Single Sign-On and Windows 10Accelerates Christchurch Girls High School’s Modern Desktop Deployment

Specialised education sector, technology solutions provider, Cyclone has successfully taken Christchurch Girls’ High School through a device upgrade to Windows 10 over the 2017 Christmas break. The introduction of modern Microsoft technology boosts productivity, convenience and security contributing to improved outcomes for students.

At the heart of the upgrade is Microsoft’s Azure Active Directory, which serves as the School’s cloud identity provider. Azure AD provides the gateway to essential Education applications which make 21st century eLearning a reality.

The upgrade featured the full suite of services included in the Microsoft Schools Agreement with the Ministry of Education which has resulted in reduced licensing and on-going costs for Christchurch Girls’ High School.

Christchurch Girls High School – Te Kura o Hine Waiora – was established in 1877 and is the second oldest girls’ secondary school in the country. CGHS values tradition and aspires to the highest in education, while embracing innovation and excellence in all its endeavours.

The Challenge

When Cyclone first engaged with CGHS, they found a traditional network in place, with on-premise Active Directory and Group Policy managing the school-owned Windows 7 fleet. There was no device management platform in place.The absence of visibility of the devices on and off the school network left the school, it’s devices and end users vulnerable. In an age of constant change, application deployment and device configuration change are expensive and cumbersome.Furthermore, in a school with a clear focus on innovation and excellence, the Windows 7 platform, while respected, was dated: students and educators were not getting the best possible experience from an operating system which was introduced in 2009

The Solution

With an upgrade of over 350 machines and a goal of increasing device visibility both on and off the school network, the plan was to move the school towards a cloud-first Modern Device Management(MDM) approach. Microsoft’s Azure Active Directory takes care of this requirement out of the box, automatically enrolling every device into Microsoft Intune with upgrade reporting handled by Windows Analytics.

With an eye on managing costs, Cyclone opted for an initial hybrid approach which would leverage multiple technologies. This approach aligned with the Ministry of Education’s strategic push towards leveraging the cloud more effectively, while reducing the necessity to retain multiple local servers.

Typically, when upgrading over 350 machines, a systems administrator would build a bespoke custom image based off the required applications requested by the school. Instead, Cyclone’s approach ran from the cloud: It utilised Windows Analytics via Microsoft Cloud Solution Provider, provisioning a Log Analytics workspace into Christchurch Girls’ High School Azure tenant.

Visibility was shared between remote Cyclone Engineers and on-site technicians, allowing the complete team to view all devices and easily see which devices were Windows 7 and upgrade them to Windows 10. This level of reporting made it easier to sign off completion of the upgrade when all devices were on the latest version of Windows 10. In addition to Windows Analytics, Cyclone used Microsoft App-V for the first time. Delivered by Microsoft Intune, App-V containerises applications into a virtual “bubble” and seamlessly integrates them into Windows 10 without the need to locally install each application. It provides consistent application deployment to the right people, at the right place, at the right time computers without being locally installed. It allows for consistent application deployment to the right people, at the right place, at the right time.

Microsoft technologies used in the upgrade included:

  • Microsoft intune
  • Windows Store for Business
  • Office 365 2016 Pro Plus (Click-to-Run)
  • App-V
  • Windows Analytics
  • Windows Updates for Business
  • Microsoft Deployment Toolkit (MDT)
  • Azure Active Directory (AzureAD) with Automatic MDM Enrolment
  • Seamless Single Sign-On

The Benefits

For CGHS, the advantage of a cloud-first approach was immediate. One of the biggest benefits is providing staff and students with a familiar login experience across multiple devices and educational cloud platforms through Azure AD. This technology delivers unrivalled convenience and security: it enables students and staff to use a single set of credentials to sign into multiple applications, including G. Suite, Office 365, Wheelers eBooks, the AccessIT Library System, ClickView Video Library, Education Perfect and Moodle.

With the implementation now complete, Cyclone can now rapidly and dynamically provision Windows 10 devices for the School, without the requirement for custom images, multiple usernames and passwords and expensive manual processes.

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