Pine Cove Pulse

Press Release: Pine Cove Consulting Receives National Recognition

Posted by Brandon Vancleeve

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Pine Cove Consulting Wins National Cybersecurity Award

Pine Cove Consulting was recently awarded a national partner award from its industry leading security partner, Sophos, for outstanding work in the Cybersecurity arena.  The award recognized complete security knowledge and expertise, as well as personal and company-wide certifications and continued education.  This award is contended for across the country, and has historically been awarded to larger companies in more urban areas.  

"This is important to Pine Cove and our area to show that a local company can compete and succeed regionally and nationally.  We try to explain to our customers and vendors that living and working in Bozeman is a choice, and we believe we possess all the business tools we need here.  Our team has set this as our goal since last May and couldn't be more excited that we reached it," said Brandon Vancleeve, Pine Cove Consulting’s Vice President.

Topics: Pine Cove

Pine Cove Consulting welcomes Joey Lovell, Janel Morgan, and  Kelsea Kimerly as our newest Consultants!

Posted by Brandon Vancleeve

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Joey Lovell grew up in the Panhandle of Idaho in the small picturesque town of Sandpoint. With many activities based around the 4 seasons Sandpoint has to offer, Joey gravitated to the golf course. After high school he pursued a collegiate golf career at Boise State University while earning a bachelors degree in Business. Joey's professional golf stint included qualifying for the National Pro Tour and playing in as many professional tournaments as he could. Joey relocated to Bozeman, MT in the fall of 2013 and is now enjoying his Business degree while using his golf skills to become a better salesman. When he isn't golfing he enjoys spending time with his better half Kelly hiking around the local trails and snowboarding during the winter months. 

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Kelsea Kimerly is the new consultant for Pine Cove Consulting, based out of the Bozeman office.  Kelsea grew up in Columbia Falls, Montana and then went off to Carroll College in Helena, where she double majored in Communication Studies and Public Relations.  After graduation, she drove off to Hollywood, California for sunshine and adventures before coming home to her Montana roots.  She now lives in Belgrade with her fiancé, Jonathan Jensen.  When they aren't traveling across the state for softball or bowling tournaments, they spend most Sundays playing board games or horseshoes with the Jensen family in Manhattan. 

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Pine Cove Consulting welcomes Janel Morgan as their newest Consultant for the Billings office.  Janel grew up in Billings, Montana where she studied Psychology and Business Management at  MSU-Billings.  She then made her way to Kalispell, MT where she completed her mentor-ship for Real Estate Appraisal and spent 7 years in the field before pursuing a career in sales.  She has since relocated back to her home town to be close to family.  Most of her time is spent raising her 7 year old daughter, Shayda.  They enjoy baking, mountain biking, camping, 4-wheeling, and spending time with their 1 year old Boston Terrier, Shine.  

Topics: Pine Cove

Pine Cove Passion: Why Technology is Important to Us

Posted by Matt Hall

Pine Cove Passion: Why Technology is Important to Us

“I believe the people that work here, including myself, have a passion for what we actually do. We are positively affecting students, teachers, businesses and business owners.” - Matt Hall

With a firm commitment to servicing the underserved, Pine Cove has ignited technology use and sustainability in the rural communities we work in. This commitment is rooted into the very early years of Pine Cove, as well as, the roots of the founders. "The Vancleeve family not only started the company based on their educational degrees and experience in the classroom, but carried a strict focus on the rural communities they came from." Matt says. Whether the district has 4 or 4,000 students, Pine Cove’s goal is to give students the same technological opportunities, no matter their size, demographics or geographic location.

How important is Technology in Education?

Often times, budgeted restricted, rural schools get turned down or ignored by technology providers because of their size and remoteness. Pine Cove Consulting has seen the technology gap between large and small schools in this part of the country, and understands the importance of bringing those smaller schools up to speed. 

Our goal – our passion – is to give those students and teachers the exact same opportunities they would have in a larger community:

  • Ensuring our rural students are prepared equally for higher education and/or employment

  • Keeping talented and inspiring teachers in rural areas

  • Keep families in these rural education systems

  • Keep communities alive and vibrant in our rural states

Where has our passion taken us?

With 23 years of ongoing experience, Pine Cove has seen everything. We know how to work with rural schools and can predict future problems, as well as detect current ones quickly. While most corporations would not be willing to travel to these remote locations, we at Pine Cove are passionate about bringing our services to clients in-person. Some of our employees, like Matt Hall, even put in over 

2,000 miles in a week to see six different districts. And although some companies can’t see the benefits of working with small schools, the biggest benefit for us is the strong relationship we have established with our clients. "These rural districts are loyal, if you are willing to put the time in to visit them and consult with them, they will find any way possible to do business with you." Matt states.

Expanding our passion to small business

As mentioned in previous blogs, Pine Cove Consulting recognizes the need for updated technology in small business. "As we focused our efforts on underserved public entities for the last 23 years, we have been awoken to the fact that there are underserved businesses around our states that are desperate for technology guidance, as well. There are several reasons why we are excited to build new relationships in this industry: 

  1. Small (underserved) businesses need sustainable IT solutions to stay competitive, sustainable
  2. Small businesses need to be able to focus on their competencies
  3. Modern technology can give small businesses a competitive edge 

We are taking our 23 years of passion, experience and dedication to the small business market. Interested in learning more about what we can do for you? Contact us

Topics: Pine Cove, Partner, SMB

School district problems and the IT solutions PCC uses to resolve them

Posted by Brandon Vancleeve

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Summer is the busiest time of year for Pine Cove Consulting’s engineers and project team. It is the best time to make any major technology changes in a school district. Every year I see similar changes happening across all of our school districts. They all seem to be doing the same upgrades at the same time to solve problems. So, what problems are our school districts currently running into and how are we solving them? Here are our top three areas of focus this summer:


New Devices

Pine Cove has sold thousands of Chromebooks over the past few months. The ease of use, ease of administration, and low cost of these devices make them very popular in schools. Anytime you add a bunch of new devices into the mix, you have to address the network. The technology built into these new devices are driving the need for new networking and wireless equipment that can handle new network protocols and speed (802.11ac).

What are our IT solutions for a bunch of new devices coming on the network?

Upgrading networks and infrastructure. If you are interested in adding new devices or more of them, please call our network consulting team and we can help you plan a successful deployment by utilizing our “Wheel of Technology Planning” to make sure it is done right the first time.

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Security

Believe it or not, schools are more vulnerable than most businesses when it comes to their security health. Most people working at companies know not to visit questionable websites or click the link in the email to help the Nigerian Prince get his money out of the country. A 4th grade kid on the other hand is not as knowledgeable about safe internet usage practices. From my view, the main security problems in school settings are often caused by internal users. You are leaving a lot of holes in your security process if you only have a firewall and an endpoint antivirus software installed on all of the district machines. Another thing to consider is that kids bring in their personal devices and connect to your “guest” wireless network. Worse yet, they connect to the main wireless network of the district because a teacher gave out the password one day when they were trying to get on the network. At this point, that device is behind the firewall so it cannot stop the incoming threat. Many times end-user devices are infected by viruses and malware which can spread to other devices on the network including your main servers, if your network is not segmented properly.

What have we been doing to fix this?

This summer, we have installed 10-15 Sophos Unified Threat Management (UTM) appliances in our districts. They are not just a firewall. It is a complete security solution that incorporates email, server, web, network and endpoint protection. It can also run a fast, secure and cost-effective wireless network. Having one pane of glass to manage all of these aspects of security across the network means that you have an intelligent system that works together to combat threats and can help you sleep better at night. It also means less administration from your technical staff. 

Watch one of our webinars by Sophos:

Webinar 1: Simple Security is Better Security
Webinar 2: Sophos Network Security health

Virtual Desktops

We have done several new deployments of virtual desktops across Montana and Wyoming. In a school setting, managing desktops is literally a full-time job. Teachers, staff and students are always running into issues with their computers. Using VDI, we can significantly reduce the administration time required to provide Windows desktops to all of your users. Every time a user logs in, they have a fast desktop that doesn’t get bogged down over time. If they mess something up…they just restart the desktop and it is brand new again. It makes having master images way easier to manage and updates are done once on the image instead of on every computer. Another benefit is that all of the data is stored on the server instead of the individual workstations, so it is way easier to backup and manage. If you use computer labs in your school, it is definitely worth investigating VDI as a solution.

Find out just how important is technology in education from other school districts.

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Justin Hill – 406.294.5471 – jhill@pinecc.com

Topics: Pine Cove

How Important is Technology in Education? Pine Cove’s Top 10 Reasons

Posted by Tyler Wantulok

how important is technology in education

How important is technology in education?

There are countless reasons why technology is a key aspect of learning in the schools. Whether we like it or not, technology is everywhere; and in order for our students to survive in post-secondary education and the business world, they must know technology.

To narrow it down, we came up with 10 reasons for the importance of technology in education:

  1. Students demand it.
    Students are engaging with technology constantly outside of the classroom. Kids like to be interactive, and learning through technology has now become a part of their lifestyle.

  2. New teachers are demanding it. 
    The technology movement has been implemented in post-secondary education as well as other professional jobs. For new teachers, technology is considered a necessity for the learning environment.

  3. Kids are the digital native.
    Kids know technology better than most adults. It has become the easiest way they learn, because it is such an integral part of their life. Engaging with technology in the classroom has not only helped them learn better, but they also acquire multi-tasking skills. At this day in age, they hardly know how to learn without it. This knowledge is important, because they would be way behind in the real world without it.

  4. Kids can learn at their own pace.
    We know from years of experience that kids learn at their own pace, but sometimes the traditional classroom makes it difficult to do so. With the integration of technology in education, children have the ability to slow down and go back over lessons and concepts, and more advanced kids can go ahead. It also frees up the teacher to help kids on a more one-on-one level.

  5. With technology, there are no limitations. 
    Having access to other information outside of the book gives students many different ways to learn a concept. Teachers can come up with creative ways to teach their students that keeps them engaged. Technology has changed the learning environment so that learning is more hands-on. Schools throughout the nation are diverse in income, and often kids don’t always get the resources they need. The implementation of technology in schools helps close that gap.

  6. Technology has the ability to enhance relationships between teachers and students.
    When teachers effectively integrate technology into subject areas, teachers grow into roles of adviser, content expert, and coach. Technology helps make teaching and learning more meaningful and fun. Students are also able to collaborate with their own classmates through technological applications.

  7. Testing has gone online
    One protocol that schools don’t have control over, but must adapt to, is online testing. Testing online is the way of the future, but it has a lot of advantages. Assessing students’ performance can be done instantly with technology. Beyond seeing test scores in real-time, teachers can better track and understand students’ grasp of the subject.

  8. Multitude of resources 
    Computers, tablets, and other forms of technology bring multiple resources for the teacher that’s not in the book. They not only keep students engaged with exciting new features and apps, but also have other ways to teach students material. Every kid learns differently, and technology helps with this gap as well.

  9. Technology keeps kids engaged.
    The students of this generation are considered technological learners. They learn best being more interactive, and technology is what helps them do that. Children often struggle to stay on task or interested, and with resources to help the teacher, they can better stay focused and learn faster.

  10. Technology is necessary to succeed outside of primary and secondary education
    Whether we like it or not, technology is an essential concept to learn. Because it changes so quickly, children are better off learning about it sooner. It is a primary part of every industry, and there is no way around it. These days, technology means more than just learning basic computing skills. Technology has made itself part of every aspect of our lives today, and the students who understand it are the ones who succeed in the business world.

Find out just how important is technology in education from other school districts. 

Download the Case Study Here:

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Topics: Pine Cove

Weighing the Pros & Cons of Hardware as a Service Financing (HaaS)

Posted by Tyler Wantulok

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As technology demands in our districts continues to grow and our technology budgets do not seem to be following suit, we need to find a way to stay up with changes and demands with technology and access in our schools, while staying within our tech budgets.  A growing trend to accomplish this goal is to finance or purse a Hardware as a Service (Haas) program.  Below we have broken down the pros and çons to HaaS so you can make an educated decision if it is the right path for your district.


Hardware as a Service Financing Benefits: 

(1) Financing keeps your equipment up-to-date. Computers and other equipment eventually become obsolete. With financing, you pass the financial burden to the equipment financing company. For example, let’s say you have a two-year lease on a copy machine. After that lease expires, you’re free to finance whatever equipment is newer, faster and cheaper.  In fact, 65% of respondents to a 2005 Equipment Leasing Association survey said the ability to have the latest equipment was leasing’s number-one perceived benefit.

(2) You’ll have predictable monthly expenses. With a lease, you have a pre-determined monthly line item, which can help you budget more effectively. 35% of respondents to the Equipment Leasing Association’s survey said this was leasing’s second-highest benefit.

(3) No Up-Front Capital Expense. No full cost payment up front and lower total cost of ownership over the life of the solution. When investing in 3-5 year technology expenditures, why would you accrue those costs in one year, or worse, one payment. 

(4) End of Term Flexibility. At the end of the term, leasing gives your clients the option of simply returning the equipment, purchasing it outright or extending the contract, making it easier to cascade, upgrade or dispose of their equipment.

(5) More flexible payment options. Different payment structures can be tailored to fit your specific needs. For example, periodic payments can be structured to increase, decrease or stay constant over time.  Delayed pay dates also help to fit into fiscal cycles within your district.

(6) Faster implementation. Due to eliminating upfront capital requirements, you have the ability to implement hardware initiatives when you need the equipment/solution, instead of when your funding becomes available. 

(7) Reduced risk.  Financing an entire hardware solution allows us mitigate risk of technology budget surprises.  

Hardware as a Service Financing Downsides:

(1) Long Term Agreements:  Although you have the ability to buy out of a term at any point, you are committed to the payment for the life of the term.

(2) Paying Interest: Although you are able to keep this money in house, longer, you are going to pay some type of interest which will make the Total Cost higher. 

(3) Committed to Financing Terms: With financing, you will always be at the mercy of your financing company and agreement. Schools must follow their guidelines and are susceptible to reposition upon request.

Buying: The Downsides

(1) The initial outlay for needed equipment may be too much.

(2) Eventually, you’re stuck with outdated equipment. That means you’re eventually stuck with outdated equipment that you must donate, sell or recycle.

(3) Buying capital equipment often involves a lengthy budget approval process. Choosing leasing can help shorten the process, accelerating the implementation of the solution.

Learn about HaaS: financing equipment instead of buying here.

Topics: Pine Cove, HaaS

HaaS: Financing Equipment Instead of Buying

Posted by Tyler Wantulok

Hardware as a service

Equipment Financing

Technology upgrades have become one of the biggest expenses for schools, and with technology changing so quickly, it can be especially hard to keep up with the latest hardware. New costs for equipment can come up every two to three years with schools trying to stay up-to-date.

That’s why districts have turned to a new strategy: financing equipment instead of buying it.

Hardware as a Service: About Financing

The cost of equipment is spread out over its usable life, and makes new technology reachable for schools with tighter budgets. It’s sort of like leasing a car - the schools pay a small amount at a time for the use of equipment and returns it at the end of the financing period. The academic lease runs between two and four years.

For most schools, the goal is to have one computer per child. But when you tack on other technology that goes with it, like projectors, networking, and software, the cost can reach a minimum of $1,000 per student, which can be impossible for some schools to budget for. With financing, schools can ride the wave of technology and look forward to a regular and predictable payment.

By spreading out the payments, financing can make it possible for schools to afford not only the technology, but other important project investments for the school- such as maintenance and after- school activities. When financing, neither the district nor the school actually owns the hardware, which makes it much easier and less costly by end of the system’s life. By financing instead of buying, the school is relieved of the financial burden of system disposal. It can cost between $50 and $75 per machine to safely dispose of a computer.

At the end of the lease, the school typically has the option of returning equipment to the supplier or buy it- most schools return the machines. However, there’s a third choice that’s becoming increasingly popular. Many schools choose to trade to the latest hardware.

By trading up at the end of the lease, the school never has systems older than two-to-four years. On an even better note, the school’s lease payments for the new, more capable equipment are often the same as they were for the old items.

Choose What you Lease Wisely

financing works best with items that are still worth something at the end of the lease. The residual value lowers the lease payments along the way, making equipment more affordable. 

Although financing can be a little more complicated than buying, all the manufacturers either offer leases directly or through a financing subsidiary. Third parties will often buy equipment and rent it to schools on a short-term basis.

Financing isn’t for Everybody.

Often, computer makers and financing companies are flexible enough to structure the payment schedule to accommodate to the budget of a school. Most school districts prefer the predictability of making monthly payments, but others schedule an annual payment for when finances such as property taxes are disbursed, private-school fees are paid, or when other inflows of cash are received at the end of the year.

Like most leases, companies charge interest to pay for the equipment and expenses. Interest is charged from 5 to 15 percent a year- and interest charges can add up quickly. Over a two or three-year lease, the school might end up paying an extra 25 to 50 percent. But for some schools, they believe that it’s a small price to pay for spreading out payments. And when things go wrong as they often do with computers, financing includes full support and repair services for the life of the lease.

Of course, at the end of the lease, anything missing or broken must be paid for, and all equipment must be returned. However, the financing program will insure the machines against theft and accidental damages that at the end of the lease.

Interested in financing instead of buying some of your equipment? Contact your consultants! We are here to make sure you are getting the most out of your hardware.

Want to learn the pros and cons of financing HaaS? Click here for more information.

Topics: Pine Cove, HaaS

Cryptowall: How can your district protect itself?

Posted by Tyler Wantulok

Ransomware

As your technology consultant, it is not only important to inform our clients of important new features, but also dangerous software that can harm your computer. Technology news is raving about the dangerous spread of malware through advertising networks. The new ransomware CryptoWall is taking over computer networks by storm.

CryptoWall and How it Works

According to security researchers, over 830,000 victims worldwide have been infected with the malware, a 25% increase since just the end of August. The ransomware has collected over $1.4 million thus far!

CryptoWall, an evolvement of the infamous CryptoLocker, works as a strain of file-encrypting ransomware that codes files on infected Windows PCs and attached storage devices with RSA-2048 encryption. It then demands a ransom for the private key needed to recover scrambled documents.

CryptoWall typically spreads through tainted banner ads, as well as purely by browsers visiting one of the impacted sites, which included various properties in the Yahoo!, Match.com, AOL domains, and many others. It has also been known to spread through email.

Although there are advances to stopping the malware, Cryptocrooks are most likely working a CryptoWall 2.0 of some sort.

How do you know if your computer is infected?

There are two indications that your computer could be infected by the ransomware.
  • When you open a file, such as a .doc, .xls, or .pdf, words and data are mismatched or not properly displayed. An error message will also occur.
  • The most common warning will be the appearance of three files at the root of every directory that contains files that were encrypted by CryptoWall.
    DECRYPT_INSTRUCTION.txt
    DECRYPT_INSTRUCTION.html
    DECRYPT_INSTRUCTION.url
By clicking any of these files that CryptoWall has created, you will be lead through a process to “recover” your pages and end with a ransom payment to the malware.

If the ransom is not paid, the user is opting out of getting their data back, and they lose access to their files.

What can you do if your computer is infected?

If you opt out of paying to get your files back, you can only retrieve your data if it is backed up on another drive or on a cloud. If you do have backed up files, retrieve them from an uninfected computer.

Often cloud operations have added protection, making it easier to keep malware out and be able to access your files.

If backup is not an option, there are some recovery systems that can restore your files. Sometimes you can use Shadow Explorer to restore files, otherwise if recovery is possible they will be under the VSS, “restore previous file versions”, or “system restore.”

Although, the best thing you can do is contact your Pine Cove Consultants. We can find ways to restore your files, make sure the ransomware is wiped from the computers, as well as provide securities to ensure malware does not affect them again.

How can you protect your computers?

There are many features that you should have on your computers at all times:
1.    Antivirus Applications- make sure you have the most up-to-date versions and that they are always running.
2.    Malware Scanner- this is an important added protection that will scan files for you.
3.    Have a backup system- In case your securities fail at some point, you should be backing your files up consistently. A cloud-based backup schedule is also a great tool.
4.    Never visit questionable websites. Enough said!
5.    Enable software restriction policies- these are available to system administrators or enterprises for added security. They can easily block malware such as CryptoWall.

Never overlook the importance of antiviruses and backups for your files. These applications that add security can be vital as viruses run rampant on the internet. They can be hard to stop or control, so taking control yourself and implementing these computer and information protections are the best way to prevent losing data or having data stolen. Hackers and malware creators are everywhere, and it’s hard to know what just might be lurking behind and advertisement or email.

Don’t have proper or up-to-date security? Need to clean your computer of nasty malware or just want to ensure it’s clean? Contact us! Our consultants can make sure your computers are running properly in no time. We’re here to make sure your technology is running the way it’s supposed to, and we want you to be protected at all times. The best thing you can do is don’t wait; or you will wish you bought that antivirus or backup system instead of buying back your files. The last thing you need is a malicious virus or ransomware taking your money and your data. Your Pine Cove Consultants are available around the clock to ensure that you get help as soon as possible.

Topics: Pine Cove

Room to grow: HP Networking portfolio for rural school districts

Posted by Tyler Wantulok

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With the state of Montana having a handful of increasingly populated towns and hundreds of smaller towns spread throughout, the difference in technological advances is vast. Small, eastern Montana towns often have a hard time enabling fast, quality networks and staying on top of the fast-paced evolution of technology. This is why Pine Cove Consulting (PCC) has a main focus on servicing small-town schools with innovative and affordable networking, so teachers and students don’t fall between the cracks when it comes to modern technology.

Pine Cove recently worked with two small-town schools, Colstrip and Sidney Public Schools. Both schools have issues with unpredictable enrollment, with Colstrip having a large energy industry and Sidney being a rich location for oil drilling and hydro fracturing. But often these towns see boom and bust enrollment figures that go along with the spikes and crashes of the oil and energy industries.

“Over the past couple of years, it’s been common for us to get between 70 and 100 new students per year, but by the end of the year, we’ll also lose between 70 and 100,” says Steve Yockim, technology director for Sydney Public Schools.

The volatility in enrollment makes it difficult for the two districts to rapidly build housing and services for new residents, let alone stay on top of offering a quality education to a rising and falling student population.

Work in Colstrip Public Schools
With a combination of coal and electricity as the main source of Colstrip’s wealth, energy trends make the town an unpredictable place to live. IT leaders at Colstrip Public Schools have struggled with finding ways to keep technology modernized, but not spend money on oversupplying students. Unfortunately, this is a reality that they couldn’t seem to get away from. The district’s network wasn’t designed to deliver the flexibility or scalability district leaders needed.

After attending a regional workshop featuring Pine Cove Consulting, the Colstrip superintendent was fascinated by Pine Cove’s seminar. “That workshop led to a five-year project and a great partnership,” said PCC Vice President Brandon Vancleeve. With PCC’s help, the school district soon redesigned its entire network.

Using VMware View and Devon IT’s VDI Blaster software, the district then introduced centralized desktop computing to teachers, students and support staff. They eventually added 300 virtualized desktops to its campuses. With a virtual desktop infrastructure in place, the IT team has the flexibility to scale the VDI solution to meet whatever demands may come. An affordable budget has made it possible for the district to add 100 virtual desktops at a time, with the end-goal of virtualizing every machine possible, so students and teachers can access information and applications from any device they bring.

These solutions have led to less security issues, fewer support tickets and interruptions in classrooms. VDI also increased efficiency for larger projects and upgrades, leading to better productivity for the small staff.

Work in Sidney Public Schools
Located in northeastern Montana, Sidney is a popular place for the farmers, ranchers and oil drilling. However, Sidney has recently spiked in population due to the hydraulic fracturing mining industry. This has led to major oil booms which, in turn, led to large peaks in student population, making it difficult for the district to keep up technologically.

“We know we need to be very smart about how we do this. We have to build a solution that will be incredibly flexible so it can scale rapidly, but we don’t want to overbuild it, either,” Steve Yockim says.

The district made the move to redesign the entire technology infrastructure, and turned to Pine Cove for help. The team rebuilt the entire data center, virtualizing and consolidating servers onto HP ProLiant BL460 Server Blades with hypervisor software from VMware.

The HP server blades are mounted in a modular HP BladeSystem c7000 Enclosure, which houses both the district’s virtualized application servers and its VDI solution, which delivers operating systems, applications and user settings for students, faculty, administrators, and support staff.

Among many other changes, Pine Cove Consulting was able to boost coverage by 50 percent, giving the district just under 100 percent coverage everywhere. The modernized server and storage pushed services at faster speeds and eliminated outages. The new wireless services now have the important flexibility to vary the number and type of wireless access points supported by the network. Because the district has built an HP Converged Infrastructure to virtualize delivery of end-user workspaces, those workspaces can follow the user from device to device without sacrificing a consistent compute experience.

“In five years, who knows what the technology landscape will look like? But I know the groundwork we’ve put in place can scale to handle whatever comes next,” says Yockim.

A Brighter Future
For both districts, creating a new infrastructure and advanced networking system has made new upgrades and updates possible. Almost all students now carry mobile devices, and the networks are now given the flexibility to handle BYOD accessibility. Students can walk between networks and hardly notice a difference. With PCC’s help, the schools can now have the fast, modernized technology without the fuss of constant, slow networking issues.

Having Pine Cove Consulting ready and available to help with upgrades, advancing technology the way the schools want has become a reality for the small districts. Pine Cove’s work with HP systems gave back time to staff so they can have a reliable, fast network that is easy to operate. And most importantly, the schools have the flexibility for the boom and bust of their student populations.

Download the Case Study today!

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Topics: networking, Pine Cove, 1:1 computing, BYOD

Cape Air Service Benefits PCC and Northeastern School Districts

Posted by Tyler Wantulok

Not only can it be harder for small school districts on the hi-line of Montana to get their hands on new technology - and quickly - but these districts also take a lot of travel time in order to reach them for help. Lucky for both of us, there is now a much faster way to reach these northern districts by air.

Last December, The U.S. Transportation Department teamed up with a Massachusetts-based company, Cape Air, on a two-year contract to provide daily roundtrip flights between Billings, Havre, Glasgow, Wolf Point, Sydney, and Glendive.

 

The Essential Air Service (EAS) program has been helping small towns throughout the U.S. receive air service, although the program has remained controversial. Due to budget cuts and not enough passengers, Lewistown and Miles City were dropped from the EAS flight program.

 

Our Technology Consultant Matt Hall uses the service often to travel from Billings to Havre to help districts on the hi-line. Hall travels two weeks out of every month to visit schools such as Medicine Lake, Havre, Plentywood, Sydney, among many other northeastern districts.


“I get to see these districts more frequently because it’s so much faster,” Hall said of the new program.


The EAS service has allowed for the consultant to reach schools for sudden emergencies. “I had a board meeting that I was invited to last minute, and I was able to make a connection and get to it on time,” Hall said. “Without [the service] I wouldn’t have been able to make it.”


Not only has the program benefited Pine Cove with reaching clients fast, but also with budgeting. “It’s cheaper. It takes me a full tank of gas to drive there, which costs about $80. I can fly there for $49,” said Hall. Round trip costs via car cost Hall about $160 in gas, plus a likely hotel room in order to get a full day in with clients. While one typical travel day for Hall costs around $200 with a vehicle, a round trip flight with Cape Air only cost $98- plus time to fly back in the same day.

 

Hall predicts that with increasing necessity for these connections, there could eventually be more flights per day. “I would love to see Cape Air come to Bozeman. And to fly to western parts of the state.” Hall says that he would utilize it to see the northwest clients, such as Kalispell, more often.


“Essential Air Service is needed in states like Montana with small populations spread over big distances so that business people and other residents can get around more easily,” Hall said.

To read more on Cape Air in Montana, go to the article HERE

Check out the Case Study we did on Colstip & Sidney Public Schools:

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Topics: Pine Cove