Location, planning key for school data centers
- As schools become more data-dependent, districts must ensure that the data centers forming the backbone to support those efforts remain up to speed, according to EdTech: Focus on K-12.
- Districts must ensure data centers have sufficient space, are accessible to remote schools, are uncluttered, aren't an afterthought and located in storage closets or decommissioned restrooms that aren't outfitted to maintain the right temperatures, and have backups in the event of flooding and other natural disasters.
- Administrators can plan for these spaces and develop contingency plans by hiring IT consultants to assist in the process, and by allocating a portion of the budget to hire, train and certify IT staff.
As the amount of data gathered by schools and districts multiplies, where it's stored, how it's stored, and what security measures are in place become all the more important. Some might opt to alleviate that headache to some extent by contracting with a vendor to store the information in the cloud, but that entails ensuring that they're also in compliance with FERPA and other laws governing the storage and use of student data. Even if the data is stored in physical servers on-site, however, the option of cloud storage via a third-party as a backup solution may still have to be navigated.
Districts must ensure as many fail-safes are in place as possible, for their own sakes as well as those of students and families. The location of the data center can be just as important as cybersecurity measures — which, with education being a favored target for cyber-crime, can't be understated — as protecting servers from failure due to temperature and humidity conditions as well as natural incidents (or just everyday mishaps like a blown fuse) can save administrators a significant headache in the long run.
- EdTech: Focus on K-12 How to Avoid Making Data Center Mistakes
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