Welcome back to our three-part series on improving your school’s network infrastructure over the summer months. In Parts I–III, we discussed planning and discovery, inventory, purchasing and procurement, upgrades and other updates that are best done during the summer when school is out of session. In this article, we will wrap up the series by walking through the steps necessary to deploy new infrastructure and get it ready for the school year.
Three Steps to More Productivity, Security, and Efficiency with Your New Infrastructure
With shifts in learning priorities and a continuing emphasis on flexible remote or hybrid learning environments, schools are focusing on increasing their technology spend in 2021. Fortunately, doing so has become easier as the federal government has earmarked special funding for schools through the CARES Act. If your school is thinking about upgrading your school network infrastructure, now is the perfect time. (Well, in all honesty, a couple months ago would’ve been the perfect time, but better late than never!) Once you’ve created a strategy and conducted all the preliminary construction and remodeling that may be necessary, it’s finally time to deploy and configure your new system.
There are three steps to finalizing the installation of your new infrastructure. These include:
Step One: Finalizing Device Deployment
Your managed services provider (MSP) will first complete the deployment of any hardware devices, such as printers, scanners, video conferencing equipment, Wi-Fi, and even security equipment. They will ensure that all parts of your system are connected and working together properly through a system of checks and verifications.
Step Two: Providing Teacher and Staff Training
Once your infrastructure is in place and working correctly, your MSP will train employees so that teachers, administrators, and other users understand how to properly use the system and, just as importantly, how to ask for help. Knowing how to get support when an issue arises is critical — whether that issue pertain to a device or the network itself. We address those option in detail in Step Three.
Step Three: Troubleshooting and Supporting Classrooms
Before school begins, it is important to test the system to ensure it works properly under standard use. In this step, teachers are encouraged to use equipment and test all parts of the system. If any issues are discovered, your MSP team will troubleshoot to fine-tune your system for best results once school is in session.
Once classes begin, your MSP will provide ongoing troubleshooting and support for any problems that arise. There are several ways that assistance can be organized:
Option 1: Some clients elect to have a single point of contact at the school be the source of all support requests.
Pro: This option provides better communication, fewer falsely reported issues, and fewer duplicate tickets.
Con: Depending on the school’s size and number of devices, this can be burdensome for your at-school contact.
Option 2: Some clients choose to forgo the single point of contact and allow anybody to submit issues.
Pro: This choice doesn’t burden any one person or team and it allows users to manage their own communication with support, making it easier to coordinate actual support scheduling.
Con: This choice can result in duplicate reports, which may lead to issues falling through the cracks. Furthermore, it can be harder to identify larger-scale issues or patterns, such as network issues in a cluster or users connected to the same switch.
Option 3: Other clients allow individuals to report issues but also appoint an IT contact that can see open tickets and help find correlations.
Pro: This often offers the best of both worlds, by providing a local contact to help with communication between teachers and off-site IT while removing the potential for a bottleneck at any one point.
Bring on the Students.
Now that your new infrastructure is in place, your staff is trained, and you understand how to get the support you need moving forward, the final step is to open your doors to this fall’s incoming students. With a faster, more efficient network and peripherals, you and your staff will be able to better focus on your mission: providing an enriching learning experience for your student body.
Trust CDS to Help Bring Your New Infrastructure Online
If your school is looking for a third-party managed services provider with leading-edge knowledge in managing IT services for education clients, we would like to help. Our team of IT experts has a deep understanding of the unique challenges and needs facing our education clients. Using a combination of this expertise and state-of-the-art technologies, we can create and deploy a custom-tailored IT solution that perfectly matches your need, then support you and your staff for the life of the system.
Ready to get started? We make it easy to get in touch. Contact a CDS representative today to get help with all your IT needs. To contact our helpdesk for support, call directly at 855-215-7663, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit www.cds.support to go straight to our helpdesk support page.