This article was provided by TASS, the Alpha School System
The internet continues to change the way that schools operate and conduct business.
This change can become a kind of balancing act for schools, between staying at the forefront of technological advancements, costs, and having sufficient resources to manage and service critical infrastructure.
Juggling each of these moving parts isn’t easy, and so any major change to a school’s systems needs to be carefully considered.
If you are weighing up your options when it comes to continuing an on-premises solution or moving into the cloud, there are a few key considerations:
Where on-premises hosting was once considered the more secure solution, it’s now far less black and white.
For schools with the people and resources to dedicate to security, it’s definitely possible to maintain a high level of security with an on-premises solution.
However, modern cloud hosting options (such as TASS’ ISO 27001 compliant service) are built with security as a core priority, with staff and response teams who are solely dedicated to monitoring and identifying risks, preventing breaches.
If your school doesn’t have the resources to commit to managing, maintaining and updating a robust security management system, or would rather staff focus on other strategic priorities, outsourcing this to a managed service provider may be the better option.
Cost and Scalability
When it comes to upfront cost, it’s no surprise that on-premises solutions come with a higher price tag.
Purchasing server hardware isn’t cheap, especially once you factor in the time spent configuring and installing it, the ongoing cost of electricity used to power and cool your server room, the amount of time your IT Team will be spending on maintenance and support, and the price of replacement parts or add-ons that you’ll need as things get old or break.
Alternatively, implementing a cloud-hosted approach can be a cost-cutting strategy, shifting the large upfront ‘capital’ purchases to subscription-based ‘operating’ costs, which can have benefits to your school’s cash-flow.
This allows you to base your infrastructure purchases around your school’s immediate needs and scale them as required, so you only pay for what you need now, not what you might need in the future – negating the need for significant re-investment in infrastructure to support school growth.
Reliability and Data Continuity
It’s important for school staff to be able to access key data where and when it’s needed, regardless of whether they’re on campus or not.
Adapting to remote work can be difficult if you’re tied to a physical server, and it becomes even more challenging if something goes wrong whilst your IT staff are at home.
Factors outside of your school’s control, such as natural disasters, power outages, or even just losing the key can also put your school’s critical systems at risk when they’re all stored in the same server room.
Contrast this with a cloud-hosted school, where technology barely even enters the conversation, as you’ll be able to access your systems and services the same way you usually do, without complicated workarounds to support remote work and online learning.
The ability to spread data across multiple onshore locations ensures that your systems can be rapidly restored from backups stored redundantly across all data centres, and specialist support teams and constant monitoring means that if problems do occur, they can often be solved before they even impact your school.
Ultimately, the solution you choose comes down to how your school best operates, but it’s important to thoroughly consider the positives and negatives of each option to ensure that you’re making an informed decision.
TASS connects entire school communities with a powerful school, student and finance management system and staff, student and parent portal solutions.