Goodwill Goes a Long Way to Enrich Student Learning
Goodwill Industries of Central Indiana is a non-profit, social enterprise that offers opportunities, provides services, and leverages its resources to improve the education, skills, employability, and economic self-sufficiency of adults and the future employability of young people. Its services include supporting tuition-free charter high schools focused on continued education and employability.
Goodwill Industries of Central Indiana supports a school district comprised of approximately 3,300 students spread across 11 charter schools within Greater Indianapolis and surrounding counties. These charter schools serve at-risk demographics, where most students do not have access to digital education tools. Goodwill Industries partners with the school district to provide disadvantaged students access to laptops to enhance their educational experience.
Application Analyst Stanley Dixon discovered inefficiencies in the administration’s IT processes. There were no IT management procedures or technologies in place to ensure enrolled devices were accounted for, or that the content accessed through the devices was safe for student consumption. Without a tool to remotely manage student behavior, the non-profit organization had concerns that students could easily circumvent the schools’ networks to access unauthorized content on these devices.
Schools also experienced high rates of device theft and loss. Goodwill did not have technology in place to track the location of these devices off the local network. As a result, laptops were leaving the school grounds undetected. This was an expensive model to support given the number of laptops that needed to be replaced.
The Absolute platform is a cost-effective solution that protects Goodwill’s hardware investment. Goodwill leverages Absolute to restrict student laptops to school grounds. “The first feature we began using was the geofencing feature,” said Mr. Dixon. “For each of the 11 schools that we serve, we have created separate geographical parameters so that when a device leaves school grounds, an alert is automatically triggered in the system. In these cases, we can remotely freeze those devices with Absolute.”
Since implementing a formal device security protocol with Absolute, Mr. Dixon has seen drastic improvements. “Often times, humans are the point of failure in the system. We were experiencing a lot of device loss and the Absolute platform has been by far the greatest tool in addressing this challenge.”
Mr. Dixon relies on Absolute-generated alerts to also monitor student behavior. “Students are very smart. They are going to find ways around filters so they can access blacklisted content and sites. Absolute alerts us when a student machine jumps off the approved network or is using a personal hot-spot. This signals an attempt to circumvent school-issued network controls so we can take corrective measures.”
The Absolute platform is an invaluable tool for tracking the history of Goodwill’s inventory. “We are proponents of transparency, security and good stewardship. Absolute’s inventory history is excellent. It is so transparent that even the actions of our IT team are logged so that our security office has comprehensive visibility.”
Going forward, Goodwill plans to expand their Absolute deployment to other departments. “We’ve been able to incorporate some excellent controls to mitigate student loss but there is also a need to secure internally enrolled devices across other Goodwill divisions. We intend to expand Absolute to our retail and nursing divisions so that we can have a true data and device security process in place across multiple business units.”