“Manageability” of digital devices in schools

Using end device management options is not an option, but a must.

The advancement of digitization poses challenges for administrators. More and more devices need to be managed and configured. The shortage of skilled labor contributes to this. The workforce is getting thinner, but it has more and more devices to attend to. It is therefore becoming increasingly important to take advantage of the manageability possibilities offered by modern software tools and current hardware and, if necessary, to exhaust and expand the systems used.

This situation is aggravated for school authorities and schools.Let us look at the degree of digitization in schools regarding the DigitalPakt, which was created with a large budget. Status as of December 31, 2021: after about 2.5 years, not even 50% of the funds have been committed and only 423 million euros have been withdrawn.

Development of committed funds and outflow of School funds from the basic digital pact; Source: BMBF, www.digitalpaktschule.de

This backlog of digitization has its reasons, which are to be found among other things at the personnel level. Many education authorities and schools, especially in smaller communities, do not have the urgently needed specialized staff to promote and implement digitization. Often there aren’t even IT departments, let alone technical support for the municipal IT infrastructure. This deficit is also clearly reflected in the outflow of funds for the “Administration” program – because this is almost 0; available funds are not even required.

cash flow administration; Source: BMBF, www.digitalpaktschule.de

In addition, school authorities and schools, which previously consisted mainly of the administrative network, face the additional challenges of achieving the permanent operation of a large IT infrastructure. If we look at secondary schools in Germany alone, we are talking about an average of around 900 students per school and a staff of around 80 people. The question arises as to how much staff is needed for IT support in order to take care of a national WLAN together with the end devices, if possible mobile, of teachers and students. Whatever the anticipated expenditure on staff, most school authorities and schools will not be able to cope with this task in terms of staff. A school as a modern digitalized learning environment must professionalize in this area.

Why is software-supported end device management necessary? Because modern IT administration can no longer do without it, so that it can devote itself to essential tasks with scarce human resources. To consider how to secure IT operations, managers need to conceptually address how operational concepts can be designed to be future-proof. There is no question that software solutions should be included here. Which tasks must be taken over by the management software and which software features can support them are important issues when developing an operating concept, along with the selection of hardware.

As an example, let’s take a look at the manage4All software and some of its important management functions.

Source: Intel, Bytesatwork: Device Lifecycle Management (intel.de)

automation

To be able to perform recurring tasks or the same tasks on multiple end devices, automation is a useful feature that administrators love. Once tested, the changes can be imported in parallel, for example, on many notebooks. Identical configuration of the operating system and program structures on the end devices is made possible and errors are reduced to almost zero. If you need to import additional programs or data or make changes, this can be done at any time using automation.

Checking for Windows Update

Regular update management, as automated as possible, is the benchmark for a secure IT environment. With the help of the Windows Update Checker you can monitor and check at any time whether the necessary updates have been installed. If errors occurred during the update process, incorrect updates can be withdrawn and corrected. This means that the entire fleet of computers is always ready to use and up to date in terms of security.

monitoring

A well-managed IT equipment setup detects problems early and acts early instead of reacting. One of the tools that enables this preventive way of working is the monitoring of functions and services. Uniform rules and customizable triggers are used to monitor important indicators and an early warning system is used to identify critical loads or errors and alerts are issued in good time when threshold values ​​are reached.

ticket office

The ticket system is an important part of a maintenance concept. A solid setup is created by directly embedding the ticket system into management or administration software. Tickets, requests for information and requests for help can be made directly through the customer on the computer system concerned. The option to embed screenshots directly into the ticket allows users to directly illustrate their concerns and problem. This feature is a direct added value, for example, in the case of (irregular) pop-up alerts.

Below we will consider how the choice of hardware and the possible combination of devices can influence the concept of service and maintenance. The manage4All software supports the functional integration of the Intel vPro platform, which among other things provides an out-of-band remote maintenance functionality. This feature can be easily activated with manage4All.

In the case of maintenance, this offers enormous benefits to administrators, as they can maintain computer systems and end devices and fix errors even if the operating system no longer boots or is accessible. With these features, the solution has the advantage over other systems that require a functioning operating system. In combination, images can then be imported remotely, BIOS can be accessed and security increased. It is also possible to install and configure the device, but also the classic remote maintenance in band.

If we consider the advantages for the functioning of the terminals that derive from the choice of suitable software and hardware, it becomes clear why the administration and management of the terminals with the right tools is a must and not an optional. Today it is necessary to use valuable and powerful tools or hardware to overcome the IT challenges of digitization.

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