A school is much like an enterprise when it comes to data. They have information that they need to store and they need to ensure it is secure and easily managed. With new technology being introduced to schools, often a necessity due to the curriculum, it’s as vital as ever that a school manages its data properly.
However, despite the importance of this data, many schools do not have a proper backup plan in place. If disaster struck and wiped out chunks of data then the result could have a huge impact – losses not only in the time spent recovering it, but there’s also financial repercussions too. There’s no excuse for any organisation to not have a stable backup plan in place, especially when dealing with sensitive and personal data.
A school’s management information system data is given a lot of importance, which is fair. This is just a vital a system as any other. But this shouldn’t negate the protection of any other data. Curriculum data isn’t considered as vital by schools, but when students are doing a lot of work digitally, not only in computing lessons.
You don’t have to look far to read horror stories about data loss. The same thing can happen to a school’s data. In fact, they’re even more vulnerable than the average consumer due to outside threats that aim to steal or destroy their confidential data.
No more are the days where schools had a few computers and interactive whiteboards. Schools are now kitted out with the latest technologies to help students learn in a more interact way and to offer teachers the ability to present material in a connected, collaborative way. Not only this, but they have unlimited access to all sorts of online resources and materials that can aid their lessons.
With all of this comes data and it’s growing at an expediential rate. Not only is the amount of data growing, but those individual files are growing in size too. A school also has to deal with the legal challenges in maintaining data, ensuring that they comply with the Data Protection Act, the Schools Financial Value Standard and any guidelines provided by the Information Commissioner’s Office. It’s tricky for many schools to keep up with these obligations, so it’s understandable that data backup can slip.
Another problem is the lack of staff to deal with the issue. Many smaller schools have little to no IT expertise to hand, meaning that backups are undertaken by someone who perhaps doesn’t fully understand the process. If these schools aren’t confident that their backups are valid or that they know how to properly restore from them, there’s almost no point in doing the backups.
Then there’s the point about how these backups are stored. Though storing data offsite is a common and recommended backup practice, it needs to be done securely. This does not mean taking the backups home or leaving them in unlocked rooms. The data within is sensitive and needs to be handled as such.
It’s a tricky situation, but backups need to be done. They need to be regular and encrypted because if a disaster strikes then the headache is going to be so much greater.
Educating the Education System About Backup
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