It’s the start of a new school year. Everyone’s refreshed after a summer break and primed for learning. But are the school’s computers ready?
For IT managers in schools, September is a good time to take stock and consider what you can put in place to make your academic year a smooth rather than a stressful one.
What is your starting point?
What have you got and what is it being used for? These should be straightforward questions, but can be difficult to answer.
The Inventory feature in Faronics Cloud allows you to see straightaway the status of all your hardware. You can customise the page to show all manner of useful information, which you can refer to whenever you like, wherever you are. It might be particularly helpful at this time of year to check the warranty end date on all your machines: is there anything you need to get fixed before the warranty expires? And the ‘Last Updated’ column is a reference point for getting all your machines refreshed.
The ‘Tags’ feature is a genuine time-saver, as it allows you to filter on and action certain categories, like ‘Dell computers’ or ‘Science lab laptops’; at the start of the school year it is worth spending a little bit of time tagging all your estate with anything relevant that you’ll want to report on or enact on-demand maintenance through the cloud.
Ideally, software updates and Windows updates are automated – that’s a potential headache that you no longer need to worry or even think about in this school year. By enabling Software Updater in your Faronics Cloud Deep Freeze policy, all you have to do is tick the software you want to keep up-to-date, and schedule a maintenance period, which might be overnight once a week.
Another approach would be to treat the start of the school year as the ideal time to image your computers exactly the way you want them. You might want all your staff with one image, and all your pupil devices with another. Either way, it’s straightforward to capture that image, push it out to the workstations you need, then set everything to update in the background without disrupting any learning.
Have your school policies planned or in place
A small amount of setup time at the start of a school year will allow you to get to the end and look back proudly on both how much money you’ve saved, and how you’ve contributed to the environment. For example, you could set every computer to shut down at 4pm every weekday, and every monitor to turn off if inactive for five minutes, and feel super-smug as you track savings across the year with our dashboards and reports. Jay Stelmach, Computer Technician at Wells High School, says: ‘We use Faronics Power Save in a school environment; it’s made managing the power consumption of the school computers a breeze!’
It’s probably worth double-checking that everything is set up correctly for existing mobile devices you manage, as well as any new ones that might be enrolled during the course of the year. Faronics’ mobile device management allows you to set exactly which restrictions you want to apply; so you can be certain that your students and teachers won’t be able to do something dangerous that you don’t want to allow.
Proper protection for computers is an ever-present and growing worry in schools, especially when the same device will often be used by several students or teachers in one day. Deep Freeze, our unique reboot-to-restore solution, ensures that any changes made by a local user are eliminated on restart, so that each session begins with the computer in its original pristine state. Deep Freeze works as one layer of defence in tandem with two further layers, our Anti-Virus and Anti-Executable modules.
Jorge López, Director of Academic Technological Support at UPAEP, says: ‘After implementing Deep Freeze, it hasn’t been necessary to give any technical support to the computers. They’re using only the authorised software and we guarantee all that without preventing our students from fully using the computers for their tests and learning.’
Get on the front foot
If you can spend half an hour on a small amount of sense-checking and admin, you can enjoy the huge benefits of managing your school’s devices through one intuitive cloud console. With Faronics Cloud: yes, your computers are always ready.
To find out more about how Faronics makes life easy for IT managers in schools around the world, please join our webinar.