All around South Africa, government and the private sector are rolling out e-learning and paperless learning initiatives, which sees IT hardware and solutions being introduced in classrooms. This is done in order to enlarge the footprint of quality education within disadvantaged communities, and provide support for struggling learners.
However, criminal elements are looking to derail the enhancement to education “locomotive”, with thefts of devices already being reported. Are there any solutions available to school IT to help prevent or deter thefts of devices?

According to Susanna Ackermann, education solutions manager at Intel South Africa, mobile devices do come with pre-installed anti-theft solutions like Find My iPhone or at the very least allow users to download this software from their respective app marketplaces such as Android Device Manager for instance.

Ackermann asserts that school IT and eLearning initiative administrators have to make adequate security, anti-theft, and device recovery solutions part of the requirements, when they consider which devices to implement in their programmes.

Intel provides security for notebooks being used in the educational sphere called Intel Education Theft Deterrent. This is a hardware assisted security solution that enables school IT to proactively protect lost or stolen Intel Education Solution devices. Once a device is reported as missing or stolen, school IT can remotely lock the device to render it unusable.

Devices are locked as soon as they receive the lock command from the Theft Deterrent server over the network. If the network is not available, the device will lock itself after a predetermined period of time. This time period would have been setup by school IT through the Theft Deterrent management portal. Thanks to the solution providing hardware assisted security, locked devices would remain unusable even if criminals formatted them and installed new operating systems.

Later, if the device is successfully recovered, it can be reactivated by school IT by way of an unlock code, which is administered through a web-based management portal dashboard.

“The value in such a solution lies in the protection of the school and government’s technology investment. For IT managers and administrators, additional value is obtained from the fact that this solutions is very easy to install as well as to manage,” says Ackermann.

“Learners and educators can rest secure in the knowledge that they have access to a more secure experience, with criminals being drawn to a lesser extent to institutions with these measures in place, since there is no pay-offs in stealing the devices.”