The importance of Cloud Computing in Education; Why switch to the Cloud?

Cloud computing has made a significant impact over the last few years on the education sector. It is changing the way students learn, teachers teach and educational institutions operate. More and more we are seeing Schools and Trusts wanting to centralise their IT systems and switch to the cloud; whether that be a Hybrid Cloud or Private. Thanks to cloud computing, it makes it possible for Schools & MATs to leverage superior resources that they could otherwise maintain, and makes it easier for students, teachers and staff to operate remotely.

Cloud computing isn’t just about ‘moving to the cloud’ in terms of data and management, there are so many more advantages which are often overlooked; however here at Advanced IT Services they’re why we think cloud computing is the natural next step for Schools in their IT provision.

Reduce costs & maximise budgets

A decade or so ago, educational institutions had to invest hundreds of thousands per licence for their software which needed to be repurchased whenever there was a more recent version. Today thanks to Software-as-as-service, it makes it possible to pay low monthly costs as opposed to expensive licences.

There’s also the added benefit with Cloud computing that more often than not an intuition will employ a company to maintain and monitor their cloud services which means Schools will get the very best access to knowledge and expert support. So put simply, it means Schools can really make the most of their IT budgets and develop long term strategies.

Remote Learning

Since the COVID-19 pandemic, Schools have had to effectively overnight ensure their remote-learning strategies were able to cope with new found demand. During the first lockdown, we remember well those first few days of working round the clock to ensure all our Schools had everything they required to enable effective remote learning and staff collaboration. Cloud computing enables institutions to always have everything they need readily available, in a secure protected environment.


Cloud computing can be great to bring teams together, share lesson plans, class martials and knowledge base; encouraging collaboration either across one school or multiple if you’re part of a Trust. It gives everyone the opportunity to achieve more and become more productive through making learning more flexible overall.


All data store in the cloud is encrypted which means it’s much harder for hackers to intercept files and data, and most providers will offer monitoring and back-up services as standard. Schools will find cloud computing to be inherently more secure through their providers, as most have their own dedicated Data Centres. Through hybrid-cloud solutions, institutions can not only centralise their IT networks but create secure environments for sensitive data to remain not only secure, but always compliant with the latest regulations of DfE guidance.


With little hardware involved, it’s really easy to scale up or down depending on the School or Trusts requirements; which means as things change you can too with little hassle or disruption to learning.

The Cloud is becoming a necessity

Switching to the cloud is going to become a virtual necessity as the world becomes more remote. With many employees working remotely today, students are sure to follow. Cloud computing is not just powerful, but also simple, easy to use, and affordable. Many institutions are going to be switching over to cloud infrastructures overall, if they haven’t already.

For schools and universities, cloud solutions can make it easier to give the students the education they deserve. It’s a responsibility for education professionals to look more deeply into the importance of cloud computing in education, and how it could potentially help them.

If you’re School is looking to switching to cloud computing, our team are here to help consult or plan your migration towards a centralised IT infrastructure. Get in touch and see how we can help.

Virus Victims: Cryptolocker Ransomware

What is a Cryptolocker Ransomware Virus?

There has been a virus attack which took place and was a Crypto Locker virus. A Cryptolocker virus is a Trojan horse which misleads users and disguises its true intent. This Trojan horse will infect your computer and encrypt your files and are locked. There are only two keys, one is a public key which is used by the hackers to encrypt your data and the other is a private key. The private key is used to decrypt the files and this is the key that is used as a ransom since the victim is told they need to pay a certain amount to get the private key to restore their data otherwise the hackers will destroy the victim’s data.

Common Methods of Infection

Traditionally the most common method is through downloading attachments from emails that are disguised as familiar file type such as *.doc but have an *.exe extension which is hidden. Once this has been downloaded, it opens and activates the virus but your machine will appear to run normally until all files have been encrypted. One other way is through download prompts on websites for plug-ins which operate in the same way the aforementioned does. The Trojan horse cannot replicate itself which is why the methods mentioned are all downloads.

Who Were Affected?

Reported in the news, the ransomware attack has hit many different companies including the Irish NHS. We were hit with the same virus on May 14th, the virus targeted our exchange servers but thanks to our practices in place for passwords and internet shutdowns, only a minor number of servers were hit. We quickly rolled back to snapshots of the affected servers so only a very small number of emails were lost on the Friday night. After an extensive check of all our servers in our VM environment, no other servers were corrupted and all systems were operational by midnight on Friday 14th May. However, companies such as Pipeline in the USA and the Irish NHS are still without services.

Given the frequency of virus attacks lately, we are offering a free cyber security check to ensure your network is safe and secure. Click here to find out more.

Department for Education: Malware Misfortune

Recently there has been news circulating that a few of the Department for Education (DfE) laptops, that are being distributed to disadvantaged children to help with schooling, have had a virus on them. The government scheme enabled disadvantaged children to access lessons from the comfort of their own home during school closures across the country and there are currently over 1.2 million devices that have been distributed with the Department for Education being on track to meet its target of 1.3 million. The virus is called Gamarue and is a worm which had been previously identified by Microsoft in 2012. Gamarue is a malware botnet where infected devices communicate to Gamarue servers to harness click-bait fraud and steal confidential information such as credit card details. The virus was found to be contacting a server in Russia whilst active in a Bradford school.

What Do We Think?

We believe that because the DfE laptops were refurbished, there was a higher chance any malware could have been present but it unfortunately turned out to be Gamarue. However, you would think that wiping the data from the devices before delivery would be a standard procedure since they are for disadvantaged children. We at Advanced IT Services thankfully haven’t encountered any laptops with the virus especially since it only affected a minor number of laptops. Nevertheless, it is still invasive, infectious and one of the most severe malware strains still around today. One common way Gamarue penetrates your machine is through spam emails with attachments and it makes changes to browser settings add toolbars and even download files directly onto your machine’s registry. The best way, in our opinion, to get rid of such viruses is to completely wipe the devices or use a notorious anti-virus software such as Malware Bytes. However, Cyber Security is now a key part of any organisation and we can make the process of implementing it easier than ever before; find out how here.

Due to the sheer volume of devices and the lack of time and preparation, it is understandable that things may have been missed; everything, in retrospect, is obvious. However, it feels like the government is just throwing money at the Education sector and expecting everything to cope which is not the case. Every school and educational setting is different and all of the guidance given reflects that which is why it is so vague because the head of each educational setting should then determine how the advice can be applied to them. One the other hand, it has been an extremely difficult time for everyone but it has definitely changed a lot of perspectives on many different ideas such as working and education.