Kent School District uses Absolute to Inventory Computers and Crack Down on Notebook Thieves

Located in Kent, Washington, Kent School District (Kent SD) fulfills the K-12 education requirements of more than 27,000 students in the communities of Kent, Covington, and Fairwood. Known for its leading approach to information technology in the classroom, the district began introducing notebook computers into its programs as early as 1998.

Kent School District has long understood the learning benefits that mobile computer labs can deliver. Currently, the district operates on a 4:1 student to computer ratio, and under its 1:1 program, plans to change the learning process by providing every student with a computer. To keep its device population current, the district works with its device manufacturers to refresh its notebooks every four years and desktops every five years.

Challenges

With the growth of its student body and device population, the Kent SD’s IT team was challenged to prevent theft, accurately inventory computers and equitably distribute mobile computers across the district’s 40 buildings. Having toured a number of other school districts in search of best practices, the district conducted a pilot program to test the solution on 90 tablet PCs. Initially, Kent SD selected the system for its theft recovery capabilities but has now implemented Absolute across its entire 12,000+ notebook and desktop population.

Solution

“As a publicly-funded district, we are required to physically touch each computer once annually as part of state regulatory compliance procedure,” says Nguyen. “It is so important that we can demonstrate accountability for the funds we receive from the community. We also need to plan for and refresh 2,500 – 3,000 computers each summer. This process was incredibly tedious. Before Absolute, we would assign 10 people to sleuth out the location of all of our computers over a three month period.” Over the course of its annual notebook computer audit, Kent SD’s IT staff struggled to locate computers locked in filing cabinets, taken home by students and a host of other backwaters mobile computers can fall into.

“We literally had 10 people with barcode scanners attempting to find 12,000 computers. It was a great effort. With Absolute, we always know where our computers are. What was once a three-month process is now as simple as running a five-minute report that is more than 99% accurate. That, is accountability.”

Thuan Nguyen, Executive Director of Information Technology, Kent School District

Working with its manufacturer to purchase computers with Absolute built in at the factory, Kent SD now manages its entire computer population made up of both desktop and notebook computers using the system. By logging in to the Absolute Customer Center, Nguyen and his team have access to at-a-glance information on every computer they are responsible for including: its location and user, hardware and software installed, current virus protection status – even whether students have installed prohibited software or tampered with hardware. And, if a computer is stolen, the Absolute Investigations team works with local police to recover it and assist in the prosecution of thieves.

Results

1
INVENTORY MANAGEMENT
Automated reports run effective and accurate inventory checks for compliance
2
THEFT PREVENTION
Absolute Investigations team successfully retrieved stolen devices