How Orange Crew Can Help Your School

Orange Crew is investing in the infrastructure and education to become the first IT Company operating the MSP model of service to focus on supporting schools in Southern California. Orange Crew is in a very good position to take the lead because of its experience with the schools it currently supports. Contact Orange Crew today to see how we can help!

The toughest challenges faced by charter schools can be solved with a managed service provider. An MSP can provide schools that lack an IT department with a full-service team of professionals, without the expense of training its own staff and management. An increasing number of colleges and universities are taking advantage of managed IT services to augment their IT staff and cost-effectively fill holes in their organizations. Services include help desks, application and network support, IT security, and cloud-based data backup and recovery.

Managed service providers (MSPs) have become an attractive option for educational institutions as they face budget shortfalls and reduced IT budget. This is especially true during the COVID-19 pandemic, when they are relying more on technology for online instruction and remote work. Indeed, a recent EDUCAUSE survey found that 63 percent of colleges had slashed their IT budgets for the 2020-2021 academic year. “Managed services of all types help with organizations’ staffing limitations. They eliminate the need for an upfront capital investment in equipment,” says Amy Larsen DeCarlo, a principal analyst with GlobalData. “The subscription-based model is more predictive. You can budget more accurately, and in areas where organizations have little expertise, such as security, managed IT services can be helpful.” “The adoption of managed services paid dividends last spring when the pandemic forced classes to go virtual. The college was prepared to handle a flood of troubleshooting calls as employees worked remotely and as many faculty and students taught and learned online for the first time. Help desk calls increased 20 to 30 percent during the early days of the pandemic.”

What is the difference between an MSP and an ed-MSP?

Managed services providers are becoming the norm when supporting small businesses such as schools. We have moved away from the one-size-fits-all model of MSPs to a point where we can create a new type of MSP that is mainly focused on education. To show the contrast of what the difference is from traditional MSP to an ed-MSP we start by clarifying that an ed-MSP is and MSP with the additional services that can help school provide its services more efficiently and get the most out of programs.

A traditional MSP should provide the following services:

  • Networking and connectivity management
  • Access Security and content filtering
  • Database Management
  • Licenses and software management
  • User Support
  • User Administration
  • PC and Server maintenance
  • Wi-Fi network configuration and management
  • Data Backup and a Disaster Recovery plan
  • ISP and Vendor Management

Orange Crew is working toward being the first ed-MSP where all our services will be focused on acquiring the knowledge and experience to provide schools a comprehensive solution to tie all its systems together and provide exceptional connectivity and services. Our mission as an ed-MSP is to “Provide a reliable, secure, diverse and modern IT infrastructure to allow easy access to educational tools on any platform.” Where a regular MSP might be mostly concerned with making sure that all systems function properly, they are not focused on the integration and the day-to-day functions educators need to focus on to conduct their daily activities. Orange Crew will focus activities not only to make sure that systems are running but also to provide the support needed to ensure harmonious integration of applications and services. This includes integrations for student account information systems like Aeries or PowerSchool with Google accounts and EduClimber, and a variety of other services. School leaders can stop spending their time troubleshooting students’ device issues and take the time to, instead, for example, think through whether the school’s Chromebook model meets its unique instructional needs. With an IT managed service provider, an assistant principal can spend extra time in classrooms, directly observing, teaching, and learning, and less time, for instance, on the phone with a parent struggling to understand the school’s parent portal and why his username and password combination isn’t working. An ed-MSP will offer all the services a regular MSP offers plus:

  • Chromebook management – Tracking inventory, repair, cleanup, charging, rotation, and maintenance
  • Google students account and group management
  • Education database integration on premise and cloud
  • Student activity monitoring on Chromebooks with Hapara, GoGuardian, Netop, etc.
  • Firewall content filtering and Educational content
  • Wi-Fi traffic segmentation and access security
  • Google Application and classroom applications management
  • Chromebook procurement and deployment
  • Help with E-rate requirements, budgeting, and spending
  • PTA meetings setup and management
  • Time Clock monitoring and maintenance
  • Protecting Student Information privacy
  • Monitoring for At-Risk behavior
  • Student Enrollments
  • Smartboard maintenance and management
  • Projectors and Elmo management and inventory
  • PA systems deployment and maintenance
  • Security Camera deployment and maintenance
  • Manage iPads and other Mobile devices
  • Work around classroom schedule
  • Manage bell system
  • Copier codes and usage allocation
  • State testing preparation and test administration

As for general help desk calls, the MSP has improved response time from days or weeks to just an hour or two. IT MSPs know that planning early is key. From identifying the number of devices, the school will need to repair, replace, and purchase, to figuring out any new room assignments that will require new technology infrastructure, close-out involves much more than turning out the lights, locking the doors, and going home for the summer. An IT MSP, of course, realizes this and can alert school leaders early, even amidst all of their competing priorities, that a number of key technology-related decisions are on the horizon. Rather than hiring full-time staff to meet these specialized needs, universities will save money when hiring IT-managed service provider companies. For instance, higher education institutions do not need a full-time server specialist or desktop support technician. Rather than incurring the ongoing financial burden of recruiting additional staff, colleges and universities can pay a monthly fee for a particular type of IT support or expertise as required via an MSP.