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Cloud Backup Saves School Data After Fire

There’s no doubt that backing up your data is hugely important. Though you might have a backup system in place already, that doesn’t necessarily mean you’ve solved the problem. The physical location of backup is just one of the factors that you need to consider; if your backup solution is near the main copy of the data, is that a good solution? The answer is no, but let’s highlight that with a recent news story.

A school in a seaside town in the United Kingdom recently suffered a fire which destroyed most buildings, just two weeks before the new term was due to start. Local reports claim that the fire was accidentally started by a roofer. Completely destroyed by the fire was the server room, which is where all teacher and student data was stored.

In the past, the school had used tape for their backup storage. While tape can be reliable in some situations, it’s an old system and can take a very long time to perform a full backup. In the case of the school’s 1TB of data, this could take up to two days.

Daniel Sapseid, the IT manager for the school, said he would often leave the backup to complete over the weekend and then take the tapes home, admitting that he spent far too much time checking that the backups had completed.

After attending a British Educational Training and Technology trade show, Sapseid then decided to outsource the school’s backup to an external provider who specialised in backing up for schools. Along with the existing on premise data storage, the provider would back the data up via the internet and store it in the cloud.

The school’s IT team would receive daily emails to tell them that the backup had completed successfully, freeing up their time and giving them security in the knowledge that their data was being safely backed up.

Following the fire, you can imagine Sapseid’s relief that their data was backed up externally. “After the fire, my attention was drawn to the confidential student and staff data that we hold. It goes without saying that I don’t even want to think about what the consequences of losing all that information would have been. The head teacher called me up that evening to ask if we had backed up all student data. It was clearly a relief that we had,” he said.

The school were able to restore all their critical within two hours and all staff and students had access to their data, including important coursework, in less than 10 hours.

This story is a drastic one, but it doesn’t mean something like this can’t happen to you or your enterprise. It’s not just virtual threats that you need to fight against. Environmental disasters can take out your entire data backup solution, so ensure you have redundancy built into your plan. Take multiple backups and use different physical locations for each; there’s no point having the backups in the same location as your main data, as this school’s story has demonstrated.


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