In any environment, a broken device can be a big disruption to workflow. For K-12 schools where it is less common to have the budget to keep backup laptops or tablets on-hand and ready to go, broken devices can cause wasted time and learning distractions. Proactively managing the lifecycle of classroom devices—from purchase, to maintenance, to disposal—can seem pricey or time consuming up-front but offers significant benefits in the long run. Administrators should invest in a well-defined plan to deploy and manage devices across their schools and districts so that they are not surprised with unexpected delays, expenses, or security breaches down the road.
IT lifecycle management covers the big-picture operations of the people and processes that keep tech systems running smoothly and securely; from purchasing new devices, to disposing of them when they are no longer functional. While the abrupt switch to online learning left many teachers and students feeling unsupported and stressed, consulting with IT professionals experienced in K-12 device management can help decrease stress and optimize learning.
Choosing the Right Devices and Processes
IT lifecycle management begins with getting devices into the right hands. This may seem like a challenge when you’re managing a large number of devices and end-users, but the planning phase ultimately boils down to a few considerations:
- Parameters and constraints: Take a close look at your budget, your current device landscape, and your ideal solution. Enlist a professional to better understand options that may be available to you: from maintaining current devices, to newer devices on the market, to grants for funding your classroom upgrades.
- Making it scalable: Focus on completing your upgrades in one go, and the steps realistically required to do so.
- Full service: Look for a lifecycle management company that provides white glove service for standardizing your devices and software set-up before installation.
When you’re ready to roll out your classroom upgrades, some considerations for a strong lifecycle management program include:
- Asset tagging and tracking: Choose a service that will etch and keep track of all of your devices for you to keep up with management and repairs.
- Ongoing tech support: Support shouldn’t end with laptops being delivered to your doorstep: choose a lifecycle management company that will continue to help with repairs and updates, both online and onsite. Consider the IT team you have on-staff, and how to support them with extended tech services.
- Summer refreshes: Take advantage of learning down-time to have your devices serviced and updated for the new school year.
- Warranty and protection plans: Prioritize a good warranty for protecting your investment from purchase to replacement, and for working within your budget. Many plans will even cover loaner devices so students don’t miss out on learning while their laptops are being repaired.
Benefits of Lifecycle Management
The pandemic revealed a dilemma that garnered little attention before 2020: schools are an easy and ideal target for cyberattacks. A Microsoft Security Intelligence study that tracks the more than 7.7 million enterprise malware events that occur every month revealed that more than 60% of attacks are directed at the education sector. Schools have less budget and know-how than many businesses when it comes to securing their networks. As 1:1 education has increased and schools hand out more endpoint devices than ever, students and teachers unknowingly fall into phishing traps that can quickly capture student records or hold administration platforms for ransom.
Investing in a lifecycle management process including professional help works to minimize cyberattacks and save on expensive repairs. Having an extra pair of eyes on the security of your devices ensures that important updates don’t fall through the cracks, that all devices are adequately password protected, and that data is sufficiently encrypted. And where many schools are working to stretch every penny, lifecycle management reduces maintenance costs by keeping up on essential repairs and solving small problems before they become big ones.
Virtucom’s Unparalleled Services
At Virtucom, we’re built to power Edtech in a changing world. We meet K-12 needs of today, with the needs of the future in mind. Large-scale technology integration and planning are crucial to building optimal learning environments, and our team of EdTech experts is here to help you optimize your district’s personalized learning programs to keep your teachers teaching and your students learning. We offer tailored learning solutions designed to meet your needs every step of the way, regardless of your budget.
Virtucom’s personalized learning solutions are perfect for districts looking for an efficient way to automate and manage their IT lifecycle. We are proud to partner with HP to provide you with devices that are optimized and secured for whatever your K-12 learning environment may look like.
Click below to learn more about Virtucom can help you upgrade your classrooms within your budget.