Bracknell Forest Council is one of six unitary authorities in Berkshire. It supports over 30 primary, secondary and special schools in the area.
The Local Authority’s ICT support and training team establishes and maintains effective IT systems and its services include technical support for primary school curriculum networks, bursar support and supporting statutory IT functions.
In September 2013, Bracknell decided it needed a new data backup system for schools. The old service ran on out-dated software and required the use of tapes, making it inefficient and time consuming.
Paul Vernon, schools ICT technician for the Council, revealed that time was being wasted when problems were caused by not cleaning the tape drives often enough or replacing them when needed.
“It just wasn’t practical at all,” he claimed, adding that too much time was spent trying to fix potentially avoidable problems.
“Schools called on a daily basis with issues. A technician had to visit each school and each visit took, on average, three hours,” Vernon said.
“The ICT team spent significant time at schools taking remedial action to fix tape backup equipment and ensure backups were not failing.
“When we analysed it internally, we realised just how much time we were spending each year repairing what had gone wrong,” he added.
A much more time and cost efficient system was needed to back up data belonging to schools within the Local Authority to minimise any issues and give Bracknell’s schools IT team more time to deal with other matters.
After trialling an in-house built system and other online backup services, Bracknell’s ICT team decided it was time to look towards outside suppliers.
The decision was made to go ahead with Redstor’s Backup For Schools Service after a successful trial in two schools revealed it could deliver much-needed automation and a simplified service.
According to Bracknell Forest’s account manager at Redstor Ian Lockwood, the firm’s school backup programme is used by 10,000 schools nationwide across 100 local authorities and private sector education providers.
“Redstor understand school data protection pains and challenges. We also understand their systems and data. As a result, we knew we could help,” he claimed.
Vernon says that the time saved by implementing Redstor’s backup solution has been invaluable – he believes he no longer has to make over 100 school visits.
The new system has also created cost savings because there is no longer any need to buy tapes that used to need replacing every 2-3 months at around £400 each time.
“Today, calls to the ICT team problems and issues are virtually non-existent. The solution is seamless, it is managed remotely and saves countless hours visiting each school in person,” said Vernon.
“The solution generates a daily report, this immediately notifies each school and the central ICT team that the backup has successfully taken place,” he added.
Redstor Backup for Schools went live for 28 schools in Bracknell Forest in February this year – both the council’s IT team and the schools using it are full of praise for the improved delivery the new system offers.