In recent years, multiple educational institutions across the globe have made significant investments in building an adaptive and cost-efficient IT infrastructure to support the diverse learning needs and requirements of today's learners. Classroom devices have become an essential part of the modern educational system, helping teachers to create a collaborative and transparent classroom atmosphere for students which encourages them to inquire and learn through experiments.
As the dependence on classroom systems continues to grow, educational institutes are under constant pressure to ensure that these devices keep functioning at optimal levels. Any performance lapse in classroom workstations can cause significant disruptions in the flow of teaching while preventing students from getting the best learning experience.
Impact of system downtime in the educational sector
In an educational IT environment, system administrators struggle with the challenge of ensuring safe computing usage while keeping the devices open and accessible to multiple users. Lack of administrative control over the actions of these users often brings unpredictable and damaging IT consequences. Sudden alterations performed in the system settings or unauthorized software downloads can affect the performance of the classroom systems, causing them to slow down or malfunction frequently. Without prompt tech intervention, this can lead to unplanned downtime which can severely affect the classroom experience of the learners and teachers alike.
There can be massive repercussions of downtime during an ongoing class such as loss of valuable instructional time, loss of valuable research and lesson content, delay in assignment submission, affected faculty productivity, and reduced student participation. Campus IT team have to rush to the site, perform diagnostics and, at times, engage in the laborious process of system re-imaging to bring the damaged systems to a workable state. This significantly mars the learning experience of students.
Hence, Campus IT professionals need to adopt a proactive approach to system maintenance instead of fighting through the dire consequences of sudden system outages. By implementing the best IT practices, system admins can ensure uninterrupted availability of classroom devices while providing an open and available learning environment to the teachers and their pupils.
Five proven ways to ensure maximum uptime of classroom devices
Routine monitoring of Systems and facilities: Most of the devices that are used in educational institutes are accessed by various groups of users. Each type of users has its own specific requirements. Some require unrestricted access to the web, while the exchange of files is necessary for some, and so on. One of the most common issues arising from these scenarios is the download and execution of files that may initiate unwanted changes to the computing systems.
The problem with this is that changes made during one session are typically retained across subsequent sessions. In the long run, this results in slow down or frequent malfunctioning of devices. Continuous monitoring of systems configuration is very effective for minimizing such instances. Removing redundant files and undoing the changes to system settings, though extremely tedious, is imperative to maintain systems at the desired state. Besides, constant vigilance over the hardware is equally critical, since hardware failures lead to longer downtime and are potentially costlier.
Keeping Systems Updated: Another way to counter the effects of the unrestricted use of computers in the educational sector is by updating systems at regular intervals. Especially, in a learning environment like a school or a university, it is more of a necessity than an option. With students and teachers equally relying on IT systems to accomplish tasks of varying degrees, keeping each application and driver software up to date with the latest releases is crucial for an enhanced learning experience. Also, regularly updating the operating system and security software like antivirus is critical for maintaining optimal state and health of the devices. By implementing a well-planned system update schedule, IT admins can ensure that devices are always at their peak operational capacity.
Put backup protocols in place: The effectiveness of the preventive measures does not eliminate the need for backup, which is a fundamental measure to deal with the consequences of an abrupt failure. A sound backup mechanism is that which saves more than one copies of the files — one locally and another in the cloud. However, even in case of budget constraints, one backup system, whether cloud or in-house, is imperative to avoid data loss due to sudden IT outages.
Security measures: Considering the rising need for IT security across various sectors, this point comes as no surprise. Especially, considering the fact that educational institutes have become one of the primary targets of malicious cyber attacks, enterprise-grade security has become imperative. In addition to deploying robust security solutions, formulating system access and internet usage guidelines also helps in restricting users to avoid unintended usage of the devices.
Restorative remediation measures:
With all of the above steps being taken, deploying a comprehensive system restore technology minimizes the chances of downtime to virtually zero. Due to its robust preventive and restorative functionality, reboot and restore technology has become a favourite in the education sector. This technology, as the name suggests, requires a device to be restarted in order to return it to its pristine configuration defined by the IT admin.
The technology works by locking-in the pristine configuration of the device as the baseline. Upon system reboot, it restores the same baseline configuration while discarding the unwanted changes inflicted during the user session. This essentially means that IT admins can provide unrestricted system access to the end-users but without having to deal with the negative consequences of it. In case of system malfunction, teachers or students only need to restart their devices to revert it back to its optimally performing condition.
These measures not only aid in maximizing uptime for classroom computers but also help the system admins at educational institutes to optimize IT maintenance expenditure.
Jose Richardson, Marketing, Restore on Reboot Technology
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