IT is a vital part of educational institutions, where schools and colleges communicate with parents and guardians via apps and emails, send digital newsletters, allocate tablets and laptops to pupils and rely on their IT systems to manage attendance, attainment and record-keeping.
When we consider safeguarding, confidentiality and data protection factors, it becomes clear why IT security should be a top priority for the education sector.
However, government statistics indicate that even though primary schools and secondary schools are more likely to experience data breaches or cyber threats than businesses, with incidents growing while they reduce in other sectors, many are yet to implement robust IT system infrastructure monitoring and oversight to keep their data safe.
Let’s explain how IT support for schools works, and why it is of fundamental importance for every education provider, from private tutors to nurseries, smaller rural schools and large colleges.
Tech Assets and Software Commonly Used in the UK Education Sector
Teachers, parents and tutors will already be familiar with the extent and diversity of roles technology plays in modern education, with a huge increase in the use of IT systems, software and hardware since the need for online classes, remote support and remote learning emerged during the pandemic.
An educational environment that embraces digital innovation can provide a wide range of benefits and efficiencies, from making it easier to report a child’s absence to allowing teachers to access records and past assessments instantly.
Students can engage in digital classrooms, use play-based apps to learn arithmetic or advance their vocabularies, and use laptops and mobile devices to submit coursework, study practice exam papers or research information for homework assignments.
The use of IT is just as prevalent in back-office applications, used extensively for communications, logging concerns, and complying with regulatory requirements.
Most UK schools are part of a wider group, such as an academy trust, a local authority educational provision or a privately owned establishment, which makes the interconnectivity of records and metrics even more useful in billing, procurement and resource management.
All this means that there are a rapidly growing number of potential vulnerabilities within the school education sector, where password protection on student devices, security for pupil records and the risks of disruption caused by faults, outages or downtime can be serious.
How Does IT Support For Schools Work?
Maximum Networks provides support for schools and education providers, adapting the level of monitoring and maintenance, oversight and emergency assistance we offer based on the size of the organisation, the types and number of hardware devices and systems in use, and an assessment of future plans to upscale or increase the way IT is used.
While many school leadership teams believe IT support is purely about cyber security, this is incorrect.
There are multiple areas where professional IT support services and expertise can be preemptive and proactive, avoiding issues, identifying potential data overloads and implementing updates as and when required.
A school IT support service could include:
- Remote support: particularly valuable for smaller or independent schools without a multi-skilled in-house IT support providers with the knowledge to address any technical issues, malfunctions, network problems or glitches.
- Ongoing system maintenance: provide support to regularly update and upgrade software, speedy upload and download times, with hardware system updates essential to ensure each part of the school IT infrastructure is running smoothly.
- Data management: having robustly protected data backups and recovery protocols is key, where sensitive and confidential data is safeguarded from any unauthorised access without the potential for data loss following a system failure, and checking that networks have the right connectivity to facilitate efficient data transfers as required.
These services are available alongside cybersecurity management and training for school users. Offering professional training can provide school support teams, teaching staff and administrative colleagues with all the tools they need to make the best use of their systems while reducing the potential for human errors.
Our IT specialists can also provide additional assistance on demand, with procurement advice as a common request.
Schools, procurement services and internal IT staff achieve improved value for money by consulting an independent IT adviser to ensure they select the most suitable and future-proof systems and hardware for their school, with access to the latest technologies that will provide excellent returns.
What Is the Benefit of Outsourced IT Support for Schools and Colleges?
The primary benefit of outsourced IT support for schools is in security and sustainability, where a school can rely entirely on the IT infrastructure in place to work effectively and meet the needs of the organisation, whether dealing with new pupil cohorts at the start of the school year or expanding to support new IT devices or systems used in teaching.
Educational decision-makers also find that they can access:
- Cost savings, making astute and informed decisions about IT security, policies, purchasing, and upgrades without urgent IT issues or outages that cause disruption.
- Specialist skills and expertise, working with a team of engineers and technicians that can collectively address any problems, troubleshoot a glitch, or provide immediate advice to prevent data losses or mitigate the impacts of a cybersecurity attack.
- Improved continuity, with ongoing maintenance and monitoring to keep IT networks working optimally, without pressure on staff time and resources when trying to find workarounds or switching to manual systems when IT devices stop functioning correctly.
IT support services are important to provide a positive learning experience for pupils, taking steps to ensure each system, app or device is working properly to augment their comprehension of the topics they are studying and facilitating access to a variety of mediums and information sources.
Busy primary and secondary schools with outstanding IT and technical support have the assurance that all teaching, communications and admin tasks reliant on IT are well supported, without the potential for a technical issue to impact classes or productivity.
For more information about the right IT support packages for your educational organisation, to discuss the benefits of digital learning, or to arrange a good time to talk about the best approach to ensure you have effective technology solutions, cyber security and infrastructure maintenance, please contact the Maximum Networks managed service provider support team at any time.