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Managed services can help schools keep up with changing edtech while protecting investments for the long-term.

How managed services empower edtech in small schools


Managed services can help schools keep up with education technology while protecting investments for the long-term

Key points:

The ever-present issue with technology is its inevitable obsolescence. No matter how groundbreaking an innovation may be, there always seems to be a superior alternative just a few steps away. This perpetual evolution presents a significant challenge for enterprises and large companies, forcing them into a costly predicament. For smaller companies operating on limited budgets, keeping pace with technology often necessitates making sacrifices elsewhere. This is where the concept of managed services proves invaluable.

Similarly, many not-for-profit organizations, like school districts, can’t afford to stay on top of the latest technologies. Even before a fiscal year starts, administrators have already earmarked the district’s limited funding for necessities like operation budgets, salaries, and health and nutrition programs.

Streamlining edtech integration: Small schools embrace DaaS

Managed services allow school districts to move from obsolete legacy IT systems without being bogged down by budget. Instead of brand-new IT equipment and hiring the necessary technical staff, managed services allow organizations to avail of these technologies on a subscription basis. Beyond solving the tech gap, they also cover maintenance, troubleshooting, and security.

Device-as-a-Service (DaaS) represents the latest innovation in managed services. Instead of the usual long-term agreement that comes with the outsourcing of IT hardware and services, DaaS provides the option of leasing the equipment on a monthly basis. Shorter commitments offer flexibility and significant cost savings to organizations with rapidly changing requirements.

Moreover, managed services come in two flavors—the main difference boiling down to hardware.

Option 1: Buying hardware with a managed services package

Using funds from the CARES Act, many school districts made recent hardware investments. However, these have yet to generate a healthy return on investment. Instead of opting for a DaaS subscription model, the district can enroll in a managed service package. This takes care of the school’s existing devices’ maintenance, management, and security.

Examples of this scenario are school districts that installed interactive touchscreen panels in all their classrooms. Designed to replace whiteboards as well as school projectors, these highly interactive devices are rated for use for over 50,000 hours. This roughly translates to a utility lifespan of 10 years.

Option 2: Leasing hardware with a managed services package

Meanwhile, school districts that avoided making substantial hardware investments during the pandemic can go directly into the DaaS option. This way, they can ensure that students will only use authorized devices. At the same time, only authorized content and official applications will appear on these devices.

More importantly, the managed service package included in the subscription actively updates and prepares all devices’ system software, firmware, and applications for use. It also means that a managed service IT team remains on standby to provide maintenance and security services to troubled devices at any time.

The central role of device management platforms

Whether subscribed to a DaaS model or to managed services, the IT team in charge will need reliable device management platforms. This ideal device manager maintains the primary role of monitoring, managing, and safeguarding each device connected to the school network. It ensures that only authorized users have access to each school device. In turn, each device must be configured to run the required software and can access the needed content.

Finally, the platform should also have the necessary tools to ensure that each connected device remains safe from unauthorized users and that any private data contained within remains safe from prying eyes.

Management

As part of its device management duties, the platform should provide administrators with the tools to create and assign various access levels for different stakeholder types. As such, admins can access system settings and perform the necessary procedures.

Users can launch applications and open, edit, and save documents. Instructors can manage connected users during remote classes, access student files, and administer lessons. Finally, school executives can look into user data and generate insights to help improve the overall learning experience.

Maintenance

IT admins can perform the needed software updates, patches, or rollbacks to each connected device using cloud connectivity. Whether it’s troubleshooting a single unit or updating the entire fleet, the managed services team can connect to each device remotely, access the tools and files from the cloud, and perform tasks without user intervention.

Security

Protecting each and every school device and its private data is priority #1 for any managed services team. With the right device management platform, schools can rest assured that all their devices remain compliant with privacy protocols such as GDPR, CCPA, and ISO.

Better yet, admins can remotely freeze or disable any device that unauthorized users are trying to access. Even if those malicious actors do successfully access the device, admins can remotely wipe its contents to prevent data theft. Similarly, admins can remotely activate geolocation services to initiate recovery efforts for devices reported lost or stolen.

Managed services and device management go hand-in-hand

When choosing the right managed services provider, you’ve got to make sure they check off all the boxes. That includes top-tier device management, maintenance, and security. Does their device management platform use cloud connectivity and robust security to keep all school devices secure, up-to-date, and ready for use?

The school district is responsible for guaranteeing that locals’ hard-earned tax dollars are being spent properly and are protected. A competent managed services company and a reliable device management platform go hand-in-hand in helping schools keep up with education technology while protecting those investments long-term.

Related:
3 ways a cloud-based ERP helps schools innovate
5 K-12 IT insights from IT leaders

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