What is the cloud?

Simply put, the cloud refers to anything managed and hosted online as opposed to hosting on local servers and computers.

There are many different stages to the cloud and it can be viewed as a journey, where each step helps to improve your school in one way or another. It’s important to ensure you have a digital strategy in place for your school, academy, or trust, to get the most out of the ever-improving technology that becomes available. Being able to remove any physical servers within your school and moving the software you use into the cloud can bring many benefits and cost savings - one key advantage being an increased ease of access to resources from any location, which can be key to improving distance teaching and learning.

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We really need to embrace the cloud, it has transformed the way we’re working.

Owain Johns, Principal, UTC Oxfordshire

How does the cloud benefit schools?

There are a number of benefits of embracing cloud technologies to schools, academies and Trusts, which will differ and be personal to your requirements as individuals and schools. Common benefits are:

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The collaborative elements of cloud computing are astounding. Cloud apps allow greater collaboration between teachers, students, schools, academies within Trusts and parents, with the ability to access work and resources anywhere in the world at any time. Further to this, the collaboration tools available can increase classroom efficiency, for example, if teachers or students are ill, classes can be recorded to ensure no one falls behind.

In addition to this, teachers can see students’ online work and Notebooks through Microsoft 365 or G Suite for Education, and so help teach one to one, without having to alert the whole class to a struggling student.

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Due to the regular updates on cloud platforms, the device and infrastructure security is always being worked on and can be updated at times convenient to you to avoid downtime in class. This means that as soon as any potential security flaw is identified, the platform provider can fix and patch it before this flaw is exploited.

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Ease of learning

There are an ever-increasing number of apps and add-ons for browsers and websites that allow students to learn more easily. For example, Microsoft Learning Tools allow students to change fonts and background colours, to have the document read aloud to them, or have the text broken down into syllables; particularly useful for SEND students and younger children who may struggle to read.

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Efficiency of management

Cloud devices and networks require less management and can be managed from anywhere. Cloud management tools can help save time in provisioning new devices and can lower support and maintenance costs with less to go wrong. Whether you use Intune for Education or the Google Admin Console, your network team or support partner can spend more time on driving better use of technology in schools, rather than managing devices, which has a real and positive impact on teaching and learning.

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Training students for their futures

There’s no getting away from the cloud, and the students of today will be using cloud computing in some capacity whatever they decide to do next, from college to retail work, medicine to office jobs, labour work or university. Whether you’re a nursery, primary or secondary school, college or university, your students will need to be confident using cloud tools in the same way previous generations just needed to be able to use computers.

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Cost savings

There are many ways for schools to save money with cloud computing. The most obvious is through reducing physical hardware, whether that’s desktops, shared laptops or servers. The costs to both purchase and maintain these computers can be significantly lower! There are also cost savings through the better management of devices, with less on-site security required, and no need for SIMs servers. In addition, you can potentially benefit from lower costs of supply teachers with the ability to record lessons for the students when teachers are ill.

How can RM help?

RM has helped schools, academies and Trusts of all sizes move to the cloud, starting with advice to assist planning, right up to delivering full migrations as part of a strategic, cohesive plan.

RM can provide a robust backdrop to a cloud focused school through our market leading RM Connectivity Services, with a range of recommended Cloud devices, supplemented by the full management of both those devices and your network itself. In addition, RM can supply data migration and management services and boasts the UK’s leading cloud-based MIS in RM Integris. RM are experts in providing safeguarding and security for your students, whether that’s through RM SafetyNet or carefully selected partners.

All of this can be wrapped up by our support services, providing advice, management and flexible support to 3,000 schools and academies. Make your life in the cloud easier with RM Unify – getting all of your data sets talking together as one point of truth, from your Active Directory, Management Information System, and Office 365/G Suite.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I trust my data in the cloud?

Whilst it’s true that internet access can be a single point of failure, your data will not be lost and one of the big benefits of the cloud is the ability to access your data from anywhere, whether that’s in school, at home, in a coffee shop or tethering off your phone. Before we recommend anyone looks at the cloud, it’s critical that your internet connectivity can be relied on.

Find out more about RM Connectivity
Can I go serverless with a SIMS server?

Yes, you just need a cloud based MIS.

Find out more about RM Integris
Where do I start?

Our Cloud Readiness Audit is a great place to start to understand where you’re currently at. RM can then help uncover where you want to be and build a digital strategy with you to bring about sensible and manageable next steps.

Book a Cloud Readiness Audit now

If you’d like to discuss your options or have any questions about the cloud, please contact us on networks@rm.com or 08450 700 400.

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