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5 Major IT Admin Challenges and How BenQ Boards Solve Them
  • BenQ

School IT administrators have a lot on their plate. On a regular day, they have to work on projects, process numerous case tickets, attend meetings—on top of other responsibilities, such as routine system maintenance and staff training. It can get overwhelming, especially if they’re also tasked with the acquisition and maintenance of new devices.

Understanding the complexities of IT management, we make sure to ease some of that administrative burden when designing our hardware and software. Here are five ways BenQ education solutions help out IT admins:

Device onboarding

“How can I expedite the onboarding process?”

Acquiring a batch of new devices is always a great undertaking for school IT staff. After all,  it’s up to IT to set up each device to fit their existing system architecture. This is an incredibly laborious process, even more so when staff have to deal with dozens, or even hundreds of devices each time.

We alleviate some of this stress by giving administrators more convenient onboarding options for their BenQ interactive displays. IT staff can use the Device Management Solution (DMS) app to scan the barcodes found on the side of the display or box to enroll and name their devices even before they’re powered on and set up for the first time.

Alternatively, admins can also use the list of serial numbers we provide  during the delivery of their BenQ devices. They can easily import this data to DMS for quick batch enrollment.

In terms of configuring specific device and network settings, admins can set up a board one time and then clone those settings onto a USB drive. They can then use this drive to clone their settings to all their other boards, saving them a significant amount of time and effort. To complete the onboarding process, they can configure an NFC card so that they can conveniently bind them to the BenQ Account Management System (AMS).

User management

“How do I prevent people from misusing the boards?”

Regulating user access is crucial when dealing with shared assets such as interactive displays. Since most of these devices are permanently fixed inside classrooms, they are accessible to any student or guest when no one is around to supervise. This can lead to the inappropriate use of these devices and expose the school’s networks to potential security threats.

On paper, EDLA smart boards should be able to help regulate device access by requiring users to sign in using a Google account. But there is one glaring loophole to this: It’s very easy for just about anyone to create and use a new Google account. On top of this, any Google user will also have the ability to alter their board’s settings and kick out other accounts from the board’s current user list. In this sense, there is no real user access control.

Unlike other EDLA boards, the BenQ Board has the Identity and Access Management (IAM) service and AMS to help admins control user access. Both solutions are designed to work seamlessly with any of the school’s directory services.

With IAM, admins can easily limit who has access to their boards by registering their school’s domain or by syncing their existing user list, regardless if it’s managed on Google Workspace, Microsoft Entra ID, ClassLink, or other SAML-based identity providers. This way, even if a random user were to create a new Google account, they would not be able to use it to access the board since their account would not belong to either the school’s domain or user lists.

On top of this, IAM automatically syncs with the identity provider. In case staff members leave the organization, their accounts can be easily removed from the user list, immediately revoking their board access.

Admins can go one step further to protect their boards by assigning the Restricted user role to specific accounts to prevent even teachers from altering any critical device settings.

AMS, on the other hand, ensures that each user’s cloud accounts, local folders, and browsing information stay separate every time they log into the BenQ Board. This ensures that other users will not be able to tamper with their data or personal settings.

App management

“How can I regulate which apps are used?”

With the Google Play Store preloaded on EDLA smart boards, IT administrators may be  concerned with how users may abuse the service by downloading unauthorized apps on their school’s boards. Although the Play Store offers teachers the freedom to download all the apps they need for class, the setup makes reviewing and managing apps a more tedious process for IT staff. Administrators who use Google Admin Console may be able to block the installation of specific apps, but teachers can easily bypass this restriction by logging into the EDLA smart board using their personal Google account.

BenQ solves this issue by giving admins the option to either block certain apps or completely disable Play Store access. And in case teachers need to install particular apps for their lessons , they can send a request to IT staff beforehand. IT can then review the apps for security, data privacy compliance, and compatibility and then easily and remotely install them onto specific BenQ Boards through DMS.

Update management

“How can I keep my boards secure against exploits?”

Device and software vulnerabilities are serious security concerns for many organizations, particularly for schools.1 Unpatched firmware or app vulnerabilities are one of the ways bad guys can exploit a school’s network and launch a variety of cyberattacks, including data theft and ransomware threats.2 On average, from 2018 to 2023, schools had to pay almost USD 173,504 per attack and would lose 12 days due to downtime and additional 42 for recovery.3

In 2022, about 36% of attacks on K-12 schools in the US were ransomware-related,4 with attackers reportedly demanding ransoms ranging from USD 250,000 to 950,000. In addition to the payouts, these incidents also cost schools roughly USD 9.45 billion in downtime.5 Because of these incidents, a lot of IT admins place update and patch management very high on their data security checklist.

Schools that use the BenQ Board are guaranteed regular firmware and software updates that are designed to keep their boards and apps secure and working at optimal performance. Admins get instantly notified of new updates every time they log into DMS. Installing updates  is also a breeze since they can either immediately push the new firmware to all related boards or schedule updates at a more convenient time.

Training and troubleshooting

“Will we get technical training and support?”

After every equipment acquisition, there’s an adjustment period when teachers figure out how to use their new gadgets in class. This ultimately dictates whether or not the school’s tech investments are justified. Poor training often leads to teachers reverting to older tools that they’re more familiar with,6 thus turning their newly purchased devices into costly white elephants.

With the absence of learning technologists, the responsibility to train teaching staff falls on the lap of IT personnel. This adds to their duty of troubleshooting these devices in case teachers encounter technical issues along the way. Many solution providers fumble in this regard, luring schools with their products’ bells and whistles, but ending their service commitment once their boards are dropped off on campus.

BenQ goes above and beyond when it comes to user training. Schools can avail of BenQ’s face-to-face workshops or online training modules so that teachers can fully maximize their use of their boards’ advanced features. Admins can even get specialized training on the different BenQ device, account, and broadcast management features. And in the rare case of the school running into a specific technical issue, they can easily reach BenQ to assist them with their queries.

 

Ready to experience how BenQ Education solutions can greatly improve IT management? Get in touch with your local BenQ sales representative to test out the BenQ Boards yourself.

 

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References

  1. Huq, N., “Follow the Data: Analyzing Breaches by Industry (Trend Micro Analysis of Privacy Rights Clearinghouse 2005–2015 Data Breach Records)”, Trend Micro, https://documents.trendmicro.com/assets/wp/wp-analyzing-breaches-by-industry.pdf, published 22 September 2015, last accessed 17 April 2023.

  2. “Vulnerability”, Trend Micro, https://www.trendmicro.com/vinfo/us/security/definition/Vulnerability 11 October 2019, last accessed 27 November 2023.

  3. Bischoff, P., “Ransomware attacks on US schools and colleges cost $9.45bn in 2022”, CompariTech, https://www.comparitech.com/blog/information-security/school-ransomware-attacks/, 4 July 2023, last accessed 27 November 2023.

  4. Klein, A., “School Cyberattacks, Explained”, EducationWeek, https://www.edweek.org/technology/school-cyberattacks-explained/2022/02, 11 February 2022, last accessed 27 November 2023.

  5. Bischoff, P., “Ransomware attacks on US schools and colleges cost $9.45bn in 2022”.

  6. Herold, B., “Why Ed Tech Is Not Transforming How Teachers Teach”, Education Week, https://www.edweek.org/technology/why-ed-tech-is-not-transforming-how-teachers-teach/2015/06, 10 June 2015, last accessed 27 November 2023.