An independent school in Maryland first reached out to Ntiva to help solve an emergency outage.
Their core network switching had completely failed, leaving them without access to both internal servers and hosted applications.
No Internet meant that many classes ground to a halt, and most administrative tasks including internal and external communication was now impossible.
With a limited IT staff and no documented plans on how to recover, they needed help from a reputable IT services company - and fast!
An existing client (another private school) had recommended Ntiva to help out with the crisis. Luckily, we had available staff that day who were able to assist with an organization that we had no previous knowledge of, and who were not an existing client.
We sent out a technician to the school, and he was able to resolve the outage quickly, getting basic services back up and running. However, after the outage their servers had gone back to factory reset and lost all prior configurations. This meant spending the next few days rebuilding the servers, a very time consuming and thus expensive task.
Once the immediate issue was resolved, we were asked to propose some much needed improvements. For starters, we recommended a multi-node server cluster, located both on-premise and in the cloud. This would allow the team to centrally manage all of their data in one place, making them much more efficient.
A robust back up and recovery system was also recommended and installed, so that the team could be better prepared to recover quickly from any type of outage.
And finally, a strategic IT plan was created to help with ongoing operations, including detailed documentation so that the entire team could work in lock-step and have best-practice guidelines at their fingertips.
It can be very difficult for small IT teams to take a step back to do proactive, strategic planning. Day to day maintenance and continual interrupts make it all but impossible to find the time to recommend let alone implement new solutions.
This private school learned the hard way that it pays to be prepared. They were lucky that they were able to find a provider who was able to jump in immediately and help out.
In this situation, it was an internal hardware failure that caused the outage. But more frequently, downtime and other disruptions can be attributed to data breaches and cyber attacks.
Cyber crime is at all time high, and educational institutions are at risk just as much if not more than any other type of business. In addition to proactive protection, having the right backup and disaster recovery in place along with a fully documented business continuity plan, is critical.
In this case, the school was actually lucky that their data could be recovered in a day or two. Losing it completely would have been catastrophic.
After the consulting engagement ended, the school elected to hire Ntiva to continue to augment their existing IT staff, relieving them of routine duties that had been slipping behind, and working with them on strategic goals for the future.