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When you’re operating fully or partially online, there are some challenges that have to be overcome. Studies have shown that 33% of all U.S. higher-ed institutions operate primarily online while 27% combine both online and physical learning. Given this shift towards online learning, learning practitioners need to avoid these three key data management pitfalls.

FAILURE TO BACK UP MICROSOFT 365

Microsoft 365 allows people to work remotely, from anywhere. As a SaaS platform available in the cloud, Microsoft 365 has become more relevant with the increase in remote work.

Microsoft 365 does not provide comprehensive and long-term backup, and 74% of Microsoft 365 users do not have any data protection strategy. When teachers or professors upload content to shared folders for students to access, different accounts, projects and other assets may easily be deleted or affected by malware. Many times, there is little or no chance of recovery. 

Microsoft Office 365 offers geo-redundancy, a feature that protects data from site or device failure. However, this feature does not constitute a true data backup. In the case where data is accidentally deleted or maliciously attacked, Microsoft 365 offers limited recovery options. 

Administrators for online learning are responsible for backing up Microsoft 365 data. It is best to provide Microsoft 365 data protection and store backup data on a secure system in order to prevent critical data loss and ensure that all users can have access to needed files.

 You can always learn more about the backup for Office 365

MOVING ALL STORAGE TO THE CLOUD 

There is a challenge of managing large amounts of data, especially in universities. This data includes research data and video content which have to be accessible and analyzed at every given moment. In addition to this, schools need to store personal data of students and staff, which include financial information, medical records, social security numbers, and home addresses. These large amounts of data must be kept secure and accessible with cost-effective methods. 

With cloud services like Google Drive and Dropbox being used by students, schools need to shift entirely to a public cloud infrastructure. Using cloud services means access to data both on-campus and remotely, but moving all the data may increase costs and pose security threats. Data may be breached or accessed by third parties and unpredictable fees may come up. 

The solution is storing the majority of data on-site or in a private cloud. A private cloud in a highly scalable platform will be a lot cheaper, and administrators can have complete control over storage locations and access points. 

FAILURE TO DEPLOY RANSOMWARE PROTECTION

Ransomware is a huge threat to colleges and universities. For those who are opting for online learning, it is important to ensure that data is protected, and they can restore a clean copy of the data if there is a ransomware attack. In case of an attack, schools may be forced to pay large ransoms to access their data. Methods such as encryption, firewalls, anti-phishing training and password software usually do not give the desired results. The best way to protect data from ransomware is by making a copy of the backup data immutable on a WORM-enabled storage system. With the use of WORM, data cannot be changed or deleted for a specified period. 

Before now, getting WORM protection needed manual procedures, such as physically moving a tape copy of data outside a tape library or getting an expensive storage appliance that supported WORM. However, some object storage providers have introduced a new feature called Object Lock. This feature provides WORM capabilities in a highly cost-effective storage system.