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School ICT Policies Thread, End of year backups in School Administration; I'm making an end of year back up of our past year 11 who have completely finished. How long should ...
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    PEO
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    End of year backups

    I'm making an end of year back up of our past year 11 who have completely finished.

    How long should I archive this backup? I'm thinking 5 year?

    any advice/tips much appreciated

    Thank You

    Kev
    Last edited by PEO; 20th June 2008 at 11:48 AM.

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    PEO
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    *bump*

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    best bet is to speak to whomever would shout at you for this!. Remember most media wont last 5 years, we keep the data untill september, then we move it to a folder taht doens't get backed up and remove all the huge files from it, then once the modification date goes over a year we nuke it.

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    TechMonkey's Avatar
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    We used to keep it over till Christmas. Then last year we kept it over the summer and then backup to DVD, this year we are backing up to DVD end of the week and it will probably go in the server room until we clear out and decide no one will want it.

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    At my old place we used to keep it on a 'not used as much' server for one year - then we would delete it, burn it to DVD(s) and keep in the safe to make room for the next year's leaving year work.

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    ok cheers,

    so I take it data protection dosen't come in to play? I was thinking I would have to keep for x number of year.

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    Quote Originally Posted by strawberry View Post
    Remember most media wont last 5 years
    Crikey, not even 5 years? Wouldn't a DVD sat in a safe somewhere last that long? 5 years doesn't sound that long for data on a CD or DVD to last!

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    Quote Originally Posted by PEO View Post
    ok cheers,

    so I take it data protection dosen't come in to play? I was thinking I would have to keep for x number of year.
    Doesn't the data protection act state something along the lines of "data that is retained must be relevant".

    I know it's pretty open but that to me says it's my call. I can't see 5 years being relevant to the school. If the pupil hasn't collected it by then, it's their fault.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dhicks View Post
    Crikey, not even 5 years? Wouldn't a DVD sat in a safe somewhere last that long? 5 years doesn't sound that long for data on a CD or DVD to last!

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    David Hicks
    depends, a lot can happen in 5 years!. The cd/dvd could develop physical problems (heat, scratches) , it could go missing, or you could leave your job and no one would know what the heck it was or what to do with it!. If it were on tape you could for instance change the tape drive you use, or even lose the program you used to back the data up in the first place.

    Quote Originally Posted by Hightower View Post
    Doesn't the data protection act state something along the lines of "data that is retained must be relevant".

    I know it's pretty open but that to me says it's my call. I can't see 5 years being relevant to the school. If the pupil hasn't collected it by then, it's their fault.

    We keep it long enough that the child can return to the school without losing data or that they can appeal a mark. To be honest though, its their data, not yours!. Probably worth giving them opportunity to copy it and remind them that it will be gone.

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    we follow the format of DVDs and pupils have returned up to 4 years later and requested their e-portfolio and it has as yet caused us no problems as it does not contain critical data only their work.

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    Some good comments so thank you for the replies.

    I can see a tape 3 too 5 years down the road been possibly a pain to retrieve data off it; So I will go for the DVD option. only 21Gb of data to backup

    OK Thanks again for the help

    Kev

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    When I started here, 5 years ago (it seems longer) I was asked every year to keep the leavers work "in case I need it".

    After 3 years I decided this data was taking up space I could find a better use for so I archived it to DVD and moved it to a directory on my computer.

    2 years later...guess what? Nobody has even noticed it has gone...

    ...and that included the huge library of photos that was very important for use in classwork...

    Now I wonder what else could go missing...I can think of a few pupils...

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    Quote Originally Posted by strawberry View Post
    The cd/dvd could develop physical problems (heat, scratches) , it could go missing
    Fire-proof safe?

    or you could leave your job and no one would know what the heck it was or what to do with it!.
    Documentation?

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    Ok ... retention of data. Another dig through some notes and I have the following.

    Whilst here is no definitive guidance on retaining student work directly the DPA does point that retention of data should be relevant to the need of the data originator and the data owner (data originator being the creator or author and the data owner being the holder of the data). There are specific statutory requirements within certain areas such as SEN. It is also important to note that some data my be electronic version of documents which fall under the retention schedule of the school (eg student records, pensions and pay details, personnel files) as well as the usual authored materials.

    To ensure integrity of the data you should only have it backed up on the existing medium being used. If you change the variety of tape drive or software used you should restore from existing backups and the backup to the new system. When backing up to particular media susceptible to damage or degradation the periodic checks should be made of the integrity of the backup.

    Retention of user data not under statutory notice is purely at discretion of the data owner, but the backup policy should be documented (including procedures for requesting restores or copies, integrity checks and disposal logs of media no longer required) and published.

    ---------------

    There is some more in there but this is the most I can dig out right now. There have been articles on TechRepublic and JISC about retention of user work and I'll post the links once I have dug them out.

    One of the things that we do not have published on the Wiki at the moment is a sample backup strategy / policy and the various options (tape, disk to tape, disk to disk, off-site, etc). If someone would like to put up a sample of their paperwork it can be stripped out and worked on.

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    We use an external 500GB hard drive and keep all staff and student leavers for as long as the hard drive works - I don't have a minimum length of time etc. The teachers get a DVD of all of their MyDocuments when they leave so they very rarely come back requesting their work back.

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