School technology support personnel often are overwhelmed with the sheer number of computers and systems they need to support. The obvious solution of hiring more people is not always feasible, either, given the expense and the availability of trained and experienced candidates.

One alternative is to help your IT staff do its job as efficiently as possible. Numerous software and hardware vendors have developed programs that can aid in many of the most common–and important–tasks for IT staffers. Here are some leading programs:

  1. Aladdin eSafe (http://www.esafe.com/esafe). Virus and intrusion protection software. Also offers filtering software and management of computer security from a centralized office.
  2. Altiris eXpress LabExpert (http://www.altiris.com/products). Technology lifecycle management. In other words, software that helps with installation and maintenance of hardware, operating systems, and software; tracks inventory of hardware and software; and facilitates help-desk services for the system’s users. The system also can assign unique security IDs and configure user names, IP addresses, and other network settings.
  3. Apple Macintosh Manager (http://www.apple.com/education/k12). Apple’s networking support program. Includes hardware, software, internet wiring, and training management services, remote installation, etc.
  4. Citrix MetaFrame (http://www.citrix.com). Enables users to provide access to server-based applications from a wide variety of client devices and platforms. Since these applications are installed, updated, and maintained on central servers instead of each client, the cost and complexity of administration are significantly reduced.
  5. Deep Freeze (http://www.deepfreezeusa.com). Enhanced security for individual PCs or networks. Literally “freezes” operation of a computer if software is tampered with.
  6. Fortres 101 (http://www.fortres.com). Software for security and filtering. Also has created a program to limit a user’s time on the system. All software is customized for school system applications.
  7. Microsoft Windows 2000 Server (http://www.microsoft.com/education/technet). Provides a wide array of security applications and services. Also provides access to Microsoft’s extensive educational software titles and training programs.
  8. Pegasus Mail (http://www.pmail.com). Software for managing eMail servers. Free.
  9. SmartStuff Software FoolProof Security (http://www.smartstuff.com). Software for managing and securing PCs from a central network server. Also develops filtering software. Now partnered with Riverdeep Learning, which is a popular developer of educational curricula designed for the web.
  10. StorageSoft ImageCast (http://www.storagesoft.com). Management of individual computers and networks. Enables installation of software or additional computers to networks. Also performs backups of all files.
  11. , 12Symantec Ghost and Norton AntiVirus (http://www.symantec.com). Symantec’s Ghost is a sophisticated disk imaging program. The company’s Norton AntiVirus is a leading anti-virus program. By purchasing software, an administrator also gets access to daily online upgrades of virus-fighting programs.
  12. Visual CASEL (http://www.vcasel.com/netscape). Designed specially for educational markets, this program helps manage a network of computers that use Windows 2000. Includes security devices.
  13. Wise InstallManager (http://www.wisesolutions.com/). Another program to facilitate software installation on networks.