With IT one of the largest costs in a school budget, Poole-based IT firm Innovate is encouraging schools to consider implementing a cost-effective cloud computing solution as the new school term gets underway.

The role of technology as a teaching tool is increasingly important and head teachers are aware that delivering savings without damaging pupils’ education is imperative.  To help deliver these savings and to ensure technology continues to remain an essential teaching aid, Innovate is to introduce its own cloud computing solution, Cloud9, to the education sector.

Cloud9 offers schools major cost-saving benefits, eliminating the need to spend on IT equipment and support charges, the latest software and anti-virus and anti-spam annual renewals.  Costing from 36p per pupil per week, Cloud9 uses such clever technology that all classrooms will need for pupils are mice, keyboards and screens – all PC hardware and servers are removed and a schools entire IT will be host safely on the internet.

Cloud9 is delivered through an ‘i9unit’ which is the size of a DVD case and provides a complete cloud computing service.  Sitting beside each PC screen, the i9units are rented devices and replace all school servers and PC tower units to provide schools with another cost-saving solution to power usage costs.

Through each ‘i9unit’, schools have totally secure and direct access to all of their data, which is stored in one of two UK-based Cloud9 data centres, and be safe in the knowledge that significant backup is always in place. With UK-based Cloud9 data centres and support engineers, schools can be assured that all their data is protected by UK law.

By using cloud computing educators and staff will be able to access their information in the cloud virtually anytime and anywhere through Web browsers and from any Internet-connected PC or mobile phone.

David Pape, managing director at Innovate, says: “Staffing costs aside, IT can represent one of the largest elements of a school’s budget so it is no surprise that when savings need to be made spending on both IT equipment and software can come under scrutiny.  Eighteen months ago we invested in the future, that is cloud computing, and designed our own cloud computing package which would provide a complete IT solution to both businesses and schools for under half the cost of traditional IT.  With Cloud9, schools can now simply rent their IT, adding and removing capacity as and when required – extremely useful for schools that have their PC’s unused for approximately 20 weeks per year.”

To ensure the green credentials of Cloud9 are fully maximised, a partnership has been formed with Computer Aid International, a UK-registered ICT for development charity, which aims to reduce poverty through practical ICT solutions. Innovate will remove old IT equipment from schools following any implementation of Cloud9 and supply it to the charity which in turn will be distributed to hospitals, universities, schools and not-for-profit organisations in developing countries such as Liberia, Chile, Malawi and Nepal.

For further information, please telephone 0330 999 1000 or visit www.cloud9now.co.uk