Protecting Your Data from Disaster

By Naomi Dillon

From student identification and performance tracking systems to transportation routing and employee evaluation software, data and technology are driving decisions big and small in public education.

It’s important to remember, however, that preserving data is as important as collecting it.

“The unexpected is something everyone needs to prepare for,” says Keith Krueger, chief executive officer of the Washington, D.C.-based Consortium for School Networking (CoSN). “Whether it’s the electricity going out or a terrorist attack or a natural disaster, it’s hard to say firmly what to expect but you need to have a backup plan.”

More precisely, Krueger says, school districts need to have a business continuity plan, a corporate practice that forward-thinking districts are adopting with increasing frequency.

In essence, schools must move from merely preparing for a crisis toward planning for how to keep critical operations and communications going through and beyond one. Data and IT protection are a part of that planning process.

“We rely on technology so much in education, if you don’t have a plan for what to do when those are taken out, you’re going to be in trouble,” Krueger says. “The flipside is that same technology gives us a real opportunity for meeting those challenges, but you need to have a plan.” 

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