Sep 21 2023
Data Center

How Backup as a Service Can Best Secure School Data

BaaS providers offer a variety of powerful capabilities to ensure that K–12 districts have access to their data when they need it.

As digital transformation initiatives become more common, many organizations are moving to digital platforms. Data is becoming the lifeblood of many schools. District and IT leaders are using data from these platforms to gain insights into their staff, students and operations.

But what if the data that fuels these insights suddenly becomes unavailable?

“Everybody is moving toward a digital platform if they’re not already there. Some organizations don’t even have any infrastructure onsite anymore,” says Chris DiRado, a managing consultant for CDW. “They can’t afford to have their data down for days or weeks at a time.”

Effective data backup solutions can help prevent this scenario, but maintaining backups places demands on school IT departments. Hardware solutions require routine maintenance, and even cloud backup and recovery tools demand regular attention to make sure they’re operating effectively.

One solution is Backup as a Service, in which a service provider is responsible for all of the management and maintenance of an organization’s backup environment. BaaS takes backup responsibilities out of the hands of in-house staff and turns them over to a partner, freeing up IT teams to focus on other tasks.

“The partner is not just providing software and hardware to customers to run backups,” DiRado says. “This is a fully managed service.”

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Important BaaS Capabilities for Schools to Consider

Districts considering BaaS have a variety of options to choose from, so it’s important to keep different factors in mind when selecting a provider. 

Management capabilities are an essential factor for selecting a BaaS provider. Backup environments can quickly become more complex over time as schools add new ed tech and IT.

IT departments must be able to keep track of numerous moving parts and interdependencies in order to spot potential vulnerabilities and other issues before they become problems. Some BaaS providers offer centralized management consoles that provide clear visibility into complex systems and simplify operations such as scheduling backups, preventing data corruption and setting backup priorities.

“Everything is visible in a single pane of glass,” DiRado says. “It can take all those moving parts and consolidate them in one place where you can log in and look at all your data.”

BaaS also moves maintenance tasks off the plates of K–12 IT professionals. Activities such as patching, updating and testing backup systems are handled by the provider.

DISCOVER: Learn how automated patch management propels K–12 cybersecurity.

“I think an important differentiating factor is how flexible a BaaS solution can be,” says Dustin Sears, an engineering manager for managed services backup and recovery with CDW. “It can be customized to meet any sort of transformation journey that an organization is on.”

Other Important Features for K–12 BaaS Success

BaaS providers also offer other features that can help ensure the reliability and security of a school’s backup data.

Many institutions don’t think about backups until they experience a crisis where they are needed, but regular checks are important to confirm that systems are operating as expected. A 2021 report from Veeam notes that 43 percent of backup efforts fail. Regular verification can ensure that backup has been successful and that data can be restored to production environments.

A BaaS provider can offer strategic guidance on how IT teams can enhance their backups and address state or federal requirements for data storage. This includes handling challenges such as keeping in compliance with K–12 data privacy regulations.

LEARN MORE: What are COPPA and KOSA, and how do they impact K–12 education?

Further, security features such as encryption and data indelibility and immutability ensure that data cannot be deleted or changed, protecting against data corruption in the event of a ransomware attack.

Ultimately, the growth of digital transformation initiatives has made data more valuable than ever. BaaS can help organizations make sure this precious resource remains available to keep classes running.

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