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Teachers laptop back up policies lacking in many schools.

Equiinet : 20 July, 2007  (Technical Article)
Equiinet reveals many schools may be exposed to the vulnerability of data compromisation due to lack of policy on backing up laptops used by teachers.
A survey by Equiinet, a leading provider of eLearning technology for schools, has revealed that whilst most schools regularly backup administrative information, 70 per cent do not have a robust policy to protect information held on teachers' laptops.

Given the increasing popularity amongst even the least ICT-literate staff of using laptops to create lesson plans and materials, this oversight places many schools in a vulnerable position.

"Admittedly in the past it was difficult to back up teachers' laptops," says Equiinet Product Marketing Director, David Abbot. "ICT staff would have to rely on teachers remembering to copy their important data manually to central servers. But now there can be no excuses: fully automated backup systems are available that cater for PCs and laptops as well as servers."

With Equiinet's BackupPilot system, client software is installed on each laptop and this then automatically performs backups whenever the laptop is connected to the internet - whether at the teacher's home or on the school network - removing the need for manual intervention.

Although the survey has shown that most schools - some 85 per cent - backup server information, a significant number of schools admit that student coursework is vulnerable, with only 60 per cent of schools saying this is definitely backed up.

"Conversations we have had with students confirm that coursework does get lost, and they know they are best advised to make their own copies," says Abbot.

The survey also discloses that even when information is fully backed up, few schools have sufficiently robust systems in place to make it easy to restore lost information, with 30 per cent of schools admitting they were unable to recover data. Only 10 per cent of survey respondents said they use new remote backup technology, which Equiinet believes is a key reason why recovery rates are so poor.

Lack of automation and cost are cited as the biggest barriers to better backup systems - factors that indicate there is little awareness of the systems now available:

"Although modern solutions offer schools totally automated backup systems that can completely do away with the need for manual backups and tapes, the two methods aren't necessarily mutually exclusive" Abbot comments. "For schools where cost is an issue, automated systems can be used very effectively alongside existing tape-based systems. This approach is ideal for any organisations that do not want to make too large an initial investment."
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