There was a time when putting data “in the cloud” was shrouded in mystery. Managers of sensitive data were reluctant at best to have that data placed in the cloud, fearing it was not safe and not completely understanding just “where” that data was being stored.
In light of the recent COVID-19 crisis, schools and their transportation departments know now more than ever the importance of having access to their data wherever and whenever they need it. And frankly, there is not as much of a concern about the cloud these days since large players, like Transfinder partner Amazon Web Service, have mastered security, providing a safer hosted environment than districts could ever hope to provide themselves.
Monroe Township Public Schools in New Jersey knows that firsthand.
“Our district was hit with ransomware in July 2019,” said Kathie MacDonald, director of transportation at Monroe Township Public Schools. “Transfinder staff helped me rebuild quickly and it was then that I told my IT Director that we were going to have Transfinder host rather than risk having our server hit again.”
What’s the end result?
“I have to say it was probably the best decision we made,” she said.
Transfinder is seeing an overwhelming majority of its new clients (70 percent) request their data be hosted on the cloud rather than on their own premises.
There are a multitude of reasons for this. While security is one of the key benefits of having your data hosted in the cloud, that is just one of many reasons districts are opting for cloud hosting.
Here is a sample:
1. Always There
Calvin Davis, transportation supervisor at Hampshire County Schools in West Virginia, said having his data in the cloud meant his data is “always there—saved and backed up.” That isn’t just an expression. He knows firsthand how, in a variety of scenarios, the data has been safe and sound in the cloud.
“During storms and power outages or computer failure, that has happened, the cloud has been a great lifesaver,” and he rests easy “knowing that our material is safe.”
A good hosting solution has multiple levels of redundancy (backup) to make sure the latest information and any changes have been saved.
2. Peace of Mind
“Peace of Mind” — that’s how Davis describes Hosted Services. The district turned to Transfinder’s Hosted Services back in 2012.
“We knew that it would be beneficial,” he said. Those benefits, he said, include “peace of mind.”
The burdens associated with the cost, management, security and maintenance of a dedicated server can be overwhelming. Davis found turning to the cloud freed him of those concerns.
3. Easy access
Ed Treadaway, manager of transportation operations at Trenton (NJ) Public Schools, says the easy access to data has proved invaluable.
“We can get on any computer at home or in the district,” Ed said, recounting specific incidents when this was extremely helpful. “I was in a meeting with Board members. They had a question and I was able to log on and get the information right away.”
Only an internet connection is necessary for you to have access to your district’s data.
4. Easy Transition
Liz Poblete, Medford Township (NJ) Transportation Supervisor, said she’d returned to Medford after a brief stint at another district where she was introduced to Transfinder. When she returned to Medford it was with the expectation that Medford would select Transfinder. That was five years ago. A year ago, Medford moved from having its data hosted on premises to being hosted in the cloud.
“To be honest, our IT department recommend we switch to the cloud,” Liz said. “The transition was easy. Not really any problems. Your staff is wonderful.”
We at Transfinder are seeing an increase in IT experts at districts playing a bigger role data security. Many prefer having data hosted in the cloud because they recognize the expertise of services such as AWS and technology companies like Transfinder. Techies prefer working with techies!
5. Easy to learn
Kathie MacDonald, director of transportation at Monroe Township (NJ) Public Schools, said there’s nothing to getting up to speed on hosting services. “All of my office staff caught on quickly with the changes,” Kathie said.
No need to overcomplicate things.
6. No outages
Liz Poblete of Medford said of Transfinder’s Hosted Services: “It is working great. So far, we love it. In the past we had problems with our system going down all the time. Since we switched we don’t have any problems anymore.”
You should expect 24/7 access to your data when hosted in the cloud. Transfinder personnel assists clients in times of emergency to simplify updates and as well as to add new software. If a problem arises, trained Transfinder staff can access your specific application without interrupting other tasks.
7. Responsibility shift
“It is much easier on us,” Liz Poblete of Medford said of having data hosted in the cloud rather than on the district’s own premises. “If there is a problem, Transfinder can fix it right away. It’s nice knowing that all your data is safe.”
Your hosted solution should result in issues being resolved more quickly than if the application is installed on your own hardware.
8. Convenience and security at its best
Monroe Township’s Kathie MacDonald says of going to the cloud, “Knowing that I can make a call and Transfinder staff can help with any fixes or changes I need done right then without having to dial in to my computer is convenience and security at its best.”
Your hosted provider should have managed auto imports and someone like Transfinder actively monitoring these imports to ensure the proper updates and corrections have been made.
9. Become a critical source of information in your community
Ed Treadaway says his district, Trenton Public Schools, has been a client of Transfinder’s Hosted Services for six years and over the years, he has been able to assist other agencies outside of the school district.
“I keep the log on information on my phone so I can log on anywhere,” he said. “One night I got a phone call from the police department about a missing child.” Apparently after a child got dropped off from the bus, the student went into the front of the house and headed out the backdoor.
“They need information about the other student on same the bus that the student goes on. I was able to log on to my computer at home and get the information they needed.”
“The police talked to his friends and they found the student. If we were not hosted, I would not have been able to get the information the police needed.”
Having instant access to critical data could literally safe a life. Your hosted data should be easily accessible so you have it at your fingertips at a moment’s notice.
That’s just a sample of the reasons you may want to turn to a hosted service. Tell us your story by emailing email@example.com.