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D65 reviews computer security software

The Evanston/Skokie District 65 Finance Committee discussed Monday whether to spend $78,000 in the next three years to buy a security software program for its 1,276 laptop computers.

"We thought it would be a good idea for us to consider this given that we are heavily invested in technology now," said Superintendent Hardy Murphy.
Since June, six computers have been stolen and a total of approximately $17,000 in technology has been lost including the cost of laptops, desktops, projectors, digital cameras and camcorders, accoring to Joe Caravello, manager of the district’s Information Services.
There are no statistics, however, on how much money the district is losing each year because of stolen laptops as this is the first time there have been so many laptops in the district, Mr. Caravello said.
If a computer is stolen with the Computrace Software security system, the company, Absolute Software, can use the program to locate and try to recover the equipment with the help of the local police department.
If the computer is not recovered within 60 days the equipment will be replaced up to $1,000 based on the prorated value of the computer.
With Absolute Software, 90 percent of the computers are recovered, according to John Sonnenberg, account executive, and when a laptop is stolen the software can erase confidential information or lock the hard drive to make the unit inoperable.
Absolute Software’s other customers include Chicago Public Schools as well as 16 of the top 25 school districts in the nation.
The district’s policy right now when a computer is stolen is a police report is completed and an insurance claim is filed.  Mr. Caravello said that the district usually does not get the computers back and the computers could have confidential information on them like students’ and teachers’ social security numbers.
Absolute Software wants a partnership with District 65, in which they hope the district purchases this software for its future computers at a future negotiated price.  But the contract doesn’t guarantee that the district has to purchase the software in the future.
The computer software initiative will go before the full board at its Nov. 19 meeting.

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