Baltimore City Public School System Delivers Secure Technology to the Classroom

The Baltimore City Public School System’s (BCPSS) mission is to ensure that all students are armed with the education and skills necessary to succeed in college and within the 21st century workforce. To achieve this, it is critical that students, faculty and staff have access to the technology tools and resources that promote higher achievement and effective communication methods.

In 2004, the district received the necessary funding to supply all teachers in the district with laptops. This funding was the first step in the district’s goal of seamlessly integrating technology into all BCPSS schools. The next steps would be towards the implementation of a 1:1 program, offering a device to every student in the system.

Challenges

BCPSS understood the value of introducing technology in the classroom—it plays an important role in meeting the needs of the broad range of abilities, disabilities, cultural backgrounds, and ethnic populations. However, with especially high crime rates in the city of Baltimore, the IT team was set the difficult challenge of ensuring that all school devices were secured and accounted for.

How would IT support 200 schools, 8,000 teachers, and 85,000 students? With so many laptops distributed, the risk of theft was inevitable. How could BCPSS prevent theft and protect their teachers and students as they carried their devices through a city that struggled with crime?

It was clear that the department would need a solid security strategy to reduce the risk of theft and protect their school environment.

Solution

Mike Pitroff, Chief Technology Officer for BCPSS, knew that the district wouldn’t be able to manage the burden of tracking and securing thousands of laptops without assistance.

“Absolute gave our IT department peace of mind,” explained Pitroff. “It would be impossible for us to manage thousands of laptops without a complete software solution. At time of deployment, we worried about the high cost associated with device theft and the risk of sensitive data and information on teachers’ laptops getting into the wrong hands. It was easy to implement Absolute and we’ve since built the software into our district’s core IT infrastructure.”

“Absolute is an integral part of the BCPSS Information Technology Plan and it is installed on every single mobile device in the district. We’re focused on bringing technology into every classroom for every student and we simply couldn’t afford to do that without Absolute.”

Mike Pitroff, Chief Technology Officer, BCPSS

Persistence technology from Absolute enables a constant connection to all devices deployed by an organization. Devices are tracked via any internet connection, regularly collecting asset information from each device regardless of its physical location. This allows administrators to track where computers are located, who is using them, and what’s installed on them. If suspicious behavior is suspected and security measures are required, customers can use a clod-based console to perform security commands such as device freeze, delete data, or in the event of theft, contact the Absolute Investigations team who will engage with local law enforcement to recover the device.

Results

1
SAFER SCHOOL ENVIRONMENT
Reduced risk of theft because thieves recognise that school devices are protected
2
SENSITIVE SCHOOL DATA IS PROTECTED
Absolute’s solutions allow the school district to take action to ensure data is protected
3
DEVICE RECOVERY
The Absolute Investigations team works with law enforcement to recover missing devices