Online, Hacking and Clouds. How education works during wartime

Online, Hacking and Clouds.  How education works during wartime

The new academic year 2023-2024 began in conditions of war. This makes it impossible to conduct only face-to-face classes and offline lessons, and also requires a high degree of data protection.

Some of the students were forced to leave their homes, cities, and even leave the country. But training continued online despite the shelling and alarms. However, the methods had to be modernized: cloud services came in handy.

How cloud services help to gain knowledge even despite the war, read in the material.

The remote control system in schools is based on cloud technologies

During the full-scale invasion in Ukraine, more than 1,300 schools were destroyed, hundreds more educational institutions suffered part. Because of the security situation there are about a million children abroad, and the number of those who study under the family form increased 14 times in a year and a half (from 4,695 in 2021 to 64,409 in 2022).

According to preliminary estimates of the Ministry of Education and Science, more than 200 thousand applicants are expected in 2023, some of them will study online because of the war.

Destroyed educational institutions
Photo: Dmytro Larin

In higher education institutions, cloud technologies allow conducting an admissions campaign and distance learning, provide access to the library, website, documentation, etc.

It is worth noting that in the world there is such a concept as a “university without walls”, that is, an educational institution that conducts exclusively distance learning. While Europe and the USA are only planning to create such educational institutions, they are already being implemented in Ukraine thanks to cloud technologies.

Accessibility and multimedia became one of the principles of educational reform. In 2017, when the “New Ukrainian School” project was launched, several IT companies began to look for the best platforms for implementing the educational process.

Destroyed educational institutions

Destroyed educational institutions
Photo: Dmytro Larin

One of them is the HUMAN company. She created a platform that is used by about a million students, parents and teachers from 3,000 educational institutions throughout Ukraine. The developers have created an electronic journal, diary, class schedule, test creation, video lessons and electives, etc. in the cloud.

“Cloud technologies are not the future, but the present. Network activity is a new way of life for a modern person, which is provided by cloud technologies. The availability of education is one of the important challenges in many countries of the world.

In Ukraine, during the invasion, the organization of the educational process and ensuring a decent level of quality of education became a test that was successfully coped with. It is cloud services and platforms that are almost the only way to continue training,” says the head of the company Vadym Khivrenko.

One of the advantages of private cloud storage is greater capacity. Thanks to it, at peak moments of load, the system continues to work without disruptions for users.

Yuliya, a teacher of digital technologies, notes that cloud technologies are a big plus for teachers, because they do not require expensive equipment.

Julia, teacher of digital technologies

Julia, teacher of digital technologies
Photo: GigaCloud

“Teachers can use any gadget connected to the Internet. And in fact, immediately work and share their knowledge, communicate with colleagues or coordinate a joint project. In addition, the cloud has an unlimited amount of data, so you can not worry about file sizes “, she says.

The educational platform survived a massive Russian hacking attack

In Lviv, an educational platform “Learning and Technology” (NIT) was developed, which provides remote and interactive learning for all schoolchildren in the city. This is a project of the Lviv IT company Lionwood.Software.

The developers were inspired to create the product by the pandemic of 2020. As the founder of the company, Volodymyr Kaminovskyi, said, his brother Yuri worked as a teacher for a long time, so the developers took into account all the shortcomings of the existing systems.

“Data security was our first priority, because it is extremely important that user data is stored in a secure data center in Ukraine,” Volodymyr Kaminovskyi notes.

Developers have created a reliable IT infrastructure and placed it in the cloud.

The development was constantly improved, and as of 2022, more than 150 schools have already joined the system.

“All information is placed not on physical media, but on the Internet. It is more difficult for thieves and invaders to get to it, and it is even more difficult to destroy it, which is very important during a full-scale war,” says the founder of the company.

The cloud gives complete freedom in using HIT. Students, teachers and parents can connect to the platform from any device: smartphone, tablet, laptop or desktop computer. Users have 24/7 remote access to all information on the platform and can communicate with each other in real time.

It is interesting that the platform contains not only a diary, an electronic magazine, a schedule, functionality for online meetings, but also the ability to hold online Olympics.

During the invasion, the NIT system helped in the education of schoolchildren in Kyiv and Skadovsk, Kherson region.

Volodymyr notes that the children used VPN services to log in and get to the online lesson on the occupation.

And already in September 2022, the NIT platform survived the most massive Russian attack.

“It was a large-scale launch in all educational institutions. So hackers attacked not only the resource, but also communication channels, social networks, etc.

The maximum we got was a slowdown of the system by several percent and a communication problem, because the lines were temporarily down due to the bot attack.

But the platform itself withstood the load and saved all the data of Ukrainian schools,” says Volodymyr.

He adds that this is another advantage of the cloud service – you can attract additional virtual servers for work and stabilize work even at the peak of the system load. Currently, more than 300,000 users are registered on the NIT platform.

Maryna Trokhymenko is the mother of a fifth-grader. Her son spent all 4 years of elementary school on distance learning. First there was covid, and then there was a full-scale invasion.

She notes that the first year of communication through the electronic diary was a failure, because the technology had just begun to be used. In the third grade, before the full-scale invasion, everything settled down: children and parents began to receive feedback via an electronic journal.

“Cloud technologies in school education help to focus the child on education. For example, an electronic diary involves the application of an individual approach to each student,” says Marina.

Distance learning continues despite the occupation

Berdyansk State Pedagogical University was under occupation from the first day of the full-scale invasion. Him temporarily moved to Zaporizhzhia, but it works remotely: the team and students are scattered throughout Ukraine and abroad.

History repeated itself, because the educational institution was under German occupation during the Second World War. Then the employees had to take out the documents themselves, and the educational process had to be stopped.

However, thanks to technological solutions in 2022-2023, students were able to continue their studies, despite the war and occupation.

Before the Russian invasion, Berdyansk University worked on its own servers. The workers managed to take out a hard disk with data: they overcame dozens of enemy roadblocks with valuable information. It has been moved to cloud storage and online learning has been optimized thanks to cloud technologies.

The educational institution also created a corporate e-mail in the cloud and manages the entire document flow – orders, reports, orders, contracts, other documents. The university is convinced that cloud services are the future.

head of the computing center Oleg Serdyuk

The head of the computer center Oleg Serdyuk
Photo: GigaCloud

“The potential of digitalization in general and cloud technologies, in particular, in Ukrainian education, is huge. In my opinion, eventually all information will be located in the cloud environment.

In large data centers (data processing centers) all server equipment will be concentrated, which will be used by all people and companies, as well as educational institutions.

As an example: Microsoft is transferring its Windows OS to the cloud in order not to depend on any media and to provide better services. It will be the same with education,” said Oleg Serdyuk, head of the computing center.

Instead of working under fire – training in the cloud

O. M. Beketov Kharkiv National University of Urban Economy was also under enemy fire from the first hours of the invasion. It was impossible to continue studying there because of the danger.

The employees managed to save and take out the servers with data, and transfer the IT infrastructure to the cloud. At first, foreign services Amazon Web Services and Dutch Cloud Community were used. They provided a free trial period of 3 months.

After its completion, they decided to transfer the data Ukrainian cloud operator. Currently, all employees of XNUMG named after O. M. Beketov work remotely, and at the same time, the efficiency of their work has not decreased.

Employees of Kharkiv University named after O. M. Beketov

Employees of Kharkiv University named after O. M. Beketov

“I can’t imagine how we used to work without the cloud. We not only saved our services and continued to work in war conditions, but also optimized the budget.

During this time, several of our servers have gone down and need to be replaced. Hosting in the cloud has freed us from unnecessary costs that are out of date.

We carefully prepared for the new academic year!” – says the head of the university’s information and computing center, candidate of technical sciences Mykola Pan.

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