When the world sneezes, IT administrators catch a cold.

What happens when schools everywhere close and students go home to study with their Chromebooks? Normally, you can count on the devices coming back into the building on the next school day. Suddenly, though, you feel like an admin managing endpoints for a home schooling organization.

Ready or not: Unified endpoint management for schools

Welcome to the world of remote education and #StudyFromHome, where you’re never quite sure when your school’s Chromebooks, tablets and laptops will be back inside your building on a network you trust. Meanwhile, how will you:

  • discover where they all are?
  • perform inventory on them?
  • distribute software updates?
  • automate vulnerability analysis?
  • deliver patches?

Staying on top of all your school’s devices means unifying your endpoint management. That’s why we’ve put together a technical brief called “Educators Love Chromebooks. Now IT Admins Will, Too.” It’s an overview of managing all the endpoints -- including how to manage a Chromebook environment -- in your educational institution with the KACE® Systems Management Appliance (SMA).

In the U.S., Chromebooks have grown increasingly popular in K-12 classrooms. The education market has played a big role in the growth of the Chromebook segment, where entrenched competition from tablets like Apple’s iPad and low-end PCs has shifted.

Chromebooks brought the combination of a low price tag, a functional software suite and a full-sized keyboard into the classroom, helping countless schools realize the dream of one device per child. Since 2013, Chromebooks haven’t looked back; even with ongoing educational innovation from Apple and Microsoft, the devices made up 60 percent of laptops and tablets sold in 2018.

But Chromebooks don’t manage themselves

So there you are, IT administrator of a school or district with hundreds or thousands of mobile computing devices like Chromebooks. It was business as usual until the students had to go remote and mobile with their devices. Now how are you going to manage them all?

Teachers can use the Google Admin console for tasks like assigning devices to users, controlling access and installing apps. But with so many Chromebooks so far from school, you’re looking for ways to enable remote troubleshooting, ensure security, track devices through their lifecycle and allow self-service options. That goes much deeper than the console.

Plus, Chromebooks aren’t the only devices out there. Even if the Admin console offers a few of the management functions you want, it won’t help you manage the tablets and laptops your students are using remotely.

Single pane of glass for managing Chromebooks in education

The KACE SMA, a virtual appliance, uses Google APIs to extract Chromebook data and incorporate it to the inventory of all connected devices. The SMA pulls that data into its processes and workflows, including asset management, reporting, service desk and the KACE Go mobile application.

Once in the KACE SMA, data about your Chromebooks appears in the same discovery, inventory, asset management and reporting structure as everything else. You can track and manage Chromebooks alongside your desktops, laptops, tablets, peripherals, networking gear and other devices, regardless of operating system.

Besides seeing through that single pane of glass, you can reach through it to set standard configurations, distribute software and deploy patches to your Chromebooks. To help you automate your endpoint management, KACE SMA lets you set labels in case you decide to apply different policies to the devices that will be staying home with the students.

Next step

In areas like education, travel, health care and manufacturing, nearly all organizations are continually trying to figure out how to conduct business as usual with a newly mobile and remote workforce.

School closures are just one example of disruption. IT administrators caught off guard by a spike in their workload can turn to KACE SMA to manage Chromebooks along with all of their school’s endpoints. Download the tech brief and try KACE SMA for 30 days at no cost or obligation.

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