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SCHOOL-IT  February 2008

SCHOOL-IT February 2008

Subject:

Re: Desktop Security

From:

Adam Provost <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

School Information Technology Discussion <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Thu, 14 Feb 2008 12:04:12 -0500

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (118 lines)

Philosophy: 
Build user skill by creating an environment close to what they experience at
home.

Right tool for the right job.

Help users do what they need to do.

Keep it simple.

General:

The network is segmented. Edu on one side and admin on another. Just
relieves concerns...

Without the layers of security we have a large team of student tech interns
(22 - with the help of a hardware and networking class and a teacher) who
can fix the vast majority of use station problems.

Admins lean on faculty who's machines are routinely vandalized. Eventually
they get the 'deep freeze.'

We put some effort into moving those basic app services online (thought
planners, powerpoint, wordprocessing, spreadsheets, etc).

Unsupervised and / or 'typing' stations boot a linux OS off a cd or easily
swapped hard drives or hot-swappable hardware. Easy. Saves huge money by
utilizing older equipment.

We use Google for domains for mail. Free. Boatloads of collaborative
features and over 2gb of storage. All faculty docs are shared via publish
feature, RSS (desktop aggregator), or by a Google Group.

Open Office (and Gimp) is on all ed computers as well. Open Office and MS
Office is on every admin computer. The majority of your work is done now
through Google docs though.

The school web site hosted locally and is updated by user stipend ($1500 per
year). Faculty utilize Google Docs, Groups, blogs or wikis. All free.


Ed network:

Typing stations (general access) run off linux which can be rebuilt from a
cd or hot swappable cpu. Using Ubuntu. Hot swaps on the shelves in these
labs.

Heavy app labs have no desktop security and are rebuilt by imaging (usually
once per year):

No login scripts. Users are taught to browse to the server they need
(personal storage or shared class folder). Labs and many adult stations have
shortcuts to these servers. All users are given directions on how to
connect.

Students are asked not to load software without the teachers permission.
Students who rearrange the desktops, screensavers and desktop pictures are
penalized under vandalism guidelines. We have an image for these stations
too and students techs and students in class reinstall software. After a bit
of a hurricane and an occasional blip it's become rather uncool to vandalize
machines. Admins routinely discuss this policy with faculty... Faculty
deliver the message to students.

The majority of student writing is submitted by email to teachers as text,
flush left. Saves gobs of storage space and needless formatting. Students
are asked to keep their own backups or written work on Google Docs or in
email text.

Storage: Students are issued 2gb usb mem sticks from the school store for
$15 (lab fee - $15 per - we by them in bulk) as their primary storage. We
provide user storage by request only (usually 100mb) and more by request
(special lab work etc). Some of those labs backup (imaging etc) on external
drives (by batch file). Saves running and having backup capacity for all
that unused space.

AVG virus protection. Very efficient. Make updates available by scripting,
centralized server or users learning to run update packages off a server.
Machines booting off cd... Well... It's just not necessary. Same for
anti-spyware stuff. Ran across one school who uses the free version for this
too. Four years running with no hiccups.

Admin network:

Personal storage 10gb. Backed up every night. Little volume here though and
am considering scaling back. Most use Google docs and collaboration features
now. 

Login scripts for personal storage and shared dept drives.

Documents and school calendars are accessible by collaboration features
built into Google docs and / or RSS.

Critical workstations are imaged for quick backup: Payroll, school admin
database access, fund accounting. (6 total).

Attempted as much hardware consolidation as possible and have created images
and two hot swaps per type. Makes for easy repair. The old 'pull, place,
image and back to work' process.

Summary:

Build user proficiency and ownership, use powerful hardware where necessary
instead of putting a $1000 computer to be a typewriter and whip up a large
student tech group eager to build skills... (heard some colleges offer
credit for advanced internships). In all, less monotonous work for the
admins who can get out and about and work with users face to face. Most
don't have comfortable chairs anyway so you'll save money in medical bills
(ergonomics you know).

Take a good bit of the cost savings and toss into a bigger internet
connection. 

We don't actually do that... But it sure does sound cool doesn't it ? ; )

Take your pick on a server platform to do file and print.

Adam

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