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Why Disaster Recovery Is Crucial for Higher Education

Colleges and universities have become increasingly dependent on technology. Student records and research findings are digitized, many classes are conducted online, and faculty and students communicate regularly over the Internet. Institutions have multiple campuses that need to seamlessly collaborate with each other and access large volumes of data.

Unfortunately, many higher education institutions don’t have a formal disaster recovery plan in place to protect their data and technology. Cloud-based disaster recovery helps campuses achieve much faster and more complete recovery after a natural disaster or equipment failure.

Keeping Records in the Cloud

ERP-and-CRM-systems-help-process-students.jpgHigher education institutions often use software as a service (SaaS) to maintain student records and carry out important processes such as registration and grade reporting. ERP and CRM systems make it easier to compile and process student data. Records are easily accessible to students, faculty, and administration.

However, these digital records are vulnerable to outages. If a campus is hit by a natural disaster, an equipment failure, or a major breach, vital records may be lost or compromised. During crucial times, such as grade reporting periods or course registration, records processing will be brought to a screeching halt.

Online Learning

The Grade Increase: Tracking Distance Education in the United States report found that 31.6% of college students take at least one distance learning course. The number of students taking courses on campus is gradually shrinking.

Online courses increase students’ access to education. They can work remotely with top professors and take courses on their own schedule. Flexibility is key because so many of today’s students need to juggle coursework with jobs and family obligations.

Online courses only work if a campus can maintain uninterrupted high quality connectivity. These courses are conducted over the Internet, and if the connection is down or of poor quality, students and professors can’t communicate effectively. Semesters only last a set number of weeks. If an extended shutdown occurs, students can’t complete the required coursework in time to earn credit. 

Digital Research

Disaster-recovery-strategy.jpgHigher education institutions aren’t just in the business of educating students. They spearhead a lot of groundbreaking scientific and medical research. Millions of dollars in government grants and private funds go toward financing this research.

Researchers use technology to analyze data and store results. Information can be shared between geographically diverse campuses using high-speed and secure networks.

Without a disaster recovery strategy, universities risk losing valuable research findings. Universities may be targets of cyber-espionage aimed at stealing intellectual property. An outage or a breach would leave researchers unsure whether their results were complete and accurate, or compromised. They might be forced to duplicate time-consuming lab work. 

Don’t Flirt With Disaster

When Hurricane Harvey hit Texas in 2017, many college campuses were flooded, delaying the opening of the term and forcing the evacuation of some students. Universities in Texas were prepared, re-establishing Internet connection in the aftermath. However, other campuses in the U.S. may not be as prepared.

Cloud-based disaster recovery provides an affordable solution that enables campuses to recover quickly when a disaster strikes. Disaster recovery as a service (DRaaS) offers automatic failover. With the cloud, backup copies of student records and research findings can be stored in a virtual environment off campus.

Instead of piecing together a disaster recovery solution from multiple tools, colleges can access all the capabilities they need in the cloud. Using the cloud combined with a high-speed network, universities can conduct classes and vital research uninterrupted.

FirstLight has technicians experienced in working with higher education institutions. We provide affordable cloud solutions for colleges and universities. Our DRaaS includes replication, recovery, and a low-latency and resilient fiber optic network to ensure your research and instruction continue uninterrupted no matter what happens. 

Visit our Colleges and Universities Solutions page to learn how FirstLight can help your institution. Is your campus prepared for a disaster? Let FirstLight give you confidence.

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