Prey safeguards The Holy Ghost Preparatory School's Devices

The Holy Ghost Preparatory School is a private Catholic school located in Bensalem, Pennsylvania, United States, dedicated to offering quality education for college-bound young men since 1897. Learn how Prey helped them protect their student's devices.

April 30, 2024

The Holy Ghost Preparatory School is a private Catholic school located in Bensalem, Pennsylvania, United States, dedicated to offering quality education for college-bound young men since 1897. Right now, they have 475 students and 47 teachers.

On this occasion, we were able to talk to Michael Jacobs, Director of IT of the school, to learn more about how he protects the school’s IT assets and how Prey helped Holy Ghost Preparatory School to strengthen their digital defenses.

Context:  Securing the School's Investment in Devices

Almost nine years ago as part of its digital transformation project, the school decided to adopt a BYOD model where students would bring their laptops, while teachers were provided with devices owned by the school.

They considered complementary alternatives like warranties and insurance for the devices. However, their priority was to enhance their security measures beyond just a refund. They sought a tool that would not only aid in equipment recovery but also protect the school's and students' sensitive data.

“But knowing that that was a big financial commitment, we wanted to protect our investment a little bit if that makes sense. You look at things like buying insurance for the laptop or warranties… but then, that still didn't cover what Prey does, which is basically tracking it if it gets lost or stolen (...)”.

On the other hand, Michael and his assistant managed the device-lending program for students without automated tools. This approach created an additional workload for a small and busy IT team, increasing the chances of overlooking missing devices and consequently raising the costs and risks of providing devices to students.

For Michael and his assistant, this meant:

  • Loss of time
  • Lack of real-time monitoring of school-owned laptops
  • Concerns about data vulnerability in case of theft or loss of teachers’ laptops

These are the factors that prompted Michael to begin an online search for a software that could fulfill their requirements. That's when they discovered Prey.

Solution: Beyond Asset Tracking

Holy Ghost Preparatory School selected Prey for its device-tracking needs based on its competitive pricing, which offered an affordable solution to the school's budget constraints, and on its comprehensive features such as data wiping and user lockout capabilities, ensuring a robust data security measure for the laptops issued to teachers and students on campus.

“We purchased Prey, subscribed to their service, and installed it on all laptops owned by the school and issued to our teachers. This way, if a teacher's laptop is lost, stolen, or subjected to any other issue, we have Prey as a resource to assist in retrieving the device, wiping the drive, or locking the user out, among other features that Prey provides.”

After purchasing Prey, Michael discovered that it could also help him reduce the workload related to lending devices to students on campus.

"The Device Lending feature, where I can lend a device to someone and record whom I lent it to, wasn't initially why I purchased the software. However, upon discovering it, I realized its value. Previously, I might have maintained an offline Excel list to track which laptops were loaned out and to whom. Having this functionality integrated directly into Prey turned out to be unexpectedly convenient and streamlined our device management process significantly.”

According to Holy Ghost Preparatory School, Prey’s multifaceted approach to device management and security provided them with the confidence needed to protect their investment in educational technology.

  • Comprehensive Features: With functionalities such as device tracking, remote wiping, and locking out users, Prey offered a one-stop solution for managing and securing the school's devices.
  • Device Management: Prey helped streamline the processes, reducing the risks and cost of missing devices.
  • Missing Report Feature: This critical functionality has proven essential for locating lost or forgotten devices on campus, showcasing Prey's utility in maintaining the school's technological resources.

What makes Prey stand out from other options in the market

Holy Ghost Preparatory School appreciates several aspects of Prey, contributing to their overall satisfaction with the solution. The affordability and cost-saving potential of Prey compared to traditional insurance and warranties make it an attractive option. Its device lending and tracking features streamline the management of educational technology assets.

Moreover, the ease of installation and user-friendly training facilitate smooth integration into the school's IT ecosystem, and the Missing Report feature has been instrumental in recovering misplaced devices, demonstrating its practical value in real-world scenarios.

  1. Affordability: Prey's cost-effectiveness is a major advantage, providing significant savings over conventional insurance and warranty options.
  2. Ease of Installation and Training: The straightforward installation process and minimal training requirements ensure that the school can quickly deploy and utilize Prey without extensive IT expertise.
  3. Multi-OS compatibility: Prey's support for various operating systems has enabled the school to maintain a cohesive device management strategy across an array of devices.
  4. Continuous Software Improvement: The ongoing development and addition of new features by Prey have ensured that the school's device management capabilities remain robust and responsive to changing requirements.

Benefits Obtained

Holy Ghost Preparatory School has reaped substantial benefits from integrating Prey into its IT infrastructure, particularly in terms of device security and management. The tracking features have been indispensable for locating lost devices on campus. Additionally, the device lending functionality has streamlined the process of managing school-owned laptops, ensuring each is accounted for.

“The benefits are tracking the devices, and knowing who I lend them to. Peace of mind, I'll say, is beneficial for me. That kind of insurance that I have on the device…and basically all the other information that Prey pulls from the laptops as it tells you if the software's up to date and the reports that it gives you”.

The data wipe feature further bolsters security, allowing for the erasure of sensitive information on devices that may fall into the wrong hands, thus safeguarding both the school's and students' privacy.

Recovering Missing Devices Made Simple

Holy Ghost Preparatory School experienced a notable success story with Prey when it managed to recover a misplaced device previously thought to be lost. Utilizing Prey's Missing Report feature, which takes snapshots of the device's surroundings using their camera, the school discovered a missing laptop hidden in an obscure closet.

On a separate occasion, amidst an inventory check, the school pinpointed a laptop that had vanished. Setting the device to "missing" within Prey triggered a notification when it later connected to the internet, accompanied by a visual snapshot taken by the laptop's webcam. The image provided led the search team directly to a cafeteria, where the laptop had been repurposed as a monitor. These instances underscore Prey's critical role in the efficient recovery of school equipment.

"I'm doing inventory in the summer. I'm looking through the list, and I noticed I was missing a laptop. I know I used to have it! So I went into Prey to set the device as missing, and nothing came back right away. But after a couple of weeks, all of a sudden it sent me a message saying that this missing laptop is now connected to the Internet. (...) It took a picture from its webcam on the laptop and sent it to me. And that was how I was able to track it down. (..) They were using the laptop as a TV screen, like a monitor to play videos.”

It's crucial to note that Prey adapts its features for student devices by omitting screenshots and photographs from their missing reports, thereby upholding privacy standards and ensuring adherence to the FERPA Act. This consideration is vital for maintaining legal compliance while protecting student privacy.

Helping Students Protect their Devices

Holy Ghost Preparatory School has reaped significant benefits from using Prey for its device tracking and security needs. With Prey, they have successfully recovered lost or misplaced devices on campus, providing peace of mind and reducing the financial impact of potential losses. The software's data wipe feature has also contributed to their peace of mind.

Its user-friendly interface and flexible deployment options simplify installation and usage across a variety of devices and operating systems. Furthermore, Prey's continuous improvement, feature enhancements, adaptability, and custom-made versions for students, provide schools and educational institutions with a reliable and evolving toolset to address device security and management challenges effectively.

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