Whitsunday Anglican School: Data Governance Implementation 

Whitsunday school
Whitsunday Anglican School
Mr Max Chambers, Head of Information Technology
On-premises file storage migration onto the Microsoft Teams platform, on/off-site data governance strategy and implementation
About the school
  • Kindergarten to Year 12 independent Anglican day and boarding School 
  • 1100 students 
  • 150 staff members  
  • “To us, technology is both a foundation and an opportunity for innovation.  Every part of our school relies on IT, it is intertwined into the full scope of our daily operations and communication.”  


Whitsunday Anglican School is a Kindergarten to Year 12 Day and Boarding independent school located in Mackay, Queensland. It is consistently recognised as Queensland’s top academic regional school. Acknowledging the need to migrate from on-premises file storage to a cloud-based solution, Mr Max Chambers, Head of Information Technology, said, “Every part of our school uses IT. It is ingrained in our daily operations, and it is important to us to utilise available technologies to drive change for the better. In this case, it has enabled us to optimise file sharing, collaboration, backups, and access management.” 

Business Challenge 

Mr Chambers expected the task of migrating the file server data to a cloud platform to be a complex one, given their smaller IT team and the fact that the required change would impact the entire school. Whilst many staff had adopted OneDrive for their individual file storage, faculty and administration files were all stored on on-premises file servers and accessed via mapped drives. With very little data governance and limited security controls available, the existing solution created a significant risk for the school. In addition, there were varying levels of skills in the use of Teams among the staff body.  This posed a potential risk to the adoption and use of the new system in the future. 

Because of the perceived challenges, the School decided to take a calculated low-risk approach, and planned for a staggered rollout spanning six months, which included a pilot phase featuring a single department. 

Max Chambers

The Solution – Migrating a school in 2 days

Although the School is regional, NetStrategy sent their expert, Daniel Brown, to personally facilitate the project and conduct interviews and meetings in person. The discovery sessions included one-on-one interviews with the staff, during which it was ascertained that various platforms were being used for data storage.  

Using NetStrategy’s Governance recommendations, each data source was identified and organised according to type, function and required access. This information became the blueprint for the School’s new data management structure.  Data belonging to faculties was segmented within the structure, to further govern and safeguard information. The sessions also highlighted that the School’s staff were excited for the change to occur, as they could see how the new platform and data structure would make their day-to-day work more straightforward.

With the preparation tasks completed, and the support from staff for the change to the new system, the decision was made to do a single-day cutover instead of a staged rollout. The entire School was migrated onto Teams in a single day, with a second day allowed for administrative functions. The migration included one Terabyte of data being uploaded to Teams as well as backups being provisioned. It also included the implementation and adoption of a new data management structure, and retention and access guidelines.  

Whitsunday School


The migration process was smooth and seamless, with only positive feedback reported to the IT Team. Of the one Terabyte moved, the project received a 99.98% successful file move rate. “Everything is live and collaborative. Having our files offsite mitigates significant risk of disaster, from cyber security incidents, hardware resilience, and natural disaster perspectives. Part of living in our beautiful region is enduring the tropical storms, and migrating our highly accessed files to the Cloud supports our strategy of continued high availability,” said Mr Chambers. “Sharing and collaboration have improved significantly, and because most people have some familiarity with the Teams interface, we don’t have to train new staff members from scratch, the foundations are already there,” he adds. Speaking on the system’s efficiency, Mr Chambers said, “We now have improved governance for how long we store data, and auditing has been simplified. We can easily see who has access to which folders, who can edit information, and who can view it. Documents can also be tagged to ensure correct retention.” He concludes, saying, “Our file storage is now modernised, bringing positive change for our users and our business goals.”

Partnering with NetStrategy

Speaking about his experience with NetStrategy, Mr Chambers said,

“We could never have done it all without the knowledge and understanding of Mr Brown and the NetStrategy team. The personal touch they brought was unlike any other provider we spoke to. He took the time to meet everyone personally, understand the School’s needs and get a feel for the way we handle data. That understanding meant that his recommendations were perfectly suited to our School and staff. We were able to adapt solutions to suit faculties while maintaining a consistent approach overall.”

The adoption of the new platform was a school-wide success, significantly minimising the school’s risk of data exposure. Of the key outcomes, operational efficiency stood out. Mr Chambers reports that file sharing and collaboration have become more efficient, with multiple people able to work on the same document in real time. He also included that offsite collaboration was considerably easier for users.

Speaking about NetStrategy’s process, Mr Chambers said, “If we thought something wasn’t clear, NetStrategy were incredibly flexible and spoke to our staff directly to iron everything out. NetStrategy really took responsibility for the project and its outcome. The team had such a holistic view of the impacts and outcomes of different methodologies, which meant we could make properly informed decisions. It was great to have a team who collaborated and involved us, before recommending a way forward.” 

Mr Chambers has already tasked NetStrategy with the next steps in the school’s IT plan. “They’re working on our WiFi, improving connectivity across campus, as well as assisting us with the implementation of our Strategic IT Roadmap,” he said.  

Reflecting on the outcome of the project, Mr Chambers said, “The NetStrategy team were always available and committed to the project. They were with us onsite at the School well into the night of migration, as well as being available for questions in the weeks after.” Mr Chambers concluded by saying, “If we could do it all over again, there’s nothing I would do differently.”

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