IT | Security

How Fresno Unified School District Secures 100,000 Remote Learning Devices with Absolute Resilience

By: Warren Young | 2/3/2021 | 3 min read

Fresno Unified School District, the third largest school district in California, originally turned to Absolute more than a decade ago to track and trace what was then a fleet of 20,000 Windows mobile devices. With Absolute uniquely embedded within the bios of all their laptops, IT had visibility as to where those devices were at any time, and the ability to remotely lock them if they fell into the wrong hands.

Fast forward to present day, and the central California district is now managing and securing more than 100,000 devices with the Absolute Resilience™ platform.

Even before March 2020, Fresno Unified’s sense of urgency to account for all devices was growing significantly. The district had rolled out a 1:1 computing program that included more than 75,000 devices - 10,000 of which were for teachers and administrators. When the pandemic hit, the district - like so many others across the nation - needed to swiftly add another 25,000 devices to ensure every student was equally equipped with a laptop and could securely participate in the district’s remote learning program.

Read: How Duarte Unified School District Manages Remote Learning with Absolute

“We started using Absolute reporting as a sanity check against our physical inventorying,” said Kurt Madden, CTO of Fresno Unified. “Some schools would say they had run out of devices, but we knew from the Absolute report that they had hundreds of laptops. We would go room to room at the school site and find them – saving us from buying hundreds of devices we didn’t actually need to purchase. Today, the Absolute report is our inventory.”

Ensuring device and student safety

Without physical access to devices, the Fresno Unified IT team relies on the self-healing capabilities of Absolute's patented Persistence® technology to ensure their mission-critical applications like VPNs continue to work as intended. And with no physical access to the remote devices, the team has been able to mitigate vulnerabilities in a timely manner and automate fixes using Absolute Reach® - which provides a library of more than 130 automated, custom workflows that allow IT to easily run queries and then take widespread remedial action, even when devices are off the school network.

Ensuring the safety and well-being of their 74,000 student body is one of the district’s highest priorities. With the undeletable digital tether Absolute enables to every device, school officials are also able to help parents to quickly locate runaway kids who took their school-issued laptop with them - ensuring they are protected from any potential harm. 

From device tracking to locating students to persisting key applications in the era of remote learning, Fresno Unified has seen significant ROI with Absolute.

“Absolute continues to innovate and provide the services we need. It’s a long-term partnership, and we look forward to many more years as an Absolute customer,” Madden said.

Download the complete Fresno Unified case study.

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