PA Cyber Relies on Absolute Secure Endpoint to Support Remote Learning Strategy
PA Cyber Leverages Absolute Endpoint Controls to Manage, Secure, and Recover Devices
The Pennsylvania Cyber Charter School (PA Cyber) in Midland, PA, is one of the largest, most experienced, and most successful online K-12 public schools in the nation. More than 20 years ago, students in western Pennsylvania lost their area high school, and the nearest option for displaced students was across state lines in Ohio; this prompted administrators to step in and launch a fully online school. Today, PA Cyber offers online learning environments, personalized instructional methods, and choices of curricula with state-certified and highly qualified teachers.
Manage and Secure a 15,000 Remote Device Fleet
PA Cyber is a pioneer in remote learning. And because they have been so far out front in the field, “we were able to find the potholes before people even knew there were potholes,” said Dean Phillips, Director of Technology at PA Cyber. “By the time the COVID-19 pandemic hit, we had already evolved into a bulletproof system.”
With approximately 15,000 devices spread across Pennsylvania, Phillips and his team needed a way to manage and secure the devices remotely. And because budgets are always tight, they also needed a way to recover devices in a timely manner and ensure students returned the school-owned equipment.
How They Did It
Increase Device Visibility and Monitor Mission-Critical Applications
PA Cyber first turned to Absolute Secure Endpoint to gain unprecedented visibility into device location and the ability to remotely freeze and wipe them if they weren’t returned. By leveraging Absolute Application Resilience™ capabilities, Phillips and his team can now also ensure that their IT management solution, Kaseya®, which they use to remotely push out security patches, new applications, and scripts, is always working as intended. Absolute Application Resilience monitors mission-critical applications’ health and behavior; detects if missing, corrupted, or not running; and automatically repairs or re-installs components when necessary – without requiring human intervention. These capabilities are available for those applications that are covered in the Absolute Application Resilience catalog, which constantly grows.
Track and Locate Devices, No Matter Where They Are
After years of experimenting with how best to manage and secure their devices, PA Cyber now has a fully automated remote help desk for their students, faculty, and staff. Absolute Application Resilience ensures this critical application is always working.
For PA Cyber, reclaiming devices is critical to ensuring the right resources are available for incoming students. With Absolute Secure Endpoint, the IT team can remotely locate the laptops and freeze them when necessary, which has since increased their device reclamation rate significantly.
Improve IT Efficiencies While Reducing Help Desk Calls
Prior to implementing Kaseya, students would have to call the school’s IT help desk for support. Or, IT would have to call student families and apply security patches or add applications one by one. The required hours and tech time were astronomical.
Supporting a Remote Learning Strategy
Today, as schools across the country are scrambling to stand up, monitor, manage, and measure distance learning programs in the “new normal,” PA Cyber is getting calls on how to do it right—everything from ‘can you give us a hint on how to do this’ to ‘take us through remote learning do’s and don’ts.’
“We are giving our peers an idea of what works and what doesn’t in online learning—technology is certainly a huge part of that,” Phillips said. “Education over the Internet isn’t easy for brick and mortar schools. It’s taken our organization some time to get to the point where it’s an everyday occurrence for us.”
“Thankfully, with the right technology resources in place, including Absolute, we can ensure an exceptional, seamless remote learning experience,” Phillips said.
For PA Cyber, Absolute Secure Endpoint:
- Allows the IT team to remotely locate laptops and freeze them when necessary, increasing their device reclamation rate significantly
- Establishes a fully automated remote help desk for its students, faculty, and staff by leveraging Absolute Application Resilience to ensure that their helpdesk app Kaseya is always working as intended
- Improves visibility across its device fleet
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