How to Battle “Device Drift” of School-issued Computers

According to a Hanover Research report, 30 devices went missing on average at each school between January and September 2020 as students and teachers took devices home for distance learning in response to COVID-19. What’s more is that thirty-six percent of school-issued devices were dark from August to October 2020, meaning they hadn’t connected online, anywhere, during that time.

We call this “device drift”: when schools lose track of computers and tablets that they have issued for remote learning. And if you’re dealing with device drift, you’re not alone—41% percent of schools reported feeling challenged tracking devices in the Hanover Research report, “Distance Learning’s Impact on Education IT.”

Without knowing where your devices are, how can you be confident you’ll be able to reclaim them at the end of the school year?

And what kind of shape will they be in if they are returned?

Whether you’ve lost 30 devices, five, or none (yet), we have a cost-effective solution—and it’s a solution that does so much more than tell you where your devices are. It also supports educational continuity, regardless of the instructional model (in-person, hybrid, or fully virtual).


IT staff can’t secure what they can’t manage, and they can’t manage what they can’t see

Education continuity means creating a seamless learning experience regardless of where students are learning. Persistent visibility—which means always-on insight into where devices are and what they are doing—is key to managing and securing your devices for long life and ensuring students and teachers have the tools they need to learn, no matter where they are.

The question is, how do you create that visibility into devices that are off-premises, that you can’t touch and manually update or secure? How can you discover where a device is, take action on missing devices, and improve your recovery rate?

The answer: With Absolute Persistence® embedded into the firmware of Lenovo devices. Absolute gives you unparalleled line-of-sight to your devices and data. Secure your data, devices, and applications with an unbreakable connection to every endpoint—on or off your network.

Beyond giving you visibility into devices, Absolute can even protect other essential applications by helping them self-heal.

That’s why Absolute is an integral part of ThinkShield, Lenovo’s comprehensive end-to-end security platform. Lenovo and Absolute’s partnership supports schools engaged in digital transformation.

It begins on the factory floor, when we embed Absolute in our devices’ firmware to create an unbreakable link that gives IT and security professionals device control through endpoint visibility and geolocation, geofencing, and device freeze, even off school networks. By seeing every endpoint and the apps and data on it—such as which software tools have the greatest adoption and which are being used as expected—you know which blind spots to fix, know what needs to be done to meet and report on data and privacy compliance, and have the data to make better decisions.

Absolute lets you reduce the load on your IT and security teams with pre-built commands for enforcing Windows updates, managing device configurations, and resolving issues—from helpdesk tickets to security events. Once activated, Absolute is always on, so when a device connects to any network, anywhere, it will automatically check for new scripts and send a device status.

Increase your odds of reclaiming your dark device

When it’s time to reclaim a device, the digital tether tells you where that device is, and if it hasn’t logged on there are log reports to reference last known locations. You can use Absolute to freeze and send a message to student devices with a friendly nudge to remind them to return the device. Or, if they aren’t responsive, you can lock the device remotely so it isn’t of use to the student (or anyone, for that matter).

Worst-case scenario, if a device is stolen, Absolute enables you to delete data remotely to limit your liability and provides local law enforcement with information to help you reclaim the device.

A secure digital ecosystem starts with persistence and resilience

Education is designed to give students the skills they need to embrace future opportunities with knowledge and confidence. Your schools need that same certainty—which starts with a digital learning ecosystem that is as resilient as the teachers and students it serves, and flexible enough to manage and secure on-premises or remote devices.

To create this ecosystem, you need to ensure your approach to endpoint management and security is built on Endpoint Resilience technology—an emerging and critical KPI for any school security strategy. All Lenovo devices work with Absolute to support schools’ need for flexibility and seamless protection of hardware investments.

To learn best practices for maintaining complete visibility into your remote devices and see how your peers are using Absolute software to ensure educational continuity, check out our Device Management and Security playbook, part of Lenovo’s educational continuity resources.

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