Moving your school to the cloud Tips and Advice
Why is the cloud important?
The cloud describes systems or services that are hosted and managed online, rather than locally in the school building. Computers, including mobile devices and smartphones, now increasingly operate in this way.
Moving your systems and services to the cloud has the potential to make services more useful and engaging;
can break down barriers you encounter with older systems, such as remote access
can lead to a cost saving (no maintenance of servers required and systems are generally built on newer more intuitive technologies)
can be more secure
Some of your community will already be experiencing the benefits of having made the move to the cloud including parents, pupils and staff. They will now expect this kind of service in all aspects of their lives. Some schools may have everything in the cloud alreadt with a server free solution..
There are many Benefits for schools:
Economy - saving money
Moving to cloud-based services can reduce costs by:
reducing licence costs – leading technology providers offer free-to-use cloud services, including communication tools and core office applicationsusing cloud only user devices – cost effective and reliable devices, designed to link directly to cloud applications, are widely available and usually cheaper than the systems they replaceusing pay as you go services – some cloud-based services are charged on a pay as you go basissaving money on the energy required to run and cool on-site servers
Cloud based services could also help financial planning as you:
move to predictable annual subscriptionsmay see a reduction in capital refresh costs - for example, reducing the need to replace old serversdo not need to replace ‘cloud only’ devices as often, and it may extend the lifespan of older devices
Efficiency – saving teachers’ time
Moving to cloud-based services can:
give staff the flexibility to access services from wherever they are, using the devices that are most convenient for themsupport collaboration by helping staff to easily share and co-author documents, files, lesson content and plans – reducing duplication of effortmake it easier for teachers and pupils to research, analyse and use new curriculum resourcesreduce the time it takes to access data and applications anywhere, due to faster log in times
Effectiveness – what you can do
Moving to cloud-based services can make it easier to access applications and content, wherever there is an internet connection:
reducing the workload of local technical support teams, as applications can be automatically updated and managedmitigating the risk of files and data being lost
It could also support flexible working as you can access data remotely at any time.
What schools should consider
If you’re thinking about moving to cloud-based services, you should consider the following questions.
How are you using the cloud already?
You should consider:
what cloud-based services you’re already usingwhether staff, pupils or parents are using unofficial services, where you are not currently using a cloud-based serviceif you’re using services to their full potentialyour current mix of old and new systemswhat benefits you’ve seen by using these services – such as efficiency, access, security and online safety
Could you use more cloud-based services?
You should consider:
what other functions you could use in the cloudhow you would introduce this functionality to teachers and pupilshow using cloud-based services would support your overall school strategywhether you need a cloud champion to support your school or multi-academy trust strategyhow much you could save and how to reinvest itwhether you can make use of a cloud system already being used in your area or multi-academy trustwhat you can learn from existing developments and expertise
Do you have the right infrastructure?
You should think about whether your:
current internet connection is sufficient – many schools will need a full fibre connectionschool network offers the right level of connectivity – many schools will use both wired and wireless infrastructure
Both of these can act as a single point of failure. Plan how to make your system as resilient as possible as part of your move to the cloud.
More information is available in:
General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)
You may need to update your policies for managing personal data as part of your move to the cloud.
The data protection toolkit for schools includes more information.
Department for Education
Our Cloud computing: how schools can move services to the cloud and Cloud software services: how schools should protect data provides further information for schools on the cloud.
National Cyber Security Centre
The National Cyber Security Centre’s Understanding cloud security guidance provides further information on cloud security that schools should consider.