In this blog series, Kevin Robinson explores the various risks to school IT systems and presents practical solutions for minimising them.

When you think about the whole ICT estate, from infrastructure to software to security, there are so many pressure points on your Network Manager or IT support staff.

And if they’re ill, absent or on annual leave and something goes wrong, it can create a log jam that could lose hours of teaching and admin time.

While some schools might think it’s more cost effective to run all their IT systems ‘in-house’, there are substantial risks in doing this because schools are limited to one person or one skillset. If something happens which can’t be fixed ‘in-house’, schools then find themselves having to bring in outside expertise at an additional cost.

When an IT issue occurs that goes beyond the expertise held locally – such as server failure, or pupils not being able to log into something – schools have to rely solely on their Network Support Manager or IT technician, who may not always be able to help.

This puts schools in a vulnerable situation as it could ultimately lead to hours of lost teaching time and major classroom disruptions. Schools need access to a team of experts with a real sense of what’s going on in education generally, staying on top of the latest whitepapers, cloud strategies and emerging technologies – and that simply can’t be done entirely in-house.

Outsourcing IT support allows schools to transfer the risk of day-to-day mishaps and any other risks associated with IT to the service provider, as well as providing cover for sickness and holidays.

It also minimises any disruptions from technology, as IT partners providing managed services to schools can run proactive checks on the schools’ systems throughout the day to instantly pick up and rectify issues before they become a problem.

Alternatively, co-sourcing IT support can fill in gaps in internal expertise and save schools time, money, and effort in recruiting additional staff. By combining services from within the school and from a well-chosen partner, both parties can work to achieve the same goals.

Check out our other Risk Management blogs in this series at www.rm.com/outsource



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