New features in version 4.85!
Within NetSupport DNA, the school IT team can conduct a two-way audio chat session between any number of selected staff or students in full audio mode. Its extended audio support allows one-way talk, listen or full bi-directional audio conversations, as well as seamless streaming of the remote PC’s audible application sounds. A handy tool for providing further support to users – from any location, to any location and without the need to use a phone or 3rd party chat tools.
When using the software distribution tool to deploy software across the school or to publish software to targeted users (allowing them to ‘pull’ it onto their device), IT teams can now view, via a handy report, whether there were any errors during the install or if the applications were installed successfully. This new feature helps ensure that all staff/students have all the required applications and quickly highlights if any users are missing or have not installed available apps, thereby boosting productivity levels. They can also manage automatic retries for packages that have failed to be delivered.
To assist schools returning to a ‘new normal,’ a new AUP is available to use (Health and Social Distancing), helping to promote any new guidance and safety information across the school.
To help School Counselors and members of staff to keep track of which triggered keywords need reviewing (or to let supporting staff know where to pick up if others are on holiday), all new triggers are highlighted as being 'new', and when staff are reviewing them, they can be marked as 'in progress' or 'complete'. Each status has a different color code and users can filter the main view to only show certain statuses (i.e. only show new triggers).
IT teams can choose how NetSupport DNA gets updated across their organisation: automatically updating via a smart update or by an external method, such as GPO or SSCM. This new enhancement helps put the team in control of how and when they want updates to go live.
Several additional optimizations have also been included in this latest release, making NetSupport DNA even easier to use – while bringing further efficiency savings, boosts to productivity levels and security, plus much more, to schools globally! For example, NetSupport DNA now supports up to 10,000 devices, there are new approval requests for USB devices not encrypted with BitLocker, improved Active Directory user profile evaluation – and much more.
New Features in v4.8
The Efficiency View helps schools to see at a glance if their technology is being used efficiently – helping to reduce any wastage. The unique dashboard highlights key areas of efficiency data, such as:
- How many PCs were left on during ‘out of hours’
- The number of unused PCs
- PCs with the lowest spec and disk space
- Most/least used USBs and apps
- Plus more!
Armed with this information, schools can see exactly how their technology is being used and the areas where efficiency can be improved to create cost and time-saving benefits. Plus, compiling this data into one simple-to-read dashboard makes it easy for schools to quickly see the whole picture.
What’s more, the information can be saved and exported as a report, and the data can be displayed for customized dates – making it easy to evidence improvements.
Data Retention Policy
To help schools reduce the amount of data they store, a Data Retention Policy can now be set to delete data over 365 days old (default mode). The policy can be scheduled to run automatically at any time, on any day or at any interval.
The data included in a retention policy includes:
- Internet metering
- Application metering
- Login sessions
- Power on/off sessions
- USB device use
- Print cost data
- Software distribution
- eSafety data:
- Triggered keywords
- Screen recordings
The data can be backed up before the policy runs and emails can be sent to notify staff when the process is about to start.
Extra performance enhancements have been added to the thumbnail view in Explorer mode, making it even quicker and easier to view multiple PCs at once. Meanwhile, the Acceptable Use Policies (AUP) feature now allows policies to be applied to users (in addition to specific devices) for display each time any user logs on (or for one-time display and acknowledgement) – making it easier for staff and students to receive different AUPs where needed.
New Features in v4.75 - OUT NOW
New - Block windows by title
In addition to restricting websites and applications by their specific name, Apps and Games can now be blocked or restricted by their window’s title, helping technicians to add a broader layer of security while keeping students on task. For example an application with the word ‘multi-player’ included in the title can immediately be blocked during school hours but allowed for after schools clubs, if appropriate.
New - Off-site remote control
IT support is no longer confined to the school’s WAN; the remote control features can now support remote schools that are not part of their main infrastructure. Technicians using their DNA Console can connect to a device at another school they support via the secure inbuilt Gateway component. This is a useful tool for multi-academy trusts where support is needed for remote schools that are not part of the same WAN.
New - Spotlight feature
Using Explorer mode, technicians can now use the Spotlight feature to help them see more details about a selected PC (e.g. any applications, services, websites and processes in use), all in a single glance. Services can be stopped and restarted remotely as required. It also provides another way to quickly add applications/websites to blocked lists instead of navigating through to the web or application components and adding them separately.
New - Concurrent logins
In addition to preventing students logging in on multiple devices, when required, a user can now be authorised to log on to multiple PCs at once (between 1 and 5). A useful feature for roaming students or teachers who may have several devices.
New - Performance improvements
NetSupport DNA has had a boost under the covers to significantly improve its performance when working with larger installations.
New - DNA Console administrator’s password
As an extra layer of support for the IT team, the master console password can now be easily reset internally, allowing the IT team to continue its daily tasks without disrupting productivity.
New - Drive space visibility
The drive space available for each device is now visible in the Explorer view as a performance indicator, helping technicians to see at a glance which PCs are running out of space and need to be reviewed.
New - Cloud-based safeguarding console
The Azure-hosted safeguarding view designed to help Online Digital Safety staff access safeguarding alerts on the go, now includes more features and enhancements to further support a school’s safeguarding policy. In addition to viewing triggered safeguarding keywords, contextual intelligence-based risk alerts, reported concerns by a child (from a school device) and the trending topics word cloud, the cloud also includes:
- Multi-language UI: The cloud console is now available in five languages: French, German, Spanish, English and Italian.
- Re-assigning of concerns: A concern can be re-assigned to another member of staff to follow up on – a handy tool for when staff are on vacation, ensuring any concerns are not forgotten or are left unreviewed.
- Student ‘Report a concern’ via the school website A school can now add the student ‘Report a concern’ feature to their own website, allowing students to report any concerns they have to a trusted member of staff via the internet, from any location and device – and at any time of day.
- Teacher ‘Add a concern’: In addition to students being able to report their concerns to a trusted member of staff, teachers can now do the same in situations where they are verbally told of a student’s concern. They can now log the concern in the cloud console.
New Features in v4.7
New - Android Browser App
Adding to the breadth of platforms supported, the new Android Browser app now allows schools to monitor and manage Android device activity. It provides IT technicians with the tools to gather a full hardware/software inventory from Android devices and enables real-time monitoring via thumbnails view, as well as including student ‘Report a Concern’, phrase monitoring, internet safety resources, chat and message features.
The data collected is sent dynamically to the local NetSupport DNA server and is then available for reporting within the Console.
New - NetSupport Browser app for iOS
This mobile Browser app (for iOS 9.3 and above) brings together the functionality previously available separately in the NetSupport DNA Browser and NetSupport School Student apps – making app use simpler and more streamlined for users of NetSupport DNA or NetSupport School, or both!
If NetSupport DNA is installed, the following features are supported by the Browser app: hardware inventory, internet metering and restrictions, thumbnails view, MDM deployment/configuration, phrase monitoring, internet safety resources and student ‘Report a Concern’.
If NetSupport School is installed, the following features are supported: chat, message, survey mode, Q&A mode, thumbnails view, lock screen, lesson details, student register, internet metering and restrictions (NEW to Student part).
Enhancements - Mac Agent
The Mac Agent already provides inventory and real-time monitoring, plus internet safety features. However, this latest update includes improved deployment using third-party tools such Apple Remote Desktop – making it even easier to set up and configure your school’s Mac devices.
Enhancements - Windows
A whole host of enhancements has been added to the Windows version of NetSupport DNA based on customer feedback and requests. Just some of these include: detecting whether volumes on hard drives/USB drives are encrypted (BitLocker); and enabling power management and internet metering features to be set to 15-minute intervals, rather than 30 minutes. The ‘Find PC/Users’ tool now automatically selects matching entries in the hierarchy (as searches are no longer case sensitive); and the Chat feature shows the username of the logged-in user (not just the PC name). Plus, the new ‘Search Facility’ added into Software Packages makes it easier to find what you are looking for; and the install date of Hotfixes is now shown in a devices Software Inventory – helping to highlight which devices have received updates.
For school counselors there have been improvements made to the ‘Review triggered phrases’ interface to make reviewing items simpler – plus, the world cloud can now show colour coded triggered phrases based on word priority, to make it easier to spot high-risk trending keywords.
Internet Safety in v4.7
New - Cloud-based internet safety console
NetSupport DNA moves to the cloud with a new Azure-hosted internet safety view. Designed to help school councilors access internet safety alerts on the go, the new safeguarding cloud stores data from the school's network, allowing internet safety staff to view triggered internet safety keywords, new contextual intelligence-based risk alerts, reported concerns by a child and the trending topics word cloud. The cloud is fully secure and does not contain any webcam images that may have been taken on the school's network.
The new cloud module also includes a smartphone-optimised UI to allow internet safety staff to quickly search for a specific child and review any recent alerts or concerns.
New - Contextual intelligence-based Risk Index
Unique to NetSupport DNA, the new contextual intelligence-based Risk Index automatically flags high-risk events and vulnerable students, based on sophisticated contextual AI risk analysis. It assesses the context and history of a child’s activities on the school's network – from the devices used, time of day, and websites visited (including previous alerts they may have triggered) – and, from this information, creates a numerical risk index. A high-risk index could result if a child has repeatedly researched a internet safety topic (e.g. suicide) out of hours, in an unmonitored setting such as the library. A lower index rating could result from a student searching a lower risk keyword in a local application during school hours that may have been used for curriculum topics.
All the monitoring and assessment of these alerts is done locally by the school (no third-party services are required) and so the data is fully secure. This allows staff to focus on high-risk alerts (where there is more likely to be a genuine risk) and allows them to apply their professional judgement.
New Features in v4.6
Enhanced - Activity Monitoring
In addition to providing a single time-based summary of all activity by a specific user, PC or department presented in a chronological view, new enhancements now allows for the data to be viewed in graphical timelines, providing an even quicker and easier way to view activity. This time-saving feature means that technicians don’t have to look at each area separately and can instead see the full picture of activity, at a glance in one location.
Enhanced - Internet Restrictions
NetSupport DNA now allows you to create multiple approved/restricted websites lists which can be assigned to specific profiles. This means dedicated internet settings can be applied to specific departments and year groups.
Enhanced - Filtering List
This now includes the Counter Terrorism Internet Referral Unit (CTIRU) list which can be enabled/disabled. The content from these sites will not be shown when searched for, however the search terms are recorded allowing the school to see what keywords/trends are occurring.
New - System Error Alerts
When a system error occurs (GPFS etc) NetSupport DNA now triggers a system error alert to capture the error message. The alerts can be configured to capture a screenshot, record screen and run an application.
This extra functionality has also been applied to PC alerts, allowing you to choose what happens when any alert is triggered.
New - Custom Images
To help find items in the Hierarchy Tree view easily, you can apply custom images to departments, dynamic groups, PCs and Users.
New Features in v4.5
One of the most common issues for IT technicians is students forgetting their passwords. Now, teachers can take on the role of resetting passwords directly from the DNA Agent icon situated in their task bar, allowing the students quicker access to their devices and lesson disruption to be kept to a minimum.
Report a Concern – profiles
DNA’s Report a Concern settings have now been enhanced to allow schools to select which teachers are available for students to report concerns to via Profiles. This is especially useful for schools in multi-academy trusts, who can simply select the relevant profile displaying the safeguarding contacts for their own school.
New and enhanced platform support in v4.5
NetSupport DNA has extended its support to include iOS, Chrome – as well as enhancing its Mac OS X support – to help schools control, monitor and support users in a multi-platform environment.
- iOS Browser app
The iOS Browser app within NetSupport DNA (v4.5 and above) now allows schools to monitor and manage iOS device activity. It provides IT technicians with the tools to gather a full hardware inventory from iOS devices and enables real-time monitoring – using icon, details or thumbnail views.
A detailed summary of all internet activity is provided, enabling technicians to monitor and control which websites students can access, by applying lists of approved and restricted URLs. Keyword and phrase monitoring are also available, with alerts being sent to the appropriate staff to review and follow up on – further supporting a school’s internet safety policy. To ensure students only use the monitored browser, schools can use an MDM solution to lock down other browsers being used. Students are also able to access the online resources list, enabling them source help and advice independently, plus students can report their concerns in confidence to a trusted member of staff via the Report a Concern option.
- Mac Agent – enhanced
The Mac agent now allows IT technicians to enable real-time monitoring (using icon, details or thumbnail views) and gather a full hardware and software inventory from the Agent machine, as well as receive hardware and software alerts – helping them to respond quickly and minimize any issues. To help monitor and safeguard students when using the internet, a detailed summary of all internet activity is provided. Keyword and phrase monitoring are also available with alerts being sent to the appropriate internet safety lead to review and follow up on - further supporting a school’s internet safety policy. Meanwhile, students who may have a concern are also able to report it in confidence to a trusted member of staff via the Report a Concern option. The chosen member of staff is instantly alerted when a concern is raised and can then track it and record any follow-up actions directly from within NetSupport DNA. Students are also able to access the online internet safety resources list, enabling them source help and advice independently.
- Chrome Agent*
IT technicians can now gather a full hardware inventory from Chrome devices and enable real-time monitoring – using icon, details or thumbnail views, to gain an overview of current activity, as well as receive hardware and software alerts. They can also access the activity monitoring tool which provides a single time-based summary of all activity by a specific user, PC or department., presented in a chronological view. Tools to support a school’s internet safety policy are also included. Students using a Chrome device can now report their concerns in confidence to a trusted member of staff via the Report a Concern option. The chosen member of staff is instantly alerted when a concern is raised and can then track it and record any follow-up actions directly from within NetSupport DNA. Keyword and phrase monitoring are also available with alerts being sent to the appropriate staff to review and follow up on.
- Teacher ‘Add a concern’
In addition to students being able to report their concerns from any school PC to a trusted member of staff, teachers can now do the same in situations where they are verbally told of a student’s concern. They can now log the concern via the ‘Add concern’ button on the navigation tab. Just like the students, the teacher can select which member of staff they would like to report the concern to, enabling the selected staff member to track the concern, re-assign it and record any follow-up actions directly from within NetSupport DNA.
Not only does it help to stop any incidents recorded onto pieces of paper from going missing, but it helps prevent the concern being forgotten about or not being reported/recorded in the correct manner.
- Webcam enabled
When a concerning keyword is copied, typed or searched for across the network, NetSupport DNA now enables active webcams (this feature is turned-off by default) to capture an image of the user – in addition to logging the event and providing a recording and screen shot of the incident. This helps schools to identify the person activating the keywords and enables them to react to the situation more quickly.
- False Alarm
If a safeguarding keyword is triggered and reviewed as a false alarm, a 'false alarm' note can be added allowing the reviewer to provide more details as to why they deem it a false alarm. It may also help other staff understand why is has been marked as a false alarm and helps demonstrate the keyword has been reviewed fully.
- Activity Monitoring
NetSupport DNA now provides a single time-based summary of all activity by a specific user, PC or department. Presented in a chronological view, it shows technicians what time the logon session began and ended, as well as exactly what applications were used and when, internet usage and any triggered keywords – over a set time period. This time-saving feature means that technicians now don’t have to look at each area separately and can instead see the full picture of activity, at a glance in one location. For example, if there was a specific internet safety event, a technician or internet safety lead could review exactly what took place before and after the incident occurred.
To provide maximum flexibility and to help save time, NetSupport DNA allows you to create multiple profiles for different groups of devices or users (i.e. year group or department level), each with its specific component settings. This means dedicated settings (such as internet access) can be applied to specific year groups, allowing the schools to implement age-appropriate monitoring and restrictions.
- Logon Control
Helping to boost security, NetSupport DNA now prevent users from logging on to more than one PC at a time. The user can be prevented from logging on to a second PC while still logged on the original PC – or they can log on to the second PC and be automatically logged out of the first PC.
IT staff are alerted of users who are simultaneously logged into multiple PCs. Following these alerts, IT technicians are able to log the user out and follow up to ensure the login credentials are not being misused.
- Locate a User
NetSupport DNA allows anyone with a DNA agent installed on their machine (if the feature is enabled) to locate another logged-on user and then send them a message. This may be useful for staff members that do not have the NetSupport DNA Console installed, but need to find and contact other users in the school, for example getting a message to a teacher at short notice.
NetSupport DNA allows you to create and place bookmarks within the PCs, Users and Devices Tree views. This may be useful if you have a large or complex Tree structure, as it allows you to quickly navigate to the place you want to work with.
Enhancements in v4.5
Console security – enhanced
To help save time, a reset option is now available to allow the Console user to reset their password if their account has been locked out (and specific criteria are met).
Explorer – enhanced
To give technicians a more accurate overview of device activity, we’ve increased the thumbnail refresh rate speed to ensure all view modes are up-to-date. In addition, the Explorer mode is now available from the Users Tree view, so that they are able to see data from users – as well as what profiles have been assigned.
A new filter tool can be used to only show logged on users within the explorer view, so that PCs powered on but not in use are excluded from views. In the details mode, Performance data such as real-time network traffic, CPU and memory uses for each PC is now displayed to help give an instant view of network health.
New Features in v4.4
IT Asset Management solution, NetSupport DNA, now includes even more features to support the effective management of school technology. The new version delivers yet more cost and time-saving tools, increases security even further, plus helps schools meet the latest government internet safety requirements.
Raising the product’s security capabilities, a secure Vault component allows storage of serial numbers, passwords and any other confidential IT data. Access to the Vault can be restricted to specific console users and activity can be recorded against the central DNA audit trail to help prevent against any unauthorised views or amends.
Security is boosted further by the addition of the powerful system audit component. This will track all selected console activity by staff, records when policies or settings are changed, entries are added or deleted or where rights are changed for any DNA user – so technicians have a record of what has happened and when.
To save even more time, powerful Remote Control and monitoring features from screen viewing to transferring files and more, have been added to NetSupport DNA as standard. Administrators no longer have to manually visit each site or computer but can from one central location, manage and control all computers - providing further time savings, especially for multi-site schools, academies and Trusts.
Remote management tools
Adding to the remote control and monitoring features within NetSupport DNA, the latest version also allows you to run command line instructions and scripts at Agent PCs using Remote Command Prompt or PowerShell; and remotely view and edit the Registry, making remote device management even easier.
New internet safety language packs
Within the database of pre-supplied internet safety keywords and phrases, language packs are also included as standard to support schools with students learning English as an additional language (EAL). Now teachers and internet safety leads will be able to extend their internet safety provision to a wider group of students, as the packs allow them to see and monitor phonetic representations of what students are typing in languages other than English. In addition to English, French, German, Spanish, Czech, Slovak, Romanian and Portuguese, NetSupport DNA also includes language packs for Latvian, Lithuanian, Urdu and Polish.
‘Urgent’ keyword category
We’ve also delivered an important addition to our internet safety module by creating an “urgent” category in the keyword and phrase monitoring priority list. This tool already provides a school with insight into and alerts from any activity by a student that might suggest the child is engaged in activity that would place them at risk. Using a database of pre-supplied keywords and phrases covering a range of topics from self-harm, bullying and racism through to risks of radicalisation, the school can set individual severity levels to control the outcome when a word or phrase is matched - from a screenshot to a video recording of the event.
A new video recording option is also included within the keyword and phrase monitoring feature. When a internet safety keyword is triggered, in addition to a simple log of the activity, through to capturing a screenshot of the triggered event, NetSupport DNA will now automatically record a video of the student’s screen activity when triggered – allowing internet safety staff to see in detail what they’ve been up to and allow them to take action more quickly.
Extended multi-site support
For larger multi-site schools, academies and Trusts, NetSupport DNA’s enhanced data queue allows incoming data from the DNA agents to be quickly processed by the server, reducing the lag time between agent and console. This ensures the console data is always refreshed, providing an up-to-date overview of all activity - no matter how many IT assets you're managing.
Optimised query tool
Within the reporting tool, new totalling options have been added, providing greater flexibility on custom reporting. Questions now include a range of new options for totalling custom reports, like setting a max value.
This helps to identify the largest value within your custom search more efficiently, saving you time by avoiding a manual search.
Database Maintenance - New Data Size tab
The database maintenance utility allows the administrator to easily maintain and cleanse various parts of the DNA database, from deleting data, PCs and applications to importing data files. The latest version now includes a new Data Size tab as the first option. This tab displays the number of records and data size for internet metering, application metering and eSafety (phrase matches, screen shots and screen recordings) providing you with the information needed to keep your NetSupport DNA database at a manageable size.