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Rugby Free School Trust realised its disaster recovery plans were falling out of date. We helped it redefine its disaster recovery requirements and delivered an enhanced school backup solution for a lower budget.

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The Client

Rugby Free Secondary School & Rugby Free Primary School
The school has 1,470 pupils in years 7 to 13 and 420 pupils from Reception to Year 6

The Challenge

The new challenge for Rugby Free School in late 2021 was the school backup solution, which was no longer meeting all its requirements. The school needed to choose and implement a replacement.

The Trust's continuity and disaster recovery plan needed an update

All schools, companies and other organisations need a disaster recovery plan, and it needs to be reviewed and updated constantly. With the speed at which cyber threats are evolving, a great disaster recovery plan - and many of the IT solutions that form a part of it - go out of date in months, not years.

Rugby Free School identified in October 2021 that its existing backup solution, provided by its previous managed services company, was now falling short of its needs. The school’s trust decided the time had come for a new solution that could address all of its concerns.

We analysed requirements and proposed suitable school backup solutions & DR plans

Working with the school, our expert Sandeep Panesar helped the Trust Strategic IT Manager, Kevin McKenzie, to develop a statement of requirements. This detailed the Trust’s target recovery point objective; the Trust’s target recovery time objective; and the Trust’s financial goals. When we analysed historic financial data, we saw that Rugby Free Primary School had experienced a 53% increase in monthly costs for its current backup solution over 12 Months and Rugby Free Secondary School had also seen a 23% increase in its monthly backup costs over the same period. This made cost control an important requirement for the new backup solution.

The requirements document also covered ease of use and backup management, and how the new solution would need to meet current Department for Education (DfE) guidelines. Finally, it addressed how a new solution should ensure the Trust Board would be satisfied that all data for both schools was protected against ransomware attacks, generating regular reports to keep them apprised of the situation.

Finally, the Trust required our help with composing a fully updated Disaster Recovery (DR) plan for both schools.

With the requirements in hand, our consultant Sandeep put forward a choice of options for the Trust board to consider. He fully supported Kevin McKenzie, the Trust Strategic IT Manager, to develop a complete, clear and fact-checked presentation that Kevin delivered to the board.

The options included keeping the current school backup solution, which we could reconfigure to meet the updated requirements; and several other strong backup solutions, which we had identified as having the functionality to meet all the documented requirements of the Trust.

We organise “try before you buy” walk-throughs

We organised several walk-throughs of the advantages and disadvantages of each solution, along with an explanation of cost breakdown and transition process.

Following a highly successful demonstration of the Datto ALTO BCDR solution, Sandeep assisted Kevin with another presentation. After this, both Kevin and the Trust board felt confident in issuing a purchase order for both the primary and the secondary school.

About Datto ALTO BCDR as a school backup solution

Datto ALTO BCDR is a Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery solution that is built for budget-conscious organisations to ensure they are always protected and resilient to downtime and cyber attacks, ALTO includes verified backups, restore options for any scenario, instant virtualisation and ransomware protection. It creates backups that don’t rely on incrementals, and automatically verify the backup, thereby providing greater peace of mind. ALTO backups are automatically scanned for ransomware and allow you to restore data quickly with near-zero downtime. It can restore backups to Datto Cloud so that even if on-site servers are damaged, a virtual server can get any organisation back up and running without delay.

The outcomes

Sandeep passed the project over to the team to implement Datto ALTO BCDR. On successful implementation, we decommissioned the legacy backup systems.

  1. We met all targets identified in the Statement of Requirements process.
  2. The new school backup solution has reduced burden on the IT manager, as it takes care of itself with automated backups and reports. This allows Kevin to concentrate on delivering great IT services for the Trust and focus on the overall strategy.
  3. The solution delivers cost certainty, allowing the Trust finance team to budget without unforeseeable fluctuations.

“I have great faith in these people and felt supported all the way. Sandeep helped me evaluate all our options to replace the backup system, looking at cost, functionality and feasibility so I could present that clearly to the Trust Board and help them make an informed decision. The team took care of the implementation, which all went smoothly. I’m very happy with the approach and would confidently choose this team for future projects.”

Kevin McKenzieStrategic IT Manager, Learning Today Leading Tomorrow MAT