Dealing with the distance learning data fallout

Florian Malecki, international product marketing senior director at StorageCraft, on how educational institutions can’t rely on the cloud to keep their data secure

Even before COVID-19 made distance learning the default overnight, educational institutions were dealing with the exponential growth of the data they handle. But beyond the day-to-day pressures, they are now up against the added complexity of school closures and the rapid shift to online learning, which puts them under even more pressure to manage and protect their data and data infrastructure.

The sudden upsurge in remote learning means institutions and students alike are increasingly reliant on digital content, connected services and online apps. Most of this new content and data are unstructured, and educational institutions are quickly realising that their traditional storage solutions simply aren’t up to the task of managing it all.

One thing COVID-19 has made clear is that digital transformation is not a nice-to-have – it’s an absolute necessity – and educational institutions aren’t exempt. Their approach to teaching needs to evolve and their digital learning environments need to be enhanced to offer better support to students, professors and staff, most of whom have no choice but to operate remotely.

In today’s rapidly changing world, educational institutions need an efficient and affordable way to expand storage and improve data backup and recovery. Here are the key things to look for:

Ease of use

Educational institutions need a system that’s easy to use; not only are IT teams already stretched to capacity, but budgets are also incredibly tight. Schools must look for a solution that removes the complexity of data silos by converging file storage, backups and archival data into a single platform. Installing such a solution means there’s then no need to manage different storage solutions from different vendors, each with their own workflows.

At the end of the day, with ease of use, schools can save costs and reduce the hours IT spends on data storage and backup.

Strong security

Remote learning has become the new normal, and schools are having to accommodate many different users and devices connecting to their networks. This means the chance of being hit by a ransomware attack is greater than ever. According to Microsoft Security Intelligence, education is by far the most targeted industry for enterprise malware, with 60% of incidents related to the sector in the last 30 days. Meanwhile, a survey of over 1,000 teachers in the UK found that only 49% felt their school had “done enough” to keep data secure.

You always need the ability to recover your data quickly. The positive news is that emerging technologies like immutable snapshots enable schools to capture and backup their unstructured data in near real time – and incredibly cost-effectively. Information is constantly protected with snapshots taken every 90 seconds.

“At the end of the day, with ease of use, schools can save costs and reduce the hours IT spends on data storage and backup”

Future-proof capacity

Along with many other industries, the education sector is generating data at unprecedented rates; by 2025, IDC predicts worldwide data will grow 61% to 175 zettabytes. Legacy storage solutions could quickly reach their limits with this level of growth, and ultimately let organisations down.

Organisations must insist on a solution that starts at terabytes of storage and can seamlessly scale up to petabytes. The right storage solution will allow the addition of any number of drives, anytime, cost-effectively and in any granularity, to meet the storage requirements of teachers, students, researchers and other stakeholders.

With the rapidly accelerating pace of information creation, alongside the complexity of managing it and keeping it safe and secure, a modern storage solution should be an easy choice for educational institutions. With the right storage solution in place, organisations can focus on providing a first-class education to students while successfully navigating the unprecedented changes that are impacting the sector.

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