Clients in the education industry may be willing to pay more for managed backup services, but they also demand top-notch reliability for their backups. At the same time, backup operations in this vertical must meet FERPA compliance regulations, which apply to much of the data produced by schools and other educational organizations.
These are the lessons learned by one American MSP that provides managed backup services for approximately two hundred schools. By choosing a backup strategy that enables high reliability as well as FERPA compliance, the MSP is able to manage backup data effectively in this challenging vertical.
Data Backup Challenges in Education
Founded in 2006, GGNet Technologies has been providing backup services and other IT solutions in the Chicago region for more than a decade. Although the MSP serves clients in a variety of verticals, the fastest-growing segment of its customer base is made up of primary schools and high schools.
Meeting the data backup and recovery needs of educational organizations like these presents some special challenges. Chief among them are the regulatory requirements associated with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, or FERPA, a US federal law that governs educational records. Due to FERPA requirements, GGNet must ensure that backup data for schools is encrypted both at rest and in transit. If the company fails to meet these and other FERPA rules, it is financially liable under the terms of contracts it signs with its clients.
In addition, GGNet’s educational clients are particularly sensitive to the risks of data loss, because they are aware of the critical disruptions such losses could cause for students.
For this reason, GGNet must take extra care to ensure not just that it backs up its clients’ data regularly, but also that it can recover systems quickly and efficiently in the event of a failure due to natural disaster, ransomware attacks, or any other disruption to which schools’ IT infrastructure may be prone.
Reliable, Cost-Effective, and FERPA-Compliant Backup
GGNet meets these challenges with the help of MSP360 Managed Backup Service, which the company has used since 2012 to power its managed backup service. MSP360 offers a range of benefits that help the MSP meet the special challenges of data backup and recovery in the education sector.
For one, MSP360 makes it easy for GGNet to back up its clients’ data to multiple public clouds and disperse it across different geographical regions. This feature increases data protection and reliability by ensuring that data will remain available even if some cloud data centers fail. The GGNet team also uses MSP360 to perform trial recoveries every quarter, in order to help guarantee that it can recover systems quickly for its clients, should a failure occur.
In addition, MSP360 offers full support for encrypting data before it is uploaded into the cloud. This ensures that data is encrypted both in transit and at rest. The platform offers other access-control features as well, such as temporary API tokens, to provide additional safeguards against data theft vulnerabilities that could trigger a FERPA violation.
GGNet’s team also likes MSP360 because it is easy to deploy and manage.
“If you do it right with MSP360, it requires the least amount of work,” GGNet founder Joe Grossbauer said. “It just works.”
This ease of use, combined with MSP360’s low price point and ability to deliver highly reliable backups, has empowered GGNet to offer backup and recovery services to more clients, while also improving profit margins. “With the margins I can produce using MSP360, my margins on the backup are really strong,” Grossbauer said.
GGNet’s experience proves that backing up data for educational organizations doesn’t have to be difficult. By choosing a backup solution that is FERPA-compliant, meets schools’ demands for high reliability, and is cost-effective, MSPs can provide educational clients with the backup and recovery services they need, while still turning a healthy profit.