A Guide to Choosing the Right Data Backup Solution for your School. March 2015.

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1 A Guide to Choosing the Right Data Backup Solution for your School. March 2015.

2 Contents Introduction Why introduce a remote data backup solution?... 4 What is the difference between onsite & offsite data backup?... 5 The Importance of maintaining safe data storage Data Security Reliable Backup and Storage Future Proof Safe Data Storage Processes User Access Things to consider when choosing a Service Provider Availability Scalability Security Recovery Time Automated Backup Conclusion About Our ICT Where to find us How to contact us P a g e

3 Introduction. It is difficult for schools nowadays to maintain the IT necessary for data storage and backup. Most schools are expected to do more with less and this includes meeting specific standards for data storage. In today s tough economic environment, many schools are struggling to meet the IT requirements necessary for running an educational institution. Additionally, budget cuts are becoming more common while educational standards and requirements are being increased, especially when it comes to data storage and security. The term data storage refers to any information or applications that are stored on a computer. This includes messages, documents, text files, images, databases, student information, grade applications and records, and much more. Data storage is also separated into two different categories which include primary and secondary data storage. Primary data storage refers to data that is stored on school computers and the network. Secondary data storage is the process of backing up and storing critical data in a secondary location so it can be accessed at a later date or recovered in the event of a catastrophe. Each category of data storage is important with the secondary type being the most critical to data protection. 3 P a g e

4 Why introduce a remote data backup solution? In the past, schools were required to establish secondary data storage on separate servers and IT infrastructure to enable it to be recovered in the event of a disaster. Additionally, most educational institutions are required to maintain specific standards when it comes to storing data. For example, in some countries, schools must keep a specified number of copies of data as a compliance requirement for audits. Most schools are required to maintain a specific level of security to keep student, school, and employee information safe. As a result of data storage requirements and standards, many schools struggle to keep up with the IT infrastructure needed to remain in compliance. This is because budget limitations do not allow the institutions to meet the expenses of monitoring and maintaining the infrastructure and deploying the IT staff required to accomplish this task. This is where modern data storage technologies can be of assistance to a lot of school districts. Many schools are opting to use cloud backup and storage services as a means of securing data while working with budget limitations. Other schools still deploy data storage on their own infrastructure or use a combination of both onsite and offsite storage. 4 P a g e

5 What is the difference between onsite & offsite data backup? Onsite storage refers to any type of technology that is used to store data on the premises. This includes computers, external hard drives, servers, hard disk drives, network attached storage, and more. This means the data is backed up and stored to a secondary device for future retrieval. Offsite data backup and storage is also known as cloud storage and is the process of storing data in a datacenter at an offsite location. Cloud storage is offered by cloud service providers and represents a cost effective solution for many schools since the service provider maintains, monitors, and secures the infrastructure. The data can then be accessed from any device that has an Internet connection. Cloud data storage is the modern form of offsite data storage and provides an easier way to access and restore data. In the past, schools would use a tape backup system which can be quite costly and unreliable. This is because you must maintain specific environment conditions to protect tapes that are very fragile. The risk of not being able to retrieve data using this method is much higher. Cloud data storage has been in existence for some time now and uses technologies that are far better than tape backup. Additionally, this type of system is more cost effective and the data can be backed up from virtually any location. If you have multiple buildings within a school district, the cloud data software is designed to facilitate data transfer and backup in the background during daily operations. Any data that has been modified after that is automatically backed up to the cloud. The end result is a backup and storage process that is more manageable and cost effective. 5 P a g e

6 The Importance of maintaining safe data storage. Keeping data safe in schools can be a monumental task when it is done on the premises. Schools must deploy the infrastructure, fund IT staff to monitor and maintain it, pay for security technologies, and then purchase new infrastructure when the old system is no longer effective. Instead, schools can keep data safe, meet compliance and security requirements, and have an effective disaster recovery strategy at a fraction of the cost of maintaining data backup and storage infrastructure on the premises. Here are a few ways moving away frohow m antiquated system can provide safe data storage: Data Security. When you backup and store data with a cloud storage service, the service provider maintains the infrastructure including keeping it secure. When you work with the right services provider, many of them have gone to great lengths to meet strict compliance standards. Once they have been certified, they must undergo periodic audits to ensure their infrastructure stays compliant. This passes the cost savings on to the school while providing them with the security required to meet specific education standards in terms of safe data storage. The school pays a monthly or annual subscription, the data is safe, and it can be accessed or restored at any time using a secure password. In addition to the use of passwords, all data is encrypted prior to being sent to the servers maintained by the cloud data storage provider. This means the data is scrambled during transmission to prevent it from being intercepted. When you want to access it, you use the encryption password to unscramble the data and download it from the server. Because the data is not being stored on an external device such as a flash drive or CD, you never have to be concerned about device malfunctions or stolen data. It also provides schools with peace of mind that they will not have to face the consequences of a data breach which can be pretty severe depending upon your circumstances. 6 P a g e

7 Reliable Backup and Storage. Backup and storage processes are only as reliable as the infrastructure that houses it and the people that are responsible for performing the procedure. For this reason, many schools opt to use cloud services to ensure safe data storage. This type of service uses an automated backup process which means you never have to rely on a staff member to perform the backup. Human error is one of the main causes of data loss, especially if they forget to backup data that has been changed or updated. Future Proof Safe Data Storage Processes. Unlike the old processes of tape backup, a cloud data backup and storage service will always ensure you never run out of server space. This prevents a school district from having to purchase additional IT which may or may not be feasible in terms of budget. Data storage services also use redundancy for their servers and have server infrastructure distributed in more than one location. This means if one server fails, the other one will take over. Additionally, the high quality service providers often use underground vaults to store data. This ensures recovery in the event of a natural disaster. This type of system results in expensive infrastructure which is cost prohibitive for most school districts. User Access. When you use cloud data backup and storage services, school districts never have to worry about compatibility and end user issues. Regardless of the technology that is deployed by the service provider, a school is not required to upgrade devices, software, or media on their end since you access the data storage service using a secure Internet connection and a web browser. The login interface is very user friendly and does not require any additional expenses except your monthly or annual subscription. Easy user access is important in the event data must be recovered quickly and efficiently. Generally, this is not the case with tape backup or a traditional server infrastructure on the premises. 7 P a g e

8 Things to consider when choosing a Service Provider. Choosing a service provider for data backup and storage is a very important step toward making sure you can access school data securely and efficiently. Like anything else, there are high quality services and then there are the not so good services. When researching service providers, the best place to begin is with one that has a long established track record. You do not want a service provider that is going to close their doors after a short period of time and take your data with them. Some of the other factors to consider include: Availability. Although most service providers use redundancy and the reassurance of a Service Level Agreement (SLA), it is always important to double check. This will determine how available the service will be and establishes a bound agreement that critical data can always be accessed. Most quality service providers guarantee an uptime of at least 99.9 percent. The level of protection the service provider offers should be spelled out in detail in the SLA. Scalability. One of the advantages of working with a data backup and storage provider is the solution is scalable. This means you are not locked into the amount of storage space you designated when you first subscribed to the service. Instead, the storage provider will allow you to scale up or down as necessary and as school district requirements change. Security. Most of the high quality service providers use the same security technologies as the military. Additionally, any data that is transmitted to their servers is fully encrypted and remains that way until it is accessed by the subscriber. The data cannot be read or interpreted by anyone when it is encrypted. When working with a data backup and storage provider, invest the time to learn all you can about the security technologies they use and the compliance certifications they have been awarded. If your school district has specific data storage compliance requirements, make sure the service provider can meet these standards. 8 P a g e

9 Recovery Time. Data backup and storage is pointless unless you can easily recover it in a reliable fashion. This means the service provider should be able to provide your school district with an easy and straightforward process for performing single action data recovery. Find out what processes are used and if possible, talk to other clients that have recovered their data from the service. Automated Backup. The cloud backup and storage service provider should be able to use an automated process to backup and store all school data. An effective process does not require any of your staff to be near their device when the data is backed up. This provides reliability and ensures you always have access to the latest set of data along with any modifications. These are a few of the main considerations when it comes to choosing a service provider. There are other things to take into consideration according to the data backup and storage needs of each individual school district. Conclusion. In conclusion, data backup and storage services should provide your school districts with a solution that meets every need. The service should be reliable, secure, and fully managed by highly trained and certified datacenter staff. The quality services often employ a comprehensive staff that specialises in specific IT skills. This provides your school district with access to professional expertise without the hefty price tag. For the reasons we highlighted in this article, your school will likely find it worthwhile to revise the current data storage strategy, especially if you are having problems keeping up to speed with IT and current compliance requirements. 9 P a g e

10 About Our ICT Located in the beautiful surroundings of Epping Forest on the East London/Essex border, Our ICT is the trusted ICT partner of choice for an increasing number of schools and other Education establishments located throughout London and the Home Counties. We continue to build longterm working relationships with our clients through the delivery of a consistently high standard of service, working hard to leverage maximum efficiency from your schools annual budget. Our team of highly experienced Microsoft and Apple certified service desk engineers, field technicians and consultants work closely with teachers, support staff and internal IT managers, providing a comprehensive range of support services and solutions. They retain unequalled knowledge and experience gained from working exclusively within the education sector. We apply strict internal application and recruitment procedures as part of our safer recruiting policy. In addition, all new and existing members of staff are subject to annual DBS checks. What Educational establishments does Our ICT support? Early Years, Primary and Special schools We work closely with teachers and support staff, providing day-to-day curricular support for technology and solutions including but not limited to desktops, tablet devices, interactive whiteboards and learning applications. Secondary schools, Academies & Free Schools We support and develop your IT staff, providing strategic guidance and expert advice. Helping you to leverage maximum efficiency from your existing resources and effectively introducing new technologies. Colleges and Higher Education Fully managed project delivery and continuity of service. Ongoing management of large area networks. Independent Schools - We support all types of independent schools, from nursery & pre-prep to preparatory & public schools.

11 Where to find us. Chingford office address 132 Station Road Chingford London E4 6AB (Located directly opposite Chingford train station). How to contact us Contacting support Contact sales us Find us on the web Find us on Twitter Find us on Facebook P a g e

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