what we really need in IT is someone who has super power

Why every Independent School needs a Super Hero!

Originally posted on 12 December 2016

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the network went down when someone stepped on a crack in the sidewalk

How would your Independent School cope with 22 hours of ICT Downtime?

Originally posted on 12 June 2017 In the wake of British Airways catastrophic IT Failure which left so many passengers stranded at airports at the start of half term, I thought it would be timely today to talk about disaster recovery. As anyone who has ever experienced network downtime will know, it is amazing how crippling an ICT system failure is to a school, and how far reaching the consequences can be. Not only does an outage create classroom and administrative operational chaos, it can also have serious consequences for the school’s reputation, particularly where there is loss of critical data such as pupils’ coursework, or a breach of security around confidential pupil data. Interested in finding out how educateIT could help improve your schools disaster recovery? Download our FREE White Paper >> Whilst many schools I talk to tend to associate ICT downtime with large events such as fires or floods, the reality is that the majority of ICT downtime has much more mundane causes which can include hardware failures, loss of power, cyber security breaches (such as ransomware attacks) and software failures. And in many cases the downtime is considerable, with the EMC Global Data Protection Index 2016 study showing that the average length of unplanned downtime was 22 hours. Indeed the situation seems to be worsening this year, with ICT downtime caused by ransomware attacks in particular often running into a week or more. And while many of us can work around a short system outage, when such outages are extending into days or even weeks there can be a serious impact on the school’s operations and reputation. As such, it is critical that the senior leadership team have a thorough understanding of their risk management processes and contingency procedures around network resilience, backups and disaster recovery. So is it enough to have a disaster recovery plan? Sadly I fear not. I’m sure BA had a disaster recovery plan, but how well did it work when it was used in anger? For many schools, I find the disaster recovery plan that was put together some years ago and has sat in the fireproof safe ever since, without testing or updating. My experience is that this document needs to be constantly evolving, as our use of technology in education has moved on apace, and what was an acceptable recovery plan a couple of years ago may now be totally inadequate. In addition, our systems are constantly changing, with software updates and security fixes being installed on a regular basis, all of which can impact on the technical success of a recovery. In order to ensure ongoing relevance, I always recommend that schools continually re-assess and test their plans around resilience, backup and disaster recovery, against the operational needs of their school and their changing use of technology. Some points to consider would include:-

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somebody is doing something to improve IT security

Fraud Alert – Schools targeted with Ransomware

Originally posted on 23 January 2017

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genius is 1 percent inspiration, 99 percent budget allocation

Getting the best value from ICT Budgets in Independent Schools

Originally posted on 9 January 2017 With ever increasing demands for new and improved technology in independent schools, it is easy for ICT to become a bottomless money pit. Naturally, every school wants to use technology to enhance the learning environment, equip pupils for the digital world that they will be living and working in, as well as ensure that the school is keeping up with its competitors and using technology in a way that will serve to attract further pupils to the school.  The bursar however, has the unenviable job of trying to balance all these laudable ambitions against a limited budget! 

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the new revenue stream is finally kicking in

Monetising your school’s ICT facilities

Originally posted on 22 May 2017 Independent schools spend a significant amount of money on ICT facilities both to enhance the learning environment and to ensure the smooth running of the school’s administrative function. Whilst most schools will look to incorporate messages about their ICT facilities into their marketing literature to attract new pupils, there is also the opportunity to leverage ICT to generate income from other sources too.

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valley of forgotten passwords

GDPR – Understanding and Securing your School’s Data

Originally posted on 8 May 2017 I wanted to start by further exploring the importance of understanding what personal data you hold in Independent Schools and where that confidential data is stored. Bear in mind personal data can be as simple as a pupil, teacher or parent’s name or email address. This may sound like an odd topic, as I'm sure many of you are thinking you know exactly where all your schools’ data is held. But do you really?

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