IT support for schools now child’s play
Camden Council has switched to an IT Automation platform from Kaseya to improve the level of IT support it offers to local schools.
The Council, which covers parts of central and north-west London, manages and maintains a range of buildings, services and facilities, including educational institutions such as primary and secondary schools, as well as colleges and learning centres.
In total, the Council oversees IT support for 54 schools, covering over 2,200 desktops and servers. Support was provided by a full-time staff of 18.
Lee Carn, technical team leader at Camden Council, said that although the schools were relatively close to each other, getting to and from them could be a long process. “While the schools across the Borough are not geographically dispersed, the inner city location meant travel to reach schools could take engineers as much as an hour each way for every visit. Our schools were suffering as we couldn’t attend to their problems as quickly as they needed us to, and engineer productivity was low due to wasted time travelling to sites.”
Carn also suggested that security was a big cause for concern, with the network often being taken down to enable support staff to fix issues: “It’s imperative that we keep the IT networks up and running to ensure productivity in the classroom. We had been affected by security breaches and viruses in the past and this resulted in networks being taken off line for as much as a week as engineers travelled between schools fire-fighting the problem.”
A reactive approach to problem solving is usually inefficient and not cost effective, so Camden Council decided to implement a system that would enable support staff to identify and solve problems before they impacted on the network.
After looking at a number of different platforms, Camden Council settled on Kaseya’s IT Automation platform.
The Council now uses a single, integrated web-based interface, which enables staff to remotely manage the entire infrastructure, network components, servers and desktop PCs. IT support staff now get real-time notification of any potential threat to the network.
The Council can also produce detailed reports into network performance. Carn said: “We regularly have to go to the schools and show what we’ve done for them to prove the value of our offering. We can now provide far more in-depth reports to demonstrate the issue we’ve resolved, the upgrade path we’ve provided and service levels achieved. It makes our service provision more transparent and easier to justify.”
The Kaseya platform has improved efficiency at the Council, says Carn. “Our IT support operation has become much more streamlined, as we can carry out maintenance and monitor every network from the comfort of our desks, as if we were there in person. We used to spend half our time waiting for buses to travel to the schools, but what used to need a half day visit can now be carried out in a matter of minutes. We have also made cost savings by reducing our transport budget and delivering consistently high levels of service without having to employ more engineers.”
“In just one morning we can carry out the same amount of work that would previously have taken us 10 days. This allows us to manage workloads much more effectively and solve mission critical problems in an impressive timeframe.”
The Council initially set out to find an offering that would improve the ability to patch computers but implemented a system that gives staff much more control over the network.
“Patch management was an initial priority, but Kaseya is also giving us a multitude of features to help us work efficiently and effectively, such as remote control and the ability to schedule key tasks and procedures. Deployment took a matter of days rather than weeks or months, so we were able to realise benefits almost immediately,” Carn said.