How to futureproof your school’s ICT systems

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how can you take steps to make sure your hardware and software doesn’t become obsolete quickly?

School ICT systems can be expensive. So, the more you can futureproof them now, the less you need to invest in them later. But with technology changing so quickly, how can you take steps to make sure your hardware and software doesn’t become obsolete quickly? In this post, we take you through some of the key steps of futureproofing your ICT systems.

Choose the right broadband

At the heart of every school’s ICT system is online connectivity. If you want to be able to handle both current and future technologies, you need to make sure you have the best broadband connection possible. It needs to be fast, even when your systems are busy. It needs to be reliable, so staff and students are confident in the system. In addition, it needs to be secure, creating a safe online environment that doesn’t restrict normal use.

If you would like more advice on futureproofing your connection, take a look at our recent blog: Choosing the right broadband for your school or college. It’s a great guide that takes into account everything from finding the best broadband contract to making sure the connection can accommodate your future needs.

Move data to the cloud

Before the advent of secure and trusted cloud services, schools tended to store sensitive data on in-premises servers and hard drives. These weren’t necessarily the most secure solutions available. For example, failing to apply security updates could make data easy to hack. In addition, because schools are often targeted by thieves (particular in the summer holidays), there was always a risk that ICT hardware could be stolen.

Today, cloud storage offers a much more secure (and often cheaper) way for schools to keep their data. These offsite services are much more powerful, safe and more regularly updated than any in-school server. To ensure data is kept as safe as possible, it’s a good idea to follow the cloud security guidance issued by the National Cyber Security Centre. If you need help choosing a suitable cloud storage solution, ECOM Education’s experts will be very happy to advise you.

Move applications to the cloud

Nowadays, using remotely hosted applications can save both money and hassle. For example, schools used to have to install Microsoft Office on their computers via a disk. They had to buy the right number of licenses for their users, plus make sure updates were installed regularly. Nowadays, Microsoft Office 365 allows you to use apps installed on school machines or via a web browser. Updates are automatically applied to the cloud-hosted apps and it’s much simpler to update apps on school computers. Because you are essentially renting the applications, rather than buying them outright, you no longer have to have to buy new versions. Your rental fee covers future updates, making these applications futureproof.

Keep abreast of new technology

If you are aware of new technology, you can assess both how it can help teaching and learning – and how futureproof it is likely to be. From interactive panels and whiteboards, through to robotics, new coding trends and innovative applications, there are worlds of possibilities out there. At ECOM Education, we can advise you on up-and-coming hardware and software that can benefit your school, covering everything from powerful new devices to approved cloud software available via the government’s Digital Marketplace.

Smart hardware leasing or purchasing

When schools have hundreds of students, it’s expensive to make sure that there are enough PCs, tablets and other devices to go round. If you buy the items outright, it tends to work out cheaper than leasing them. However, this does mean that you face major replacement costs every few years. If you lease devices, then you have a more predictable annual expenditure and should be allowed to upgrade hardware at no (or minimal) extra cost after a certain time period. This can be a great way of futureproofing your ICT systems.

At ECOM Education, we can not only help you decide whether buying or leasing hardware makes the most sense for your school, but we can also help bring down your bills. Because we service hundreds of schools and businesses, we can negotiate preferential rates with suppliers, whether you choose to buy or lease your hardware.

Any questions?

These are just a few of our key ideas for futureproofing your ICT systems. If you’d like any further help or advice, remember the ECOM Education team is only a call or an email away. Whatever your school ICT needs are, we’d be very happy to support you.

how can you take steps to make sure your hardware and software doesn’t become obsolete quickly?

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