Like most colleges, Central Bible College is constantly challenged to find new ways to use technology to improve the quality of education, maintain a user-centric environment, and retain appropriate levels of security and reliability. The college is meeting all those needs by deploying Windows 7 Enterprise, which is making it possible to redeploy 250 PCs that could not run Windows Vista. In addition to saving the college more than U.S.$215,000 in new hardware costs, Central Bible College’s deployment of Windows 7 is expected to increase user productivity, enhance security and control, increase manageability and supportability, and facilitate a more user-friendly environment—in turn helping to increase the quality of education and support recruiting efforts.
Central Bible College was founded in 1922 by the General Council of the Assemblies of God to help prepare men and women to be ministers and missionaries for tomorrow's Church. Located in Springfield, Missouri, the college has approximately 700 full-time-equivalent students, 150 staff, and 75 faculty.
The computing, campus surveillance, and communications infrastructure at Central Bible College is supported by a team of seven IT professionals, who must balance their time among managing existing systems, deploying new solutions, and supporting end users. Like most college IT organizations, the team must constantly find new ways to use technology to improve the quality of education. “We try to stay current on technology because we realize its importance not only in training students to become the leaders of tomorrow, but also in attracting students to the college in the first place,” says Daniel E. Ruiz, Executive Director for Technology at Central Bible College.
Along with an increased reliance on technology comes the need for greater reliability. “Over the past few years, technology has gone from playing a supporting role to being essential to the process of education,” says Ruiz. “In the past, we didn’t have to worry about instruction coming to a halt if a learning management system went down. Today, with technology playing a visible role in both physical and virtual classrooms, the college is demanding increased uptime and reliability. To meet that need, over the past three years, we’ve moved to a fully virtualized server environment based on the Windows Server 2008 R2 operating system with Hyper-V, which has given our small team the means to support a large and continually growing technology footprint.”
Balancing demand for both new functionality and increased reliability is an even greater challenge when it comes to the college’s 500 desktop and portable PCs. “In 2007, we migrated everyone to the Windows Vista operating system—albeit at the cost of having to take 250 older PCs out of circulation because they didn’t meet the necessary hardware requirements,” says Ruiz. “Even with Windows Vista, we have to make tradeoffs between empowering users and maintaining a reliable environment. For example, we don’t have the resources to support virtual private networking for all mobile users. We also worry about unencrypted data on USB drives, people running unapproved software, how to make users more productive, and so on. What’s more, we need to address those issues in the face of continued budget pressures, such as how to replace the 250 PCs that are now sitting in the closet because they’re not capable of running Windows Vista.”
Central Bible College is meeting the demand for new computing functionality in addition to increased reliability by deploying the Windows 7 operating system, the successor to Windows Vista. “Thanks to its improved use of system resources, Windows 7 is enabling us to redeploy those systems that weren’t capable of running Windows Vista,” says Ruiz. “Out of the box, Windows 7 provides many usability enhancements that will help users to be more
||By enabling us to redeploy some 250 older PCs that were unable to run Windows Vista, Windows 7 is helping us save more than $215,000 in new hardware costs.
||Daniel E. Ruiz
Executive Director for Technology, Central Bible College
productive. Beyond that, we plan to configure Windows 7 features such as DirectAccess, Federated Search, AppLocker, BitLocker To Go, Windows XP Mode, and support for Windows PowerShell 2.0 to improve the security, reliability, manageability, and supportability of our PC infrastructure.”
Testing of Windows 7 began in early 2009, when Rich Kusak, Manager of Information Systems at Central Bible College, installed Windows 7 Beta on his own laptop. “We’ve always been aggressive when it comes to evaluating new technologies as a way to solve user issues,” says Kusak. “Our initial perceptions of Windows 7 were very positive—we were stunned by its performance and responsiveness. We also appreciated the fast and easy installation process, and how the user interface had been cleaned up for easier navigation. We then installed it on a four-year-old Dell laptop and again were amazed at how quickly and efficiently it ran.”
Following his informal testing, Kusak shared his observations with Ruiz. When the Windows 7 Release Candidate became available, Ruiz decided to have his IT team install it and start testing application compatibility. “Windows 7 is built on the same architecture as Windows Vista, which led us to believe it would provide strong application compatibility,” says Kusak. “It turns out we were right, in that we found no compatibility issues at all with existing software and devices.”
Central Bible College began installing Windows 7 on its old desktop and portable computers in October 2009 and is deploying those systems to student employees and its new student lab. When that process is complete, the college will use Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager 2007, already part of its IT infrastructure, to begin an automated deployment of Windows 7 to its computers running Windows Vista. “By the spring of 2010, we plan to have upgraded all existing systems to Windows 7,” says Ruiz. “The system images will also include Microsoft Forefront Endpoint Protection 2010, a Microsoft Office suite, enterprise resource planning software, and various educational programs.”
With Windows 7, Central Bible College is making its PC environment more user-friendly while improving the environment’s reliability, security, manageability, and supportability. “Our goal is to further integrate technology into education and make that technology more user-centric,” says Ruiz. “Windows 7 is an answer to that challenge because it helps us to provide increased flexibility for users while retaining the required levels of control and reliability. What’s more, we can provide an additional 250 PCs across the campus community without incurring new hardware costs.”
U.S.$215,000 Savings in Hardware Costs
Central Bible College is taking advantage of Windows 7 to redeploy 250 older PCs, thereby providing increased access to computing resources across the campus community without having to purchase new systems. “With Windows 7, we can breathe new life into older laptops and desktops, which we’re using to outfit a new student lab and provide PCs to some of our student workers,” says Ruiz. “By enabling us to redeploy some 250 older PCs that were unable to run Windows Vista, Windows 7 is helping us save more than $215,000 in new hardware costs. In this one way alone, Windows 7 is paying for itself many, many times over.”
Increased User Productivity
Both current PC users and those receiving the redeployed PCs will benefit from the many productivity-related enhancements in Windows 7. “Windows 7 includes user interface enhancements that will improve productivity across the campus community,” says Ruiz. “For example, the Snap and Shake features are great for window management. We also like the new Jump Lists and how we can rearrange icons on the Windows Taskbar. I can readily identify with the TV commercials for Windows 7—it feels like Windows 7 was designed just for me.”
Ruiz also plans to take advantage of new Windows 7 features that were designed to help IT professionals improve end-user productivity, including:
- DirectAccess, which makes it possible for users to connect to the campus network over any Internet connection—without requiring a virtual private networking (VPN) connection. “The complexity of VPN access made it too unwieldy to support for the masses,” says Ruiz. “With DirectAccess, we’ll be able to support remote access for all users who can benefit from it. Professors will be able to respond to student needs when not in their offices, and recruiters and fundraisers will have access to better business intelligence while on the road.”
- Federated Search, which will enable users to search locations beyond their PCs from the convenience of the Windows 7 desktop. “We have lots of data on our network and need to make it accessible to people,” says Ruiz. “Federated Search in Windows 7 will allow users to easily search information repositories such as network folders and SharePoint sites using the Windows 7 search box—without having to know where the data actually resides.”
- Windows XP Mode, which provides a virtualized environment for running programs that require Windows XP. “In the past, we used Microsoft Virtual PC to support programs that required Windows XP,” says Ruiz. “With Windows XP Mode in Windows 7, users will no longer need to first launch Virtual PC to run Windows XP–based applications. Instead, users will be able to directly launch those applications from the Windows 7 desktop—and run them directly on the desktop instead of as a window within a window.”
Enhanced Security and Control
Ruiz is looking forward to using BitLocker To Go, another new feature in Windows 7, to improve data protection. “BitLocker Drive Encryption in Windows Vista gave us a good way to encrypt data on laptop PCs, in case they were lost or stolen,” says Ruiz. “With BitLocker To Go, we’ll be able to extend the same protection mechanism to removable USB storage devices. BitLocker To Go also will give us more control over how removable storage devices can be used—for example, we can require data protection for writing to any removable storage device while still allowing unprotected storage devices to be used in a read-only mode.”
User Account Control in Windows 7 will help Central Bible College maintain security and improve the user experience by providing increased control over when prompts to approve system changes are displayed and by reducing the number of operating system applications and tasks that generate prompts. “In Windows Vista, User Account Control was both a blessing and a curse, in that it enabled us to efficiently lock down systems but was somewhat disruptive for users,” says Ruiz. “User Account Control in Windows 7 ‘gets in the way’ less often, which will help us maintain security and control without as many disruptions for users.”
AppLocker, another new feature in Windows 7, will help Ruiz’s team control which applications can run on users’ PCs, providing yet another way to limit the risks associated with malicious—and unlicensed—software. “We’re very excited about AppLocker and plan to start using it as soon as we can because it will enable us to make our environment more user-centric,” says Ruiz. “Instead of locking down systems to block all user-installed software, we can use AppLocker to more flexibly control which applications users can install and run—and to help ensure that software is properly licensed.”
Increased Manageability and Supportability
Support for Windows PowerShell 2.0 in Windows 7 will help Central Bible College to better manage and support its PC infrastructure. “Because we have a small IT team, we rely heavily on technology to help manage PCs,” says Kusak. “With support for Windows PowerShell 2.0 built into Windows 7, we can easily create scripts for many common management and troubleshooting tasks—for example, we can create our own Windows Troubleshooting Packs. With Windows 7, we’ll be able to manage PCs with greater economies of scale than ever before.”
A More User-Centric Environment
Although Central Bible College will benefit from its deployment of Windows 7 in several ways, for Ruiz, the largest return on investment will be a more user-centric environment. “The importance of becoming more user-centric can’t be overstated,” he says. “One of the challenges we face in higher education is that we have so many different types of internal customers to support—including faculty, staff, and students. What’s more, unlike in primary and secondary schools, our constituency is one of adults, who don’t want to be told what they can and can’t do with their PCs. With Windows 7, we can better balance end-user freedom with retaining the appropriate levels of control.”
Ruiz also believes that the college’s early adoption of Windows 7 will help recruiting efforts. “We compete for students, and one way we’ve chosen to do that is by using technology to stand out,” he says. “If someone comes to the awareness that he or she wants to be a leader in the church, that person needs to be prudent in deciding where to go for the necessary education. Central Bible College is committed to excellence in education—and implementing quality technology solutions such as Windows 7 is just one more way that we’re earning students’ respect.”
Works the way you want: Windows 7 will help your organization use information technology to gain a competitive advantage in today’s new world of work. Your people will be able to be more productive anywhere. You will be able to support your mobile work force with better access to shared data and collaboration tools. And your IT staff will have better tools and technologies to help enhance corporate IT security, protect data, and efficiently deploy and manage systems.
For more information about Windows 7, go to:
For More Information
For more information about Microsoft products and services, call the Microsoft Sales Information Center at (800) 426-9400. In Canada, call the Microsoft Canada Information Centre at (877) 568-2495. Customers in the United States and Canada who are deaf or hard-of-hearing can reach Microsoft text telephone (TTY/TDD) services at (800) 892-5234. Outside the 50 United States and Canada, please contact your local Microsoft subsidiary. To access information using the World Wide Web, go to:
For more information about Central Bible College, visit the Web site at: