do not want a service provider that is going to close shop after a short period of time and take your data with them; look for a company that has at least ten years’ experience.
Look for a provider who offering a fully managed service with UK support, 24/7. The level of protection the service provider offers should be detailed in the Service Level Agreement (SLA) so remember to check small print carefully.
The provider should use a fully automated process to backup and store all your school’s data. Education backups will usually work automatically overnight and no school or college staff needs to be involved. Some providers will send daily backup emails so you know the backups have been successful.
One of the advantages of handing over your education backup and storage to a service provider is that the solution immediately becomes scalable. You will not be locked into the set amount of storage you first subscribed to but you can scale up or down as required. So, if the Government changes the rules as to what you need to store, it is not the end of the world!
The security of your data is paramount so invest some time learning all you can about the technologies used by the service provider and the compliance certifications they have been awarded. Make sure the service provider is familiar with the specific requirements of the UK education sector (e.g. whether they are BESA approved) and ensure any data that is transmitted to their servers is fully encrypted and will remain so until you (and only you) want access to it.
Schools generally have very fast internet connections, but vast amounts of data. Look for a provider who can offer a free service to perform your initial education backup as this will take the longest time; subsequent incremental backups will build on the initial “seed”, capturing only changes to it, so daily backups will not take anywhere near as long.
Data backup and storage is pointless unless you can easily recover it in a reliable fashion. You may want to look for a provider offering disk imaging or “bare-metal” backups and restores. This method allows not only your establishment’s application data to be restored, but, also its applications and operating system to be backed up or restored as required. With this type of disaster recovery solution you can restore an entire server in a matter of minutes, restore to alternative hardware and even select single files.
Finally, your solution must be affordable. Find out if there is special pricing for educational bodies and shop around for a few quotes to compare providers. You will be surprised what you can find out there.
In conclusion, educational data backup and storage servicesshould provide your school, college or university with a solution that meets every need. The service should be reliable, secure, and fully managed by highly trained and certified staff. In short, look for professional expertise but without a hefty price tag!