Foldr For Education
As part of a series of blog posts, we seek to highlight some real world examples based on our experience where Foldr can play a pivotal role in a given vertical.
The classroom today looks very different to the good old days when I was in school, particularly from a technology perspective. In the 1990s we had 1 Acorn computer (paid for with Tesco ‘Computers for School’ vouchers) shared between 2 classrooms and you were lucky to get an hour of screen time a fortnight (in the MD’s school days, the closest thing they had to a computer was an abacus).
The average 2017 classroom is a multi-platform (Windows/Mac/Linux/Chromebook/iOS/Android) environment often allowing BYOD and the use of cloud technology (mainly G-Suite and/or O365) is becoming more prevalent. When faced with a plethora of different devices and disparate storage services (on-premise, hybrid or multi-cloud environments) this can be a real headache for both students/teachers and the schools’ IT administrator(s).
The founders of Minnow IT have suffered these headaches first-hand. As ex-IT administrators within a large secondary school, they had seen one too many support tickets stating, ‘I’ve lost my work and don’t have a backup’ or ‘the tablets storage is full’ and decided to do something about it.This led to the birth of Foldr.
In its original form the software provided a gateway to schools’ on-premise storage without the need for complex VPN connections, giving users the experience of the cloud while the school still maintained control and ownership of sensitive student data.
In its current form, Foldr is now the gateway to all your storage mediums, integrating your on-premise storage with O365, G-Suite, Box & Dropbox. With native apps for iOS, Android, Windows and Mac, as well as a web app it offers a consistent way to access files & folders in a multi-platform environment.
It’s no wonder over 800 schools and 500,000 users currently trust Foldr as their method of file access.
Here are the 2 most common problem scenarios we come across and how Foldr can seamlessly fit into the existing infrastructure to solve them:
Scenario 1: On-premise storage only + iOS, Windows & Mac devices
This is a very common scenario where iOS devices are used in classrooms with younger pupils and a combination of school-provided or BYOD Mac & Windows devices are used by the older students.
The key issue here is how do students using an iOS or BYOD device access their work and resources on the school network both on campus and from home? In this scenario, common workarounds are USB sticks or emailing work back and forth but this is fraught with security issues and the risk that students will misplace their USB sticks (worryingly this is more common than you would think). iOS devices, particularly if they are shared, are constantly reaching storage limits and there’s a constant cycle of deleting old images/videos/files to create more space.
From the teacher perspective, we often see complex VPN connections being provided which often go unused and are a huge overhead when they are merely being used for file access.
Through Foldr’s native iOS app, students are able to access their network resources from an iPad and save work directly back to their home folder or an SMB/DFS share. This means that whether it’s a photo, video, Word document or sound file created in ‘Garage Band’, they can bypass the devices’ storage and save back to their on-premise location of choice.
For home access or BYOD devices, as well as the iOS app, Foldr has native apps for Windows, Mac (currently in beta), Android and a web app. This means that no matter what device a student/teacher is using, they have a way to access their on-premise storage whether that be on campus or from home – all they need are their AD credentials and an internet connection.
Scenario 2: Hybrid-storage/multi-cloud environments + iOS, Windows & Mac devices
A lot of the principles remain the same as in scenario 1 but the addition of one or multiple cloud platforms throws in an extra level of complexity. This is probably the most common scenario we see, where schools are still using their on-premise storage infrastructure but have also added G-Suite and/or O365. This often leads to inconsistency in file access/management with users sticking to their method of choice i.e. teachers staying with on-premise storage as they’ve invested years in building up the resources and students using their preferred cloud platform. As an administrator, this can cause you major headaches as you have less control over the cloud side of things and you will still have the issue of access to resources stored on-premise.
Foldr integrates with all major cloud storage providers (G-Suite, O365, Dropbox & Box etc) to provide unified access to all of your files and folders whether stored on the school’s network or in the cloud. By having one consistent access point for all files/folders, administrators can see who is accessing what and from where as everything is logged in the back-end.
Teachers/students are easily able to move and duplicate files from cloud to on-premise storage and vice versa.
Users can easily share files from any location with other Foldr users. This includes the ability for teachers to hand out folders, set deadlines and for students to hand their work back in, all managed via the appliance.
Want to have a chat about Foldr and how it can fit into your solutions portfolio or simply have some questions then get in touch with your Account Manager.
To assist with the sales process we are happy to provide live web based demos, reseller NFRs and make 30 day free trials available to customers.