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MIS Systems Thread, What do you want from your MIS system in Technical; My approach to this is to try to think of the users of the system - what would they appreciate ...
  1. #16

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    My approach to this is to try to think of the users of the system - what would they appreciate and want? In my limited experience they want something easy, intuitive, apparently non-technical (of course there'll be a load of complex stuff behind the interface, but...). They need access to the info and data without admin or tech help. In an ideal world it would be so obvious that they wouldn't need training.

    I agree with others who are suggesting integration - anything that makes the experince of using the ICT system in the school seamless just has to be a good thing.

  2. #17

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    Matt, yes I am serious. I don't blame you if you can't be bothered to read this respone, its alot longer than I anticipated..

    I'm not sure why your mentioning Outlook but in the real world teachers do walk away from machines without locking them. Its as simple as that. The whole "admin" machine thing doesn't stack up anymore I'm afraid. A teacher wants / needs to access the MIS where ever they log in; be it in their office, classroom or from home. Capitas current offering to protect your database easily when you have a lot of users is a joke.

    Of course you can say its a training issue but so is turning off the projector, lights and locking the door at the end of the day; a minority will still do it from time to time. It only takes one incident for this to really blow up in your face.

    I'll try and explain why we have issues with the software as it stands.. We have nearly 90 classrooms each with a teacher desktop at the front of the room, (lots of machine with Sims installed in areas easily accessible to students,though only staff can log into these computers) registration is taken from these machines with Sims, every lesson, every day. Teachers do get distracted, maybe they walk off down the corridor for 5 mins to collect print outs or whatever and don't/forget to lock it.. little Johnny walks up and fills his boots, modifies his record, deletes his negative behaviour marks etc - you name it. Can IT trace whats been done to the databse easily? No. Can IT force users to all change SQL`passwords if we feel a staff password has become common knowledge? No. Would AD trusted logs help us here? No. Could the above happen at your school? If not then please explain how you prevent it.

    Idle timeouts / auto locking fails in the classroom as many teachers want to display static content on whiteboards for very long periods of time..they dont want the machine locking half way through a lesson.. your left setting an idle timer so long that it renders it pointless. What is this "other good stuff" that I am clearly in the dark about?

    BTW, I have found out from Capita direct about System Manager 7 which is due for release next year. You'll be pleased to know that not one of the features I mention being useful are included nor are they on the roadmap at the moment. However, not all is lost. It will run directly in the Sims window and have a nice pretty colour scheme looking at the beta screen shots so thats good news for all!

    I am pointing out fairly obvious security issues that IT staff face in schools using their product. If they don't concern your school then I struggle to see how. Why must we still reset each SQL user manually in System Manager? why can't we force the login box to check the user actually knows the AD credentials for the account currently logged in when launching the software? Why is there no audit trail? (that alone is ridiculous - Serco Facility had this functionality in 1999) If you honestly believe your teachers NEVER act like the above in your school then fair play you must have some great people there.. or your deluded
    Last edited by ssiruuk2; 17th November 2010 at 07:46 PM.

  3. #18

    matt40k's Avatar
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    I think you don't fully understand the situation. Firstly Microsoft recommends Windows authentication, SQL logins are old school, it's a legacy factor to be honest and ALOT less secure. I would support Capita if they dropped them completely to be honest, it's just another pain to deal with. Most teachers will login to SIMS and STAY logged on. Closing SIMS and re-opening SIMS is time consuming and it means features like Messages etc become useless.

    If a teacher is logged on and a student gets on the pc the damage is done, they can email the office and ask them to give someone an after school detention, change there report (as they're normally exported to Word so they can work on them at home), surf the internet will less\no filtering. There is more things that can be done, but I don't want to give the little people ideas

    The best advice and training is to teach them Windows Logo + L, this locks the computer, it takes, what 2 secs? It's going to be faster then closing SIMS.

    I completely hate the idea of having yet another password for the same "system" (ie 3 passwords for work - I don't think you should use the same password as your home email however!).


    Bulk changing passwords, err why? It should be set to expire regularly, I admit there may be some times that you may want to do it, but lets face it, Windows Logins - job sorted.


    Get users to login again, why? It's pointless, they've already logged in!! It's like say every 3 mins you have to re-login. Your just going to annoy users.


    Anyway, enough of me ranting about a sore subject. I'm set in stone that SIMS should use Windows authentication, teachers open SIMS in the morning and close at the end of the day and lock the machine when they leave it, regardless if someones in the room. Period.

  4. #19
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    Matt is pretty much right, the only real solution is telling users to lock the screen whenever they leave the computer. Working in an IT environment this is second nature but not so much for non - geeky types . If you worked for MI5 and you walked away from your screen without locking it first you'd get a warning, then you'd get fired!

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    Quote Originally Posted by scholarpack View Post
    If you worked for MI5 and you walked away from your screen without locking it first you'd get a warning, then you'd get fired!
    Leaving your laptop on a train, or USB drive, is fine however.

  6. #21

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    Quote Originally Posted by ssiruuk2 View Post
    AD Integration (as it stands) is far worse in my opinion than SQL logins. Teacher walks away and leaves a machine logged in .. student walks up .. double click on the Sims icon and he/she can fill their boots. Not good!

    I want to be able to either bulk reset SQL logins or prompt for the AD integrated login.. someone please prove me wrong but I dont think its posible at the moment.
    As Matt has said, modify your scenario with adding "teacher logs into MIS with ultra secure SQL login" just before the bit about 'Teacher walks away...' and your argument falls over. If real world teachers are unreliable, then they are still just that. Unless SIMS locks down after a period of inactivity, we have to implement some training on locking the computer, and put in a mandatory lockout after a set period if they really wont learn.. or use the MI5 solution......

    Quote Originally Posted by scholarpack View Post
    ... If you worked for MI5 and you walked away from your screen without locking it first you'd get a warning, then you'd get fired!
    .. literally..at point blank range
    I mean it's an easy mistake for us to make; the MIS solution and the MI5 solution could easily be mixed up if we choose the font carefully. ;P

  7. #22
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    Our product logs you out after 15 mins of inactivity. We get loads of complaints about this being far too short a time so we've had to stick in an admin tool that allows schools to extend the time-out period to whatever they want - and they do. As a teacher myself, I know that many of my colleagues are far too lax and undisciplined when it comes to password security and good practise; a number of times I've gone into a classroom and found that the previous teacher had walked out leaving himself logged in to the machine - CMIS, email, the lot. I've know one teacher tell a kid his username and password to log in to CMIS Facility so the kid could take the register while he did some marking!

    Basically, if you had a system that would log you out after 5 mins inactivity the teachers wouldn't put up with it.
    Last edited by EdWhittaker; 22nd November 2010 at 09:25 AM. Reason: correcting typo

  8. #23

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    I think that's why Capita have left the security to Windows, if you want to have a complex password requirements, you can, if you want it to change every 30 days you can and if you want the machine to lock every x many mins, you can.

    I'm sure if you don't know how to, they'll do it for you for many

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