Education and digital technologies: what is the backup strategy for schools?

Let’s go back a few years. In 2018, 98% of middle and high school teachers used digital tools in their teaching practice1. Even then, nine out of ten considered digital technology a plus for preparing learning sequences and making lessons more attractive1. Then came the 2020 health crisis, causing even more digitalization in schools. It is clear that today digital technologies have taken a prominent place in teaching methods. In ten years, the number of interactive digital whiteboards in secondary schools has increased from 3 to 17.7 per 1,000 students2. 83% of parents of secondary school students indicate that their child had their own phone at the time of birth, 45% had their own computer, and 24% had their own tablet2.

This daily use of digital technologies in education certainly provides an opportunity to enrich learning, enhance inclusiveness or even more engage students. But it also creates new challenges for institutions. How do you secure all these new endpoints and environments that courses increasingly rely on? Schools don’t have bloated IT teams or big budgets to back up their data and apps. Therefore, they need simple, efficient and cost-effective technologies that ensure the availability of digital tools.

Backup time divided by 16

Synology offers a free Active Backup package with its storage platforms, a solution especially suited to the education sector. This allows you to centralize backups of Windows devices, Linux servers, or VMware or Hyper-V virtual environments. A German school in Madrid, for example, uses one Synology DS218+ NAS to back up 50 computers and hot restore all systems (data, settings, and operating system), and a second DS116 NAS to back up its server hosting. virtual machines and Active Directory. All with the same software interface.

But Active Backup can also back up Microsoft 365 apps (OneDrive, SharePoint Online, Exchange Online, Teams) and Google Workspace (Drive, Gmail, Contacts, Calendar). Het Streek public school in the Netherlands uses Synology’s solution to back up 3,000 Microsoft 365 student and employee accounts, totaling 12TB, on a SAS SA3400 storage platform, reducing backup time by 16 times from 8 hours to around 30 minutes. The icing on the cake was that the implemented solution provided significant savings. “Synology’s solutions have saved us €21,000 a year,” explains Wim Hendrix, ICT manager at Het Streek. And today we know that our data can always be recovered. »

Back up 200 endpoints for $6,000

The processing of data in the education sector is also subject to certain regulatory restrictions. Thus, the use of on-premises infrastructure can also make a difference for compliance. For example, the University of Washington, a public research university in Seattle, was looking for a way to back up the desktops and mobile devices of about 300 faculty and staff in 2019. She first explored a cloud backup solution. But the cost of doing so, estimated at $250,000 a year, and the current rules excluding most players from the public cloud, forced him to look for an on-premises alternative. By investing $6,000 in a Synology DS3617+ NAS, the enterprise was able to take advantage of a free Active Backup license and thus deploy 100 TB of storage and back up more than 200 devices.

Simplicity, safety guaranteed

Synology has long been involved in transforming the education sector by providing solutions that enable sharing while providing security, control, and ease of implementation for educational institutions. The use of digital technologies in schools will continue to evolve in the coming years. In France’s major investment plan for 2030, in particular, it is planned to allocate about 600 million euros for the direction “Education and digital technologies”. Data protection will be one of the main challenges of this evolution, and IT managers know this: complexity is the enemy of security. By relying on a single tool capable of centralizing the backup of all environments, servers or clients, physical or virtual, cloud or on-premises, schools are already removing this hurdle. And they do it with a free tool.

1 “Digital practices of teachers”, data taken from the PROFETIC 2nd degree survey, 2018.
2 “Digital education: what do DEPP data tell us?” ”, Working Paper No. 2021.S03 – Synthesis Series, August 2021

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