Decatur School district protects important digital files with Carbonite

Location: Decatur, Arkansas


Carbonite User Since: September 2015

Specialty: K-12 Public Education

“Carbonite is quick, it’s efficient, and it gets the job done. Carbonite just fits beautifully for us.” – Charlie Weber, Technology Coordinator

As the “one-man IT shop” for the Decatur School District, Charlie Weber is responsible for everything from fixing schoolroom projectors to ensuring that the lunchroom software is working. He’s also in charge of making sure the district’s mission-critical data is properly backed up.

The Decatur School District is made up of three schools on two campuses, including an elementary school, a middle school and a high school. The district boasts about 570 K-12 students and 65 full-time faculty and staff.

A stark wake-up call
In 2011, a devastating tornado swept through the city of Joplin, Missouri, which is about an hour north of Decatur. In the aftermath of the tornado, people in the vicinity began to think more about disaster preparedness.

As part of Decatur’s ongoing efforts to get prepared for anything, the school system decided to update its approach to data backup and recovery. Prior to becoming a Carbonite user, the schools backed up data to an external hard drive located on premise. Weber wanted to increase the district’s level of protection by ensuring that data was backed up to the cloud and accessible from anywhere.

“The tornado really got everyone thinking about the kind of stuff that IT people think about all of the time,” Weber recalled. After evaluating several options, the Decatur School District decided to go with Carbonite for its backup and recovery needs.

A backup for critical information
Today, Weber uses Carbonite to back up the school district’s mission-critical data. That includes files associated with the lunchroom software; the superintendent’s home directory; and the school business manager’s home directory. The three schools currently have about 100 gigabytes of data backed up by Carbonite.

“I also keep a backup of my domain controller,” Weber said. “It houses pretty much all of my active directory information. If it dies people won’t be able to log into their computer.”

Sage advice from an experienced IT pro
What advice does Weber have for school districts and other organizations interested in implementing a new data backup and recovery system? Before launching the system, take a close look at your data and determine which files are the most important. Then write it down and make sure those items are backed up properly once the system is online. Also, be sure to test your backups at least four times per year.

“I’ve sat in front of my home computer on a snow day and downloaded a few files just to make sure that they’re there,” he explained. “Your backup plan is only as good as the backups on it and you don’t know for sure what’s on it until you look at it closely.”

Some of Decatur School District’s favorite features include:

Weber loves the fact that you can tell Carbonite to back up just one file in a folder, or the entire folder. The system makes it easy for users to back up what’s most important. He simply needs to log into Carbonite and set up the backup job by selecting the items he wants to protect most.

Carbonite allows Weber to back up school files to local servers as well as to the cloud. Hybrid backup combines the speed of local backup with the peace of mind that comes from knowing your data is also stored safely in the cloud.

Once Carbonite is up and running, it does its job quietly and reliably in the background, without Weber having to worry about it. The IT pro follows his own advice and has a calendar reminder that tells him to check on Carbonite every three months. But he admits that without the reminder, it would be easy to forget about it.

“I call Carbonite the Easy Bake Oven,” Weber said. “You can set it and I forget it. I have to remind myself: Go make sure it’s still working.”

On the occasions when Weber has checked on Carbonite, he found it to be running smoothly and hasn’t experienced any issues. “I always know it’s working,” he said.

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