Somerset County Councilsays it has saved over 1,000 work days equating to an efficiency saving over 25% by automating mundane and repetitive ICT support tasks with a system called CentraStage, supplied by Redstor.Somerset deployed the company’s support platform in 2009 to offer auditing, monitoring, software deployment and device configuration, remote support and reporting across 280 schools in the county. The implementation means that through one system the team now has visibility and control of the supported IT environment regardless of where the devices are or indeed where the IT team is located.Since it went live, annual IT downtime across schools in the county has reduced by more than 430 days. Somerset County Council school ICT support team is responsible for almost 10,000 servers, PCs and laptops in one of the largest counties in England covering an area of over 1,600 square miles.IT support manager Adrian Troake said use of the technology allowed the council to be more proactive and less reactive in its engagement with schools but without increasing costs. Use of CentraStage had, Troake said, improved the reliability of systems and allowed his team to audit schools’ systems to pre-empt issues such as server performance or storage capacity issues.Previously, tasks such as checking backups, upgrading SIMS, deploying new files and distributing files would have been carried out manually across all schools on a regular basis; a recent migration from SQL Server 2005 to 2008 was completed overnight, for example. Troake says done manually, it would have taken one person between two and three months to complete.Although currently hosted by the council, Troake said plans to move to a hosted version of the software in the Cloud were afoot, driven by reliability and functionality benefits.
Ignoring the need for a third-party backup is a major gamble. Xero’s own Services Agreement states: “You must maintain copies of all data inputted into the service. Xero expressly excludes liability for any loss of data no matter how caused.”