Aloysius Stichting provides special needs education through a network of 60 primary and secondary schools across The Netherlands. Students aged 4 – 23 with behavioral or developmental challenges receive education and services to help them become productive and independent members of society.
To help its teachers experiment with new methods for reaching troubled students, Aloysius Stichting has undertaken a four-year-program to change its education content as well as its technology infrastructure. “If you want educators to change the way they teach, you need to provide them with the best technologies to collaborate and share resources,” says Ruud van de Rakt, Project Manager at Aloysius Stichting. The project included a network upgrade and the implementation of virtual desktops powered by Citrix XenDesktop, enabling the transition from Microsoft Windows-based computers to Macs and iPads while extending the life of Windows applications. One crucial need remained: secure file sync and sharing. Many educators relied on consumer-grade online file sharing accounts such as Dropbox to collaborate and share resources, which exposed the organization to significant security risks. Aloysius Stichting wanted to provide an industry-recognized, IT-approved and fully secure file sharing service designed for the enterprise.
Aloysius Stichting selected Citrix ShareFile to provide educators throughout The Netherlands with secure access to files on any computer or mobile device. Since Aloysius standardizes on Mac computers and iPads, the school’s educators first started using Citrix Receiver and Citrix XenApp to access Windows applications from their devices. As the organization further developed its mobility strategy, a key consideration in the selection process was the ability to integrate additional solutions into the existing Citrix environment in terms of both user experience and infrastructure. Citrix ShareFile and Citrix XenMobile were the natural choice due to the interoperability between the products. Within six months of implementation, more than half of Aloysius Stichting’s educators were already using ShareFile to access and share Microsoft Office documents, PDF files and Apple Keynote presentations.
While its educators do much of their work on virtual desktops, Aloysius Stichting wanted to provide complete flexibility for them to work in any way that suited their needs. “Each of our schools is very independent,” says van de Rakt. “With ShareFile, we can let people choose ways of working that suit their own individual creativity.” Participants in the organization’s bring-your-own-device (BYOD) program can access and share data easily and securely on any computer, tablet or smartphone, even without logging into their virtual desktops.
Aloysius Stichting educators now have the mobility to work anywhere, at any time—at a school, at home or anywhere in between. As they experiment with new programs for education, they are no longer tied down to fixed locations or schedules, making it possible to exchange files and share insights with colleagues whenever inspiration strikes. A seamless experience across devices means that they never have to worry about which computer or mobile device they have with them, or whether it’s owned personally or by the organization.
ShareFile helps Aloysius Stichting keep data secure even as it becomes more easily accessible across the organization. All data has been moved from individual schools to a central datacenter in Amsterdam, simplifying security and business continuity. Encryption, containerization and granular access control powered by ShareFile and XenMobile protect data on any device, in every scenario. If a computer is lost or stolen, all data remains safe within the datacenter; any data residing locally on mobile devices can be wiped remotely to prevent leakage.
“We recommend ShareFile because the product is safe, it works well and it integrates easily into our technology environment,” says van de Rakt. “Rather than investing in our own internal IT resources, we want to have a partner we can trust, and Citrix provides a network of good companies that we can rely on.” As a result, Aloysius Stichting can better serve its students, drive innovation in special needs education, and maintain its position as a leader in its field.
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