- Higher Education
- A Computer Lab for Students
For more than a decade, the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) at the Georgia Institute of Technology — more commonly known as Georgia Tech — has trusted Kensington locks to secure their computers. When the IT department switched one student research group from desktops to laptops, they once again called on Kensington for a security solution.
The Georgia Tech IT group that supports ECE provides a computer to each graduate student conducting research. These computers are located in designated computer labs for specific research groups. Securing these systems has always been a priority for IT, though recently for one group it was of particular concern.
As Peter Huynh, the Interim IT Director for ECE explained, “The building this research group is housed in has an open floorplan with cubicles, instead of offices with lockable doors. Anyone can walk in or out of these areas. And if people see something unsecured, it’s more likely to walk away.”
Previously, students in this research group were assigned a desktop PC. The PCs and their monitors were secured to desks with Kensington locks. When Peter decided to equip these students with laptops instead of desktops, he did not hesitate to again turn to Kensington for a locking solution.
“We didn’t consider any other vendor,” said Peter. “We’ve always purchased Kensington locks. I’ve been at Georgia Tech for 15 years, and some of the Kensington locks we use here pre-date me. So, we decided to stick with Kensington for the quality of their products. We know their security works and we’ve had zero failures. Why change something if it isn’t broken?”
For the research group, Peter knew that the Kensington MicroSaver 2.0 series of locks would work well with the students’ laptops. The model with a single lock head could secure the laptops to a desk, whereas the model with twin lock heads could also secure an external monitor to the desk using the same cable.
Peter called his preferred Kensington reseller. “I simply told them what I need, and they configured the MicroSaver locks and sent them to me,” he explained. “Our relationship with our reseller to configure locks was always a big plus.”
Kensington’s Common Keying System enables organizations like Georgia Tech to customize their lock ecosystem to meet their specific needs. Peter wanted each student to have a key that would open only the lock of their assigned laptop, while IT and some faculty members would have keys that could unlock all laptops.
Kensington supported this use case with its Master Keyed lock configuration. Other custom keying options Kensington offered included Standard Keyed (where every user has their own unique key), Like Keyed (where every user has an identical key), and Supervisor Keyed (where a single supervisor key opens all locks and no user has their own key).
“The variety of keying options Kensington offers makes them stand out,” Peter noted. “That, plus the quality of their products, are the main reasons Kensington is our go-to vendor for locks.”
Peter has been delighted with the MicroSaver 2.0 locks he purchased. As he explained, “In this case, no feedback from our users is good feedback. No one complained. No laptop has been stolen, and none of the locks have failed.”
Another plus: having a single master key for each research group. “One benefit of sticking with Kensington is that we can use the same master key with any new locks we purchase for a particular group,” he noted. “We simply ask our reseller to code the new locks so that the same master key we already have will open the new ones, as well.”
Peter’s advice for organizations evaluating locking solutions: “Cost is always an issue. But I’d encourage them to weigh the cost versus the benefits. It goes back to security and quality. Kensington locks work and don’t break. That’s why we stick with them.”