The Department for Education (DfE) has introduced a Cloud First strategy to enable schools to move their IT infrastructure to the Cloud. This strategy should improve the delivery of education, support innovation and flexibility while reducing costs.
When looking at new or existing services, you should consider and evaluate Cloud solutions before any other option in order to meet point 5 of the technology code of practice.
When making the transition to the Cloud, it is important to properly plan and prepare, so below are some things that schools should consider to make the transition to the Cloud as streamlined as possible.
Internet Connectivity Speeds
High speed, reliable and resilient internet connection is essential for any Cloud-based service. Your school should have access to a high-speed broadband connection with enough bandwidth to support the demands of Cloud applications, and enough flexibility to be able to expand as demand grows in the future.
For your Cloud-based services to function optimally you will certainly need a robust network infrastructure. This needs to be able to support the Cloud applications you are planning on using, while also having the scalability to add more as demand increases.
A secure network is essential to protect sensitive data from cyberattacks so this needs to be factored in when looking at networking technology solutions.
Schools are increasingly allowing students and staff to use their own wireless devices such as laptops, tablets and smartphones as they become more necessary for remote working. Schools should ensure that their set up supports these devices and can handle the increased strain on the bandwidth caused by the extra traffic generated by Cloud applications. The added need for robust cyber security should again be considered with the increase in external connections.
The DfE recommendations state that Primary schools should have a minimum 100 Mbps download speed and a minimum of 30 Mbps upload speed.
Secondary schools, all-through schools and further education colleges should have a connection with the capacity to deliver 1Gbps download and upload speed.
They also say broadband should be provided using a full fibre connection such as a leased line or fibre to the premises (FTTP).
The amount of bandwidth required for Cloud applications can vary depending on the size of the school and the number of devices being used so you will need to consider current bandwidth usage and any potential future growth when migrating to the Cloud.
Benefits of a Cloud First Strategy
The Cloud First strategy brings numerous benefits to schools:
- Migrating to the Cloud eliminates the need to maintain expensive infrastructure, saving money on IT maintenance and support.
- Cloud-based applications have the flexibility to scale up or down to meet your school’s requirements allowing you to respond quickly to changes in student numbers, class sizes, academic requirements and further government recommendations.
- Cloud-based applications offer enhanced collaboration and communication capabilities. Students and teachers can easily share resources and information, from anywhere as long as they have access to a device with an internet connection.
The Cloud First strategy from the Department for Education (DfE) presents an excellent opportunity for schools to deliver high-quality education while reducing costs. By migrating to the Cloud, schools can enjoy the benefits of increased flexibility, cost savings and enhanced collaboration; however, making the transition requires careful planning, taking into consideration internet connectivity speeds, networking, wireless devices and bandwidth required.
If you would like to discuss Cloud based solutions further don’t hesitate to get in touch.