D-Link lets you keep an eye on the school grounds with its DCS-6517/7517 Web cams. The 5-megapixel video camera is water-proof, can deliver 2,560 by 1,920 resolution and uses wide dynamic range video enhancement to be able to identify things like faces and license plates. Available as dome (model 6517 for $700) or bullet (7517 for $850) versions, the cams have infrared illumination for nighttime use and can be powered over their Ethernet data link.
With hackers, identity thieves and assorted nuts out there, you need to assume that all the servers at your various schools and district headquarters have the digital equivalent of a bull’s eye on them. Sentinel IPS can help with advice on why schools are such a target these days as well as steps you can take to secure everything. They’ve even created a nice infographic that shows the risks.
SchoolMessenger's recently launched Passport software allows students, teachers, administrative staff and parents to sign-on once to get to all of their school’s IT resources. The Web-based password service can not only save lots of time, but individual access rights can be set up as well as instant links to online educational resources, like Curriki and HippoCampus. Best of all, the basic version is free.
Can’t afford to get a security surveillance system for watching the school when you can’t? Night Owl’s F9-3212-4DM-2TB model comes with 16 cameras, 2TB of storage space and all the software you’ll need to set up an effective security net throughout a small school. Both the wall and ceiling mounted cams have 0.25-inch video sensors that create 1,280 by 960 resolution streams that have an effective 100-foot range in darkness. It comes with control box that has a built-in 2 terabyte drive for storing videos and it can be motion triggered. At any time, you can look in on any of the cameras or view clips from a smartphone or connected tablet. The best part is its $1.500 price tag, although you’ll have to install it.
We all know about AVG and Avast free anti-virus software, but there’s a new kid on the freebee block: Bitdefender. There are full versions available for PCs, Macs, Android tablets as well as an online app that lets you scan just about any computer for infestations. My favorite is the free Windows-only 60-second scanner that should be set to run on every school computer every night when it’s idle. It’s a quick download and can be scheduled to run at a set time very day or night.
Even the most airtight network is susceptible to intrusion if the teachers, students and admin staff don’t practice good password safety. Every year SplashData compiles a list of the most popular (and infamous) passwords, and – no surprise – the leader for 2014 is good old 1-2-3-4-5-6, which led last year as well. The second through fifth places for the least secure passwords go to:
In other words, just about every password needs to be replaced with something less guessable and force users to change them every couple of months with no repeats allowed.
Raptor Technologies takes visitor management into the 21-st century. The company can provide background information on potential visitors and its software can control who gets in, including visiting teachers and volunteers, and who doesn’t. In additiuon to delivering printed ID name tags, the software creates lists of who is in the building. The best part is that the whole system is online so there’s no software to load and upgrade.
If the latest tablets, Ultrabooks and Chromebooks look too thin to be able to tie down with a locked cable, Kensington’s new MiniSaver Mobile lock can do the trick. Designed for small and thin devices, the MiniSaver’s connector is no bigger than an audio jack yet can lock the item down so it doesn’t disappear. Just insert the cleat and lock it in place. The $60 cable is cut resistant, can be rotated and has a loop for securing it to something solid.