case-study

The Toronto District Christian High School Case Study

Toronto District Christian High School is an independent Christian secondary school in Vaughan, Ontario, Canada. Dive in to know how and why they use Prey to protect their devices.

February 19, 2024

Toronto District Christian High School, also known as TDChristian, is an independent Christian secondary school in Vaughan, Ontario, Canada, that boasts a diverse educational program with a strong focus on comprehensive development. Founded in 1960, the school currently educates approximately 450 students.

We talked with Eric Vrieling, the school's IT Director, to gain insights into the challenges and priorities he has right now, in order to provide a safe IT environment for the school that is also easy to manage. Eric and his brother Bruce make up the small but efficient IT team for the school.

Context: Securing a new fleet of MacBooks is not as simple as it seems

When TDChristian High School decided to take a step forward and develop a 1:1 computing program for their students, they also decided to change its device fleet from Windows to MacBooks.

Apple School Manager (ASM), a service offered by Apple, is a web-based portal for IT administrators that works with third-party mobile device management (MDM) solutions, and is a great assist when imaging and setting up MacBooks. However, due to security restrictions added by Apple to ASM for student accounts, the students’ MacBook “Find My” location features are intentionally disabled. This posed a problem for Eric, as the MacBook has become one of the main learning tools for the students. Finding missing MacBooks is always a top priority. 

Solution: Transitioning to One-to-One Computing With Prey

Prey's geographic precision, which could locate a device to a specific room in the school's uniquely shaped building, was a game-changer. This capability was crucial in quickly resolving cases of misplaced devices, reducing stress and panic for students and staff.

"What's really neat about Prey is I can drill down so far on the map of the school on my computer screen that I can see what part of the building the missing Macbook is sitting in. We have a strangely shaped building, and so it is very easy. I can say, oh, it's in Room 13, or it's in Room 25, the room above it. So it's either one of those 2 rooms, and when I check, most likely it's there.”

Additionally, Prey's adaptability to privacy concerns was a key factor in its selection. The software was customized by the Product Development team in collaboration with Eric’s Customer Success Account Manager at Prey. They worked together to exclude certain features like automatic camera access, ensuring alignment with the school's student privacy requirements.

This customization allowed Prey to integrate seamlessly into the school's ecosystem, respecting user privacy without needing extensive post-installation configurations.

"There's a feature in the Prey software that if it's lost the software can start taking pictures. And we don't allow that, and so when we spoke with Rosa (Prey’s Customer Success Agent) (…) Prey very quickly said, ‘Oh, we can make you a version that excludes all of that…’ (…) So the version of Prey we can use doesn't have some of those extra features.”

Results and Impact

The implementation of Prey at TDChristian has been notably successful. Over the past two years, they've achieved a 100% recovery rate for misplaced devices. Whenever students reported lost devices, Prey was able to resolve each incident, typically within an hour. This swift and effective response not only saved time but also significantly alleviated stress for the school community.

TDChristian values the focused functionality of Prey, appreciating its ability to effectively address their specific need without unnecessary additional features or services. 

The school sought a solution that did one thing exceptionally well, rather than a product with a multitude of features that weren't required. Prey provides exactly what the school needs to locate and secure lost devices, in compliance with the school’s privacy rules and with the approach of efficient problem-solving Eric takes in his day to day as IT Director.

"I look for options. Often I find a software product that does 19 things, and I don't want 19 things. I want that one thing... And Prey does that.”

Prey's ease of deployment and maintenance were also significant advantages, Eric liked the simplicity of installing Prey, as he manages hundreds of devices with his brother only. 

"You guys make it a good installer. You just pass the Prey license key with it, and install silently. It's nice. Some software does not do that so well. Prey is great.”

Conclusion

Ultimately, Prey has become more than just a tool for the school; it represents a source of security and peace of mind. Eric likens it to "a Linus blanket to keep me secure and comforted. When the panic happens, that's when I use Prey.”

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