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Balnacraig School decided they needed an IT system. They wanted a system that they could trust and would be totally reliable. Having successfully installed a system for Snowdon School in Stirling, Portal  came highly recommended. Portal provided a reliable and effective service that delivered a custom IT solution that was a perfect fit for the needs of Balnacraig.

The Organisation

Balnacraig School is located in Perth in Scotland. Using nurturing and therapeutic approaches, they create a safe, positive and active environment in which young people flourish. Young people are referred to the school if they are facing a variety of long-term barriers to their learning, particularly with social, emotional and behavioural issues. The school can accommodate up to 24 young people and has 40 staff. They provide support for up to 52 weeks of the year.

The Challenge

Balnacraig had an ageing Dell Server with a pop3 email system, which had ceased to operate as efficiently as the school needed. This had been built in-house and carried a high risk of crashing and security breaches. Security of the school’s data was a high priority for Balnacraig and, therefore, it was time for a change. The new management team at Balnacraig wanted a system that would give them peace of mind so that they could focus their attention on more pressing issues in the school, such as meeting the needs of the young people. In addition to the security aspects of the old system, the school needed more hard drive space for their increasing IT demands.

The Solution

Portal  considered the school’s needs and which products would benefit the school, keeping in mind Balnacraig’s advised budget and current systems. The Portal team visited the school to meet the staff and discuss what the school needed from their IT systems and any problems they were currently having. They designed a tailored solution that upgraded the previous system and added new technologies to ensure Balnacraig’s network was secure and efficient. The most important part of the package was the remote monitoring system. This provides a preventative and proactive approach to the management of the school’s IT.

Portal continuously monitors all aspects of their IT system to ensure that it always meets the efficiency and security criteria. This gives Balnacraig School peace of mind, sure in the knowledge that Portal are looking after their IT systems and fixing issues before they even know about them. The solution also includes Anti-Virus Updates, which are monitored at desktop and server level, so the school can feel secure that their system will be kept safe from disruption to daily services. Simultaneously, Portal also upgraded Balnacraig’s email system to Office 365. This version of Microsoft’s desktop productivity suite of software is hosted by Microsoft themselves and is more reliable and robust than previous versions. For convenience, Office 365 can be accessed anywhere in the world, giving the Balnacraig staff the option to work from home if required. The Portal solution also covered mailbox maintenance, including creating and deleting mailboxes, general housekeeping and mailbox capacity alerts for users. Providing new hard drives to Balnacraig gave them a more fault tolerant system and much more storage space.

Keeping the pupils secure whilst online is very important for Balnacraig. Portal installed the Bloxx web filter, a popular device amongst the public sector. It ensures that all internet access is monitored and filtered to protect both the school and the users from inappropriate use. This gave Balnacraig the reassurance that pupils can only access appropriate material, whilst giving flexibility to their staff.

The Benefits

Balnacraig’s system was installed in April 2012. Since then, Portal have been working with them to ensure they get the best from their IT support. They have seen significant improvements in their systems and are very pleased with the stability and confidence they have in their new IT support. Although still on the journey with Portal, they are confident the new system will deliver the time and efficiency savings required, as well as massively helping communication within the school. When asked why they chose Portal, Alison Morley, the Business Manager from Balnacraig responded:

“Most businesses want you to cater to their needs. However, Portal completely understood the demands of our business and tailored their services to us.”

Alison added:

“Support is so responsive. They really understand our needs.”

This reflects Portal’s values of friendliness,customer service, ensuring continuity of support and delivering reliability.