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I work for large university's IT department. We manage around 500 computers in remote labs around campus and residents halls. As an on going project, we are increasing secruty in our labs through physical means (locks, steel cable, alarm systems) and software solutions. One problem we are running in to is in our older workstations we can not lock our monitors due to a latch that can release the panel from the stand.

We were discussing work around and one idea that came up was to have a utility monitor a usb connection on the panel. Is anyone familiar with such a program or should we focus our efforts to creating an in house solution.

Thanks

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closed as off topic by Wesley, womble, Zoredache, MDMarra, Iain May 13 '12 at 20:56

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What operating system are you running. This is a very essential information! –  Thomas Berger Aug 20 '11 at 0:19
    
We use windows XP sp3. We are hoping to switch to a Windows 7 environment soon though. –  Zach Aug 20 '11 at 0:25
    
@mhm, ok, sry, but i thought about some unix systems if you want more secruity, there are many tools for unixoid platforms. –  Thomas Berger Aug 20 '11 at 0:56
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So I just need to power off the computer before I steal the monitors. Easy enough. –  Evan Anderson Aug 20 '11 at 2:06
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@Evan Anderson: not if you hardwire the power supply directly to the power grid :-) –  Bart Silverstrim Aug 20 '11 at 2:17

1 Answer 1

Rather than focusing on adding more whizdoodles to the computer that could interfere with installation and add complexity to management and troubleshooting, are you putting in things like security cameras and having lab people taking care of the labs? While I was in college there was little done in terms of locking down the monitors and such in the labs and there wasn't really a problem that I knew of. Having decent cameras in place would mean that yes, you risk someone walking off with your stuff, but you should be able to identify them and recover material along with getting compensation.

Adding more software is feasible, assuming they don't first disconnect your network cable to prevent anything from transmitting a "help I'm disconnected" alarm. But you're complicating your deployment procedures and asking for problems down the road, more trouble than it's probably worth for older equipment.

If theft is really that much of a problem start deploying thin clients worth a couple hundred instead of full clients. No hard disk, cheap monitors, and if something were damaged or walked off it's not a major problem. Couple that with decent video surveillance and you should be pretty good to go.

Register all the equipment, etch ID tags on them, and keep the ID's of the equipment with the local police or security office and make it known to your students that there are cameras watching public areas and the equipment is registered with law enforcement. If you're still having a big theft/vandalism problem I'd start to question your college campus's safety record and caliber of student if I were a student there. Personal opinion...I don't get the warm fuzzies when visiting a college and see that the labs that have more security measures on their monitors than my car has in their parking lot. Seriously, I'd question how safe my kid is in a college that has to have that kind of heavy security on systems that are running WinXP for basic college workstations (unless you're talking about specialized, expensive equipment that are used for, say, video production or science work...but you said these were for dorms and general labs?) But like I said, that's my opinion. I'd go with more subtle security like the video cameras. (Note - my daughter is going back to college this weekend, so I'm kind of thinking about how it would look to me if I saw something like that in their student labs.)

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