NetSupport DNA provides a wealth of IT and network management tools with online safety features to help schools manage their edtech and safeguard students – all from one central point.
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There are three main components of NetSupport DNA:
- The server: this is used to add, store and manage information in the DNA database.
- The console: this is used by IT technicians to view information.
- The agent: this is installed on each device you want to monitor.
After you have installed the server module, the deployment tool will automatically discover and install the DNA agent on targeted devices across your school – and it supports up to 10,000 of them!
The DNA console (installed by the IT technician) then starts collecting and reporting on real-time data from the agents.
An additional gateway component is included as standard for linking multiple schools or campuses – plus, NetSupport DNA will also link with your school’s existing Active Directory (if present, including single sign-on) and includes the ability to profile department access and administrative features by console user.
Once NetSupport DNA is installed and operational in your school, it will constantly monitor the network to identify and alert you to any new devices (and SNMP-enabled network devices such as switches and printers) that join, providing the option to automatically deploy an agent for future management.
You can choose how NetSupport DNA gets updated across your school: automatically updating via a smart update or by an external method, such as GPO or SSCM. This helps put your IT team in control of how and when you want updates to go live.
Track, monitor and manage
The Welcome dashboard shows you an overview of key IT activity, so you can see at a glance what is happening across the school. You can also switch to the Efficiency View; a dashboard that highlights how your technology is being used and the areas where efficiency can be improved to create cost- and time-saving benefits.
A convenient Tree view means you can quickly display data for a PC, user, device or discovered PC. By default, the Tree will reflect the structure of your work group/domain, but you can customise it to suit individual requirements, for example, grouping by geographical location or department.
Dynamic grouping: NetSupport DNA also features Dynamic Groups. You can define the parameters of a dynamic group and it is automatically added to the main hierarchy Tree. A dynamic group could, for example, be to identify which classroom PCs are upgradeable and this would be created automatically from those that match the required criteria, e.g. “all PCs with more than ‘XX’ GB RAM, ‘XX’ GB free disk space and XX processor type” and so on.
Bookmarks: You can create and place bookmarks within the PCs, users and devices Tree views to quickly navigate to the place you want to work with, which is really useful if you have a large or complex Tree structure.
Custom images: To help find users/items in the hierarchy Tree view easily, you can also apply custom images to departments, dynamic groups, PCs and users.
NetSupport DNA provides one of the most comprehensive and detailed hardware inventory components available on the market today. It gathers a wealth of information from each device, from CPU and BIOS types, to network, video and storage data.
You can also generate inventory reports for a single PC, a selected department, just teacher’s or a specific classroom PC, or condition-based Dynamic Groups.
Another handy feature is that NetSupport DNA makes it easy for you to record the lease and maintenance contracts associated with your school devices or peripherals – including supplier details, contract expiry dates and costs – so all the information can be kept together.
You can configure it to run hardware inventory updates at different times throughout the day or at start-up and you can refresh the data instantly on demand. To make things even more flexible, you can use DNA’s standalone inventory component on non-networked or mobile devices and in addition, high value peripherals can also be associated and recorded against a device; perfect for keeping track of school assets.
Software Inventory and Licensing
Schools can better manage licence compliance and reduce software overspend by accurately reporting installed software and proactively identifying PCs with software that has no or low usage.
NetSupport DNA shows you a detailed summary of all programs and applications installed on each PC (including Windows 8 and 10 store apps), alongside the install date of hotfixes to highlight which devices have received updates. NetSupport DNA can display this information for a selected PC, a department or a custom group.
The software licence tool supports the ongoing management of all software licences for each department: recording suppliers, purchase and invoice details, department or cost centre allocation and the tracking of maintenance contacts as well as storing PDF copies of any supporting documents.
Software Application Metering
With Application Metering, you can report on all applications used by a PC, logged-on user or server – detailing the time the application was started and finished, as well as the actual time it was active. Lists of approved and restricted applications, together with times when restrictions apply, can be created and enforced centrally.
Monitoring application use ensures your software licences are assigned to the right staff and students and aren’t renewed without evidence of application activity – helping your school to save money!
Naturally, the key to supporting an effective online safety policy and safe learning environment is providing effective controls.
With NetSupport DNA, you can manage your school’s internet use with lists of approved and restricted websites and/or sub-URLs that can be applied centrally and to specific groups (via profiles) such as departments and year groups. You can also control internet access by time of day, perhaps only allowing access to approved gaming sites for school clubs outside of hours, for example.
You can see a detailed summary of all internet activity on each PC by a student, including start and finish times for each website visited and the active time spent on a page (results can be reviewed by device or user).
Apps and games can also be blocked or restricted by their window’s title, helping your school 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.
NetSupport DNA features an extremely powerful Alerting suite. The system automatically notifies you when any number of changes occurs across the school network. You can also create an unlimited number of your own custom alerts:
System alerts: These identify any changes within the data gathered by NetSupport DNA across the school, including alerts for things like new PCs added, changes in hardware, a new application installed/removed and so on.
PC alerts: These identify real-time changes or conditions that occur on a specific PC, such as: CPU utilisation exceeding XX% for XX minutes; free disk space falling below XX%; a key service stops (e.g. antivirus); print spooler alerts; security alerts (e.g. failed login attempts on a teacher’s PC); and if keyboards or mice are unplugged.
Error alerts: When a system error occurs (GPFS etc), NetSupport DNA also triggers a system error alert to record the error message and you can configure these to capture a screenshot, screen recording and run an application. You can also do this with PC alerts, allowing you to choose what happens when any alert is triggered.
Alert notifications can be directed to specified email recipients and/or active console users (on a per alert basis, so the nature of the alert may dictate which operators are notified). In addition, any outstanding alerts are identified against matching PCs on the main Hierarchy Tree view. Once alerts have been identified, operators can add any notes. A full history of all alerts is accessible from the History feature.
NetSupport DNA provides a multi-delivery option for software distribution.
A software distribution package is created by either applying parameters to a collection of files or folders or by using the DNA application packager – recording the user prompts, keystrokes and mouse clicks that are used during a test installation, and then automating these on a live deployment to bypass the need for operator intervention.
Once created, the application package can be automatically “pushed” to the target PCs in the school for deployment or, alternatively, it can be “published”. Once published, a user can check to see which applications are available for their PC, based on their faculty, and “pull” these down on demand.
NetSupport DNA also includes a Scheduling feature that allows packages to be deployed on a specific date and time – usually out of core school hours when network traffic is at its lowest.
With remote deployments such as multi-site schools, the need to minimise network traffic congestion becomes a priority. In this case, NetSupport DNA allows a client PC, ideally local to the target machines, to be nominated as a distribution point. When the software is deployed, rather than being sent to each remote PC directly, it is just sent to the designated PC which then acts as a relay and redistributes it to its local PCs.
IT teams can also view a handy report that shows whether there were any errors during the install or if the applications were installed successfully. This feature helps you ensure that all staff/students have all the applications they need and quickly highlights whether any users are missing apps or have not installed any apps that are available to them, thereby boosting productivity levels. Plus, the ‘Search facility’ added into Software Packages makes it easier to find what you are looking for!
This is a unique dashboard that helps your school to see at a glance if technology is being used efficiently – helping to reduce any wastage. It highlights key areas of efficiency data, such as:
- How many PCs were left on out of school hours
- The number of unused PCs
- PCs with the lowest spec and disk space
- Most/least used USBs and apps – and more!
Armed with this information, your school can see exactly how its edtech 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 to see the whole picture.
What’s more, the information can be saved and exported as a report, with data displayed for customised dates – making it easy to evidence improvements.
Energy Monitoring and Power Management
Energy saving is a big area of focus for schools and NetSupport DNA helps in two ways:
Energy Monitoring: First of all, NetSupport DNA checks the powered-on state of all computers. Its local monitoring component and keeps an accurate record of each time a computer is powered on, off or hibernates. Once it knows the times of day each computer was operational, it uses a “power consumption per device” calculation to work out the baseline energy use for all computers. Armed with this information, your school can now see a simple and concise high-level summary of potential energy wastage by office and classroom computer systems that are left powered on out of school hours.
Power Management: With this information to hand, you can now set Power Management policies. Computers in selected classrooms can be set to automatically power off at a specified time at the end of each day and then power back on – all at once, or in stages – the next morning. In addition, you can apply “inactivity policies”: setting rules for systems to sleep, log out or power down if they have been inactive over a period of time.
NetSupport DNA gives you a full overview of printing activities and indicative costs across your school.
Individual printers across the school are automatically identified and, from the central console view, costs for printing (black and white, colour and so on) can be assigned either globally or against each different printer. Where required, you can also exclude printers from the view.
NetSupport DNA gives you a simple and effective solution to manage USB memory stick use that helps maintain the security of your school network.
Memory stick use can be controlled across the entire school or just for specific departments, staff or students. You can allow full access, block all access, allow read-only access or prevent applications being run from an unknown memory stick. Alternatively, you can “authorise” individual memory sticks in NetSupport DNA – for the current day, a week or indefinitely – and the use of USB sticks in the school can also be limited to only those authorised. To further enhance school online security, DNA includes approval requests for USB devices not encrypted with BitLocker.
A program administrator can connect a memory stick to their local PC and then authorise its use within the DNA console for either a given department or a specific teacher. Teachers or students who connect an unauthorised memory stick to their PC can also request remote authorisation where appropriate. Not only does NetSupport DNA identify both removable (memory stick) and portable (mobile phone, tablet, camera) storage devices, it also provides similar usage controls over CD and DVD devices (including USB and virtual). It also detects whether volumes on hard drives/USB drives are encrypted (BitLocker).
Powerful Remote Control features as also included as standard in NetSupport DNA – with everything from screen viewing and transferring files, to remote PowerShell where sessions to can be run as a specific user, Command Prompt and Registry Editor – to make remote device management even easier.
The remote control features also support schools that are not part of their trust’s/district’s main infrastructure. Via the DNA Console, you can connect to a device at another school you support by using the secure in-built Gateway component. This is a useful tool for multi-academy trusts/districts where support is needed for remote schools that are not part of the same WAN.
NetSupport DNA provides both on-screen and print-optimised reporting for individual devices, users, departments and dynamic groups.
These on-screen reports/views provide supporting bar and pie charts and “live” drill down capabilities on all key summary data. Print-optimised reports are designed for management reporting and can automatically be scheduled for creation and output to a specified file location. All reports include the option for you to print or export to PDF, DOC and XLS.
NetSupport also supports custom views for all data – and the Query Tool provides you with an easy interface for defining custom views. It uses a simple drag and drop field picker, supported with conditions and sum-based features.
It’s a huge task, but conducting a tech audit for your school will reveal IT activity – from where devices are located and how often they are used, to which devices are to be upgraded, updated, repurposed, or retired – as well as the solutions, processes and protocols that do or don’t work – setting you on a clear path to planning your new learning environments. With NetSupport DNA, all this information is at your fingertips!
Provided as a supporting tool for NetSupport DNA, you can download the mobile app free from the Google Play and Apple app stores. The app allows you, when away from their desk, to search for and view a detailed hardware and software inventory, a history of all hardware changes, plus any software installs or removals for any PC on campus. It also highlights any new PC alerts that have triggered across the school network.
The mobile app also includes a QR code scanner to help instantly identify any PC, either from an on-screen QR code displayed by DNA, or from a label fixed to the device. NetSupport DNA also provides a QR code label creation facility, including displaying custom details.
Gain a real-time summary of all your PCs using Explorer mode. You can view the selected PCs in three formats – Icon, Details or Thumbnail view – and refresh these at time intervals of your choice, e.g. instantly, every five or ten seconds and so on (also available via the Users Tree view). You can also use the notification filter across all three display modes to highlight the PCs with any active notifications within the chosen time period.
Thumbnail view: The chosen PC screens (including multiple monitors) are visible and give you an overview of current activity. Simply change the thumbnail size to suit your needs. For selected departments (i.e. finance or teachers), you can even set privacy modes so the thumbnail is blurred.
Icon view: Displaying the selected PCs as icons is another useful option for viewing large numbers of PCs at a glance, highlighting OS platforms, and any with active notifications.
Details view: Drilling down further, the Details view displays all of the selected PC’s details in a list with any active notifications highlighted, allowing for easy identification of PCs that may need immediate attention. This view also provides a visual summary of all active policies applied to each PC and performance data such as real-time network traffic, CPU and memory. In addition, by right-clicking on any PC, an operator can launch on-the-fly PC-specific features such as power on/off, chat, remote control, send messages and more.
Using Explorer mode, you can use the Spotlight feature to see more details about a selected PC (e.g. any applications, services, websites and processes in use), 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.
NetSupport DNA provides a single time-based summary of all activity by a specific user, PC or department. Presented in a chronological view, it shows you what time the logon session began and ended, as well as exactly what applications were used and when, internet usage and any triggered safeguarding keywords – over a set time period. This time-saving feature means that IT 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.
NetSupport DNA contains a secure Vault component, so you can store serial numbers, passwords or any other confidential IT data securely and with confidence. You can restrict access to the vault to specific console users and any activity can be recorded against the central DNA audit trail.
DNA Console administrator’s password
As an extra layer of support for your IT team, the master console password can now be easily reset internally, allowing the IT team members to continue their daily tasks without disruption.
One of the main concerns for schools is building up a picture of their data, i.e. how it is collected, used, shared and stored. This task can be extremely time-consuming so, in the first instance, schools should talk to other staff members to check whether they are aware of what data they have and where it is.
However, NetSupport DNA can help you to swiftly discover the information your school has, protect personal data and help to prevent data breaches – in half the time!
NetSupport DNA provides a range of features to locate and manage your users within a networked environment. In addition to key user data (name, telephone etc), it also provides your school with the ability to customise the data that is gathered and collated from each device, including tracking of user acceptance forms. NetSupport DNA also records any changes to custom user details and retains them for reference, including the following fields: Staff Number, Location, Asset Tag and Owner.
Enforce Acceptable Use Policies
NetSupport DNA provides a flexible module to support the delivery and tracking of AUPs across your school. You can apply policies either to users or specific devices (e.g. PCs in the library) for display each time any user logs on, or to users for one-time display and acknowledgement. The Acceptable Use Policy feature can support multiple policies (e.g. separate staff/student templates), which you can format for clear presentation. Full tracking and exception reporting is also provided.
To help schools to return to a ‘new normal,’ a new AUP is available to use (Health and Social Distancing) to help promote any new guidance and safety information across the school.
To provide maximum flexibility and 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 you can apply dedicated settings (such as internet access) to specific year groups, allowing your school to implement age-appropriate monitoring and restrictions.
From the Tree view, you can select the staff/students you need and then view the component data for them, e.g. looking at the items such as application usage statistics, the memory status of the devices or even the eSafety keywords – a more flexible and efficient way to carry out specific tasks on multiple staff/student devices.
To drill down even more, from Explorer mode, you can select a group of staff/students based on more detailed criteria (e.g. a combination of departments/year groups, or a group/individual staff and/or student) to perform actions such as messaging – saving you time and delivering extra convenience!
Whether it’s running PowerShell cmdlets or getting the processes running on local or remote devices, NetSupport DNA now allows you to do this on multiple devices simultaneously to make the task more efficient.
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.
In addition to preventing students logging in on multiple devices, when required, a user can now be authorised to log on to up to five PCs at once. This is a useful feature for roaming students or teachers who may have several devices.
And if users are simultaneously logged into multiple PCs, NetSupport DNA will alert you. Following these alerts, you can review and decide whether to log the user out and follow up with them to ensure the login credentials are not being misused.
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 taskbar, allowing the students quicker access to their devices and lesson disruption to be kept to a minimum.
Within NetSupport DNA, the IT team can conduct a two-way 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. It’s a really handy tool for providing further support to users.
Cloud-based Teaching tools with Online Safety (*optional with additional cost)
classroom.cloud is a focused teaching, classroom management and online safety tool. Cloud-based and easy to use, it helps teachers monitor and instruct in a school classroom or with remote learners – while the school can create a safe learning environment. It also comes with a Technician Toolkit, helping the IT team to maximise their school’s technology.
Classroom Management (*optional with additional cost)
NetSupport School is the market-leading classroom management and instruction solution, providing a wealth of monitoring, control, collaboration and assessment features to help maximise the benefits of technology-led teaching – supporting all students’ learning styles.
Working seamlessly across all types of platforms and devices – and specifically designed in consultation with teachers to meet their needs in the classroom – it’s no wonder NetSupport School is the complete classroom management solution of choice.
ServiceDesk (*optional with additional cost)
Easily integrated into your existing IT infrastructure, NetSupport ServiceDesk delivers the processes needed to help you effortlessly track, organise, manage and answer the toughest support challenges. Its fully customisable and intuitive browser-based interface supports both desktop and mobile platforms and delivers robust workflow processes. It also supplies a wealth of management reports as well as providing a customer-friendly self-service portal – all the tools needed to help technicians deliver support effectively.
Mass Notification and Alerting
Schools are fast realising the benefits of using mass notification solutions such as NetSupport Notify to boost school communication and support their emergency and lockdown procedures.
Using NetSupport Notify, schools can communicate effectively with staff and students using one-way alerts and notifications – sending them to desktop users and large information panels in halls and foyers. Alerts automatically take screen focus, meaning they can’t be hidden, ignored or saved for later (even on locked screens). The notifications can even be targeted to select groups and scheduled for maximum impact.