Compare on a like-for-like basis
With web based solutions, there can be a world of difference in their level of security, ease of use and adaptability. Keep in mind with all systems, that the technology is only part of the solution you'll need - expertise and support are what actually make it do useful things.
In the context of today's busy Independent Schools the need to operate more efficiently as a whole school team soon reveals the importance of being able to access reliable information created or curated by other members of staff. Outdated or limited access systems that lock data on personal laptops or inaccessible departmental and office silos are no longer fit for purpose.
Teaching staff - and parents - expect to be able to interact with school data from their own homes and use tablet or mobile devices.
Systems with their foundations in the old way of client-server computing (i.e. hardware installed on site at school) will always be a compromise in today's mobile connected world, but fully cloud based systems can also have issues with knowing where sensitive data is being stored - an area rightly gaining more focus since the introduction of GDPR.
Keep in mind that whichever technology foundation you choose, all systems are now connected to the outside world in one way or another. Keeping sensitive data secure requires specialist knowledge and skill. Paradoxically, despite being open to the internet, fully web based systems like Plus4Schools are more secure than servers you have in school because they have to be to work at all.
To be sure that App based, hybrid or in school systems have the same level of data access protection, not to mention physical security to protect against theft, requires time consuming diligence and considerable investment in expensive expert level skills.
At Plus4Schools, we protect your reputation as a trustworthy school by keeping your data securely, backed up and available whenever you need it.
|Criteria||Plus4Schools||Other web based||Hybrid||Installed|
|Available anytime, anywhere||Yes1||May require specific browser||Maybe||No|
|Device compatibility||Windows, Apple, Android, IoS
Desktop, Tablet, Mobile
|May be limited to specific devices||May have different user interface for school and home working||Specific, configured, compatible machines only|
|Configuration||Zero configuration, use on demand||App based products require installation, configuration & maintenance||All limitations of Installed option, plus network connectivity issues||Typically not configurable by the school. Changes can work out costly.|
|Full set up in 1 week||Yes||Check||No||No|
|Access for all staff||Yes||Check||No||No|
|Extra licence per user||£0, included||£xx||£xx||£xx|
|Hosted in secure data centre||Yes||Check||No||No|
|Hosted on school servers||Yes||No||Yes||Yes|
|Low cost internet connection||Yes||Check requirements||No||N/A|
|High cost symmetric internet connection||No||Check requirements||Yes2||N/A|
|Requires In-house IT expertise||No||Check||Yes||Yes|
|Features matched to Independent Schools||Yes||Maybe||Maybe||Maybe|
|Requires extensive learning and training||No||Check||Yes3||Yes3|
|Hands on support||Yes, remotely||Check||Site visit||Site visit|
|Controlled parental access to data||Yes, personalised||Yes, but may be generic||Check||Maybe4|