Do you need a new IT partner for your school?

Do you need a new IT partner for your school?

Maybe you don’t, but maybe you just don’t realise that you do as you are coping OK, but coping isn’t managing, it is more a survival rather than a preparation; read through our guide below, it will help you ask questions and get the most out of your IT support, either the company you are with, or the one that you will choose.  

How did you, historically, select your IT Partner?

Image by Ernesto Eslava from Pixabay“>Ernesto Eslava from Pixabay

So – How did you? Did you ask at the school gates, to see if a mum or a dad could help you out; Did you choose the person who supports the other small businesses in the village or in the high street, hoping they would get how a school works; Did you do a little research first, but are still not happy?

However you chose in the past, maybe this year, you can look at it a little differently.  Use our guide below, so you can whittle out the ‘Half Job Harry’s’ or the’ Know it All, Do Little Albert’s’ or the ‘Promise the World – but can’t fit you in Wilbur’s’.  Find someone who understands how a school works; Who can work with legacy equipment; Who knows that a classroom can’t get by unless that interactive screen is doing all it can to support the teacher; Who understands that SIMS isn’t just a computer game about virtual people…

A general IT Support Partner may have a good grasp on how a business operates, and how a computer is built and maintained, and for an office environment would be second to none, but for a school you need an IT Support Partner – Plus.  They need to understand how the school works – what happens at 9am and 3.15 and why being available through those hours is the most important part of the service you provide.   

Preparation is key – Start looking well before your renewal date is up (if you are in a contract), give yourself time.


Set up a strategy if you haven’t already.  It can be a year’s plan, a 5-year plan, or even longer if you want.  This should work alongside your school business plan – where will you be next year, are your staff and pupils all going to be back in the school, are you working on a contingency in case your pupils have to work from home again?

Whatever your needs, make sure you look at what is working well now, and what isn’t, have a look at all the changes that had to be made during the Pandemic.  Are you now able to transition from office/school base to home bases without worrying? How did your telephony system work when we all had to work from home – or didn’t it?  Could the teachers and TA’s get things printed when they needed to?  Ask your staffthey know what they struggle with, and what would make their daily working routine work better in the school or at home.

So, what are the top 8 reasons that people want to make the switch?

1. Are you seeing tangible, understandable results?

Return on investment is everything. Especially right now. You need to be able to see at a glance exactly how hard your IT partner is working for you. And what benefit that work is bringing to your school.

Tech talk can be tricky, but your support service should be able to make sure you understand what they are talking about without using every abbreviation under the sun – your specialism is teaching our young people. Ours is to keep that teaching machine running!

Everything presented should be relevant to your school, should be reflected in your plan and be easy to understand.  You should be able to see what has happened throughout the year in relation to your IT support, be it regular site visits, back up checks, ticket times, etc.

2. Do you have good communication with your IT Partner?

When you are working with an IT Support Partner, they will be able to help you identify the right hardware and software to help the school operate. They will make recommendations based on the way you work, and the vision that you have for the school’s future.

How do they communicate with you? Are you receiving regular emails giving you information about potential security issues, about products going end of life that will need to be scheduled in, do they give you notice of when your maintenance is due?  Are you receiving communications about new innovations, about things that will make your day easier? 

Do you know who works for you, do you know the names of the support team?  What would you improve with a new team? Make sure you put it into your plan.

3. Do they take data security seriously – are they training you to keep your school safe?

OK, so we’re not expecting your IT support partner to teach you their job. You don’t need to be an expert in IT – that’s what you’re paying someone to do for you. However, there should be a certain element of learning when you partner with an IT company.

For example, you need to learn about cyber-security; how to avoid scams; and how to protect your data.  Your support team needs to educate you on the ways you can reduce the school’s vulnerability to external attack.

Today, data security is of the utmost importance, since Covid, hackers and chancers are trying to look for more ways into systems, to cause havoc, or to tie up a school so that they have to pay a ransom to release the data.  If your IT Support Company does not see this as a priority, they will not be able to ensure your data is safe

The National Cyber Security centre’s website gives good support for schools 1 – so when you ask your IT provider how they ensure your data is held safe, and if it is in compliance with the NCSC’s guidance, you can ask this with confidence and knowledge.

Research from Marsh, Wavestone and law firm CMS2, highlights the number of cyber insurance claims growing 83% by 2020.  Whilst this report is all industry wide, the threat to schools is increasing, we, just this year, know of three separate attacks that have crippled local education providers. (see Ref. list for citations3).

4. Do you sometimes need support ‘outside’ of your contract?

A reputable IT Support Partner for schools will never shy away from something that is outside of their agreed business, that is not to say that they should be walked over, however, they should be flexible, have a clear pricing strategy, and be able to manage the odd deviance to contract.  

“Sorry, we don’t cover that.”

Ever heard that from your IT support provider? Lots of schools do.

“We don’t cover that” suggests a real lack of concern for your school’s operation. And that is not what a partner is about.

Being a partner for a school, means that you need a lot of hats to cover a lot of IT roles.  A school needs their IT equipment to last – you need to be able to fix it if you can.

Image by Wokandapix from Pixabay

‘A partner actively spends time looking at new ways to improve your network; your data security; and your infrastructure. They won’t be working rigidly to a one-size fits all contract.’

5. Are you kept in the loop?

Understandably, many IT problems can’t always be fixed immediately. Some issues take a while to get to the bottom of. Other problems are rare and may take a little more diagnostic work.  However, whatever happens, you should always be kept in the loop. 

Being left in a void is frustrating and can cause mistrust. So ensure that there is a way to communicate with your IT Support Partner to follow up items awaiting resolution.

6. Taking ownership

How many times have you been told by your IT company that it was a third parties’ device that has caused the problem and you need to contact them to resolve the issue – Stop right there… The device is related to the IT? Then your IT company need to help resolve it for you.

Whilst it is imperative to make sure Warranties are valid (and this needs to be done by the school if they have purchased the tech), your IT Support Company should be able to help sort out the dismantling, sending off and re-instating when returns. 

7. Do we really need new hardware?

It’s nice to have the very latest technology in your school, but it’s certainly not vital. There are lots of other things to consider before upgrading equipment and devices. Especially today when value for money and return on investment are critical.

Most schools will have plenty of legacy tech, setting up a rolling renewal will ensure that new tech is constantly coming in as old tech reaches end of life, ensuring that the children can learn off the same operating systems and using the same updated software.   By rolling your renewal of kit, you are not looking at a huge spend to replace, but a more planned approach which is easier to manage.

For most schools it is important to get the infrastructure right before considering additional hardware.  Do a stock take of what you currently have and see if it is all used/useable, redistribute, recycle or re-purpose items that are no longer need, and then set up a schedule to replace.

A good IT Support Partner will help you to create an IT roadmap, which should detail at which points in the years ahead you need to budget for upgrades or additional devices.

8. Have you outgrown your IT Company?

Now, this last one isn’t necessarily a bad reason to switch IT support partners.

Sometimes, your school has simply grown too big for a smaller IT company to deal with, a school may have joined with an academy group, so need an IT support company that can aid multiple sites over a larger geographic area.

The difficult part can be knowing when to make the switch.

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

If you’ve noticed you need more support, your IT support partner has probably noticed too. In fact, if they’re good partners, they may even discuss this with you first. Trust me when I say there will be no hard feelings. No company wants to be out of its depth with clients. If you’ve ever felt any of these gripes, perhaps now is the right time for you to make the switch too?

When you place your technology at the heart of your School’s growth strategy, you see why it is important to have a partner you can trust.

Cyber Security for Schools

Cyber Security is on the increase, and whilst some schools are now taking it seriously and making changes, many are not. Wherever you are on your Cyber Protection journey, this blog should help you create a definitive plan should you be attacked by a hacker or other malware programmes.

Laptop on desk Showing Red Screen with Padlock icon.Computer has been blocked access to Data with Ransomware.

In 2019, two thirds of all organisations reported some type of incident relating to cyber-crime.

You could make a sure bet this figure rose significantly last year, thanks to criminals taking advantage of the pandemic.

The average cost of a data breach to a business is estimated to be around £337,000.  A school is still vulnerable for financial loss, and with today’s budgets, the loss can be catastrophic.  It can be crippled by taking away so many teaching hours trying to sort out for example: a system held to ransom, that it may as well have been a large financial loss.

The most common types of crime are ransomware, where your data is locked away until you pay a ransom fee.

And phishing, where criminals pretend to be someone else, to get you to click on a bad link. This is how they get access to critical systems.

School money can then be lost due to:

  • Any ransom demanded by criminals who lock your data and remove your access to it.
  • The cost of recovering your data, and undoing the extensive damage done.
  • Putting in place additional ongoing security measures after the breach.
  • Paying for goods and services that are being provided by a genuine service provider, but where the invoice had been intercepted and altered to pay a third party.

On top of the financial impact, there is the reputational one.

Unhappy teacher and girl at computer in class

Could you imagine picking up the phone to every parent and stakeholder, to tell them your data about them had been accessed and stolen? And was probably for sale on the dark web?

What would happen if the local media or news blogs got hold of this and ran a story about it?

You have to ask yourself very carefully: Could your school afford to be hit by a ransomware or phishing attack?

Truth is that many schools really couldn’t.

So why do so few education establishments have a plan in place to a) prevent and b) respond to cyber-crime?

Does yours?

If not, it is time to do something about it, as there has been an explosion in the number of ransomware and phishing attacks over the past couple of years.

If you don’t have an effective plan in place to help keep your business protected – and to minimise damage should the worst happen – you’re leaving yourself vulnerable.

Cyber-criminals are targeting everywhere, all the time, using clever automated tools that sniff out vulnerabilities. So it’s only a matter of time till your school’s defences are tested.

Here’s our recommended 5 step plan to prepare for an attack, and protect your business.

1) Training, training, training

Believe it or not, your devices and software are not the weakest link in your defence. Your people are.

Top view of people sitting at desks

Your team’s awareness of the risks, and their mindset towards spotting risks and acting on them, can make a dramatic difference towards your chances of being affected.

Although they would never knowingly do a thing to damage the school infrastructure or administration, all it takes is one click for them to bring you down.

One click. On one bad link. In one email.

Phishing scams are getting more sophisticated every day, and they are really easy to fall for. You don’t have to be an 80 year old email newbie to fall for a phishing scam these days. With some of the smartest social engineering, even the wariest person can be caught out.

Fortunately, with the right training, your team can be taught the tell-tale signs of a scam email, looking at:

  • The email address it was sent from
  • Who it is addressed to
  • The language used
  • The font and design of the email
  • How to check if a link is safe before clicking on it

There are other things that cyber security training can teach your people.

Things like closing RDP links; a techy term for a connection from your computer to another.

And looking out for signs you are under attack from ransomware.

Plus other areas of online safety that you may not usually discuss. Such as what information criminals can glean from social media.

There is a lot that can go wrong online. And the more people you have working for you, the greater your risk of one of those things happening to your business.

All staff should have regular cyber-security awareness training – including you.

Things change so frequently that it really is in your best interest to keep everyone’s knowledge topped up.

Check out the National Cyber Security website for more information on keeping your school safe: www.ncsc.gov.uk/section/education-skills/cyber-security-schools

They also provide an Exercise in a box, which they promote as “an online tool from the NCSC which helps organisations test and practise their response to a cyber attack. It is completely free and you don’t have to be an expert to use it.”


2)   Use the tools available to you

There are a lot of tools out there to help keep your business safe and protected from cyber-criminals. Make use of them.

Some of the most commonly used tools are:

Password managers: These generate long random character passwords for new applications and remember them so you don’t have to.

Elegant blonde hair man using modern technologies.

Multi-factor authentication: This is where you enter a code from another device, to prove it’s really you logging in.

VPNs: A Virtual Private Network gives you a secure connection to your business when working remotely.

Encryption: This makes the content of your devices look like thousands of random characters to anyone without the encryption key. So, it’s only a minor inconvenience if you lose a device, not a major catastrophe.

Anti-Ransomware software: standard antivirus software will not protect your data from a ransomware attack, it is critical to ensure that your school has anti-ransomware software installed.

These are just the basics. There are always extra layers of security available.

Yes, this is complicated, and there are too many options to choose from. The trick is putting together the right blend of security tools for your specific circumstances. So you’re protected, but your security is not stopping your team from getting on with their work every day.

Your IT support provider will be able to make some recommendations. If you’re in the fortune position of having an IT partner, they will work closely with you to understand how your business works inside and out, before making recommendations.

3)  Back-up all data, all the time

We cannot stress this enough: if you don’t already have an automated back-up of your data every day, and at the very least the admin data is kept somewhere other than your schools’ premises, arrange this today.

It. Is. Critical.

IT Engineer inserting ethernet cable into a switch .

Keeping a copy of all your data in this way is your fall-back option. If anything ever goes wrong and your data is lost, corrupted, or held to ransom, you retain a copy of everything you need to keep your school functioning.

If you already have off-site back-up in place, well done. Now check that it is working as it should be. This is a process known as verification, and it needs to be done every day.

You’d be surprised to learn how many people leave their back-up unchecked until they need it… only to find the back-up stopped working a few days earlier; or the data was corrupted.

4)  PPP

Create a policy, protocol, and procedure in the event of a data breach. Sounds obvious, but this needs to be done before your school has a problem.

Your policy will set out how your school will deal with any form of data breach or cyber-attack.

Make your policy as detailed as possible, as it is a guide for your establishment to reach the most desired outcome (in this case, minimal impact from an attack).

Open laptop with email and alert symbols surrounding it

Include the things your people must do as a minimum to help keep the business safe, such as using a password manager and multi-factor authentication.

Every member of teaching and administrative staff should have a copy of this policy, ideally in your employee handbook. Maybe you could even get them to sign that they have read and are committed to it. That way, no-one can plead ignorance if they have directly put the school at risk.

Your protocol is a written plan that contains the procedures your people must follow in the event of a cyber-attack.

And the procedures you should include are:

  • Who to alert in the case of a suspected breach.
  • What are the steps that person should take to try to block the attack?
  • How everyone else within the business should react.

It is a good idea to include a procedure for lost or stolen devices too, so they can be wiped remotely for ultimate peace of mind.

Make everything in your PPP as accurate and detailed as it can be, so that people are left in no doubt exactly what they should do.

5)  Bring in the experts

If you are not an IT expert, a lot of this can seem very time consuming and complicated.

We completely get that.

However, you should understand that it is very much a worthwhile investment of your time and energy.

If you feel it is not something that you can do justice to, it is a smart idea to bring in the experts.

A great IT support provider  or partner – should be more than willing to help you.

A good IT company will assess your IT provision and provide a check list on changes that need to happen to enable your system to be as resilient as possible.

You should also have someone to monitor and maintain your devices and network, to identify and solve the majority of issues before you even notice them.

And someone who can make sure you are using all the right tools and software to optimise both security and staff productivity.

Often, it is unrealistic to have a full-time employee on your team to do this work for you. Fortunately, outsourcing is a superior alternative in most cases.

Not only do you get support when you need it, and benefit from all the above, but you also get access to a whole array of expertise.

If you don’t already have a plan in place to keep your business protected from cyber-attack, I hope you can see how vital it really is.

If you do have a plan, perhaps it is time to revisit it and make sure it is still effective in this ever-evolving world of cyber-security and cyber-crime.

And if you find you could do with some honest, expert help and advice, we’d love to be of service. Let’s talk.  Click here to book your 15 minute call with Murray.

Sue Kenneally
Marketing Exec.

This is the ultimate secret to keeping your data safe.

man at PC with exclamation marks

As IT professionals in the education arena, we’ve seen some things.

Things that would horrify you.

Things you would never want to encounter in your own establishment.

We’re talking security breaches, data theft and file corruption. That have brought entire schools to their knees.

This is something that you – as the Headteacher, IT or Office Manager – really don’t want to happen.

Because it only takes one click from a well-meaning member of your team on one bad link. And that could mean the difference between a thriving school or office, and disruption so severe, it makes teaching impossible.

You don’t need us to tell you that data loss can lead to a huge loss of confidence from your suppliers and staff.

And often the cost of rectifying a situation such as this can be phenomenal.

So, we at Cablers want to share the secret behind keeping your business data safe

Of course you should have an IT partner protecting you with a blended security package (blended means getting the right mix of security products that protect you and your staff, without inconveniencing you while you’re trying to work. It’s a balancing act).

But there’s something else, that in our view every business should invest in, every year.

Cyber security training

Though it may sound simple, you’d be surprised to learn how many schools and businesses underestimate the importance of campus or company-wide security awareness.

And yes, we really do mean company-wide.

Your whole school, academy, trust or business, from the new entry level person to the Headteacher or CEO, should take part in formal data security training, regularly.

A strong cyber security culture is one of the best ways to keep your school or business safe from the increasingly sophisticated threats out there.

Because hackers use automated tools to look for vulnerabilities in every establishment, all the time.

And yes this includes yours. Remember, it only takes one click from a well-meaning member of your team on one bad link. And that can unwittingly let hackers into your system.

“But my people are savvy professionals. They’re not going to fall for a scam”

We hear this often.

And yes, your people are savvy, but so are cyber criminals.

Cyber-crime is evolving. And there is always another scammer or hacker around the corner waiting to take advantage of a technology flaw or stressful situation (hello, global pandemic).

Your business or school can never be too prepared.

Take a look at phishing for example. You’ve heard of that, right?

But do you and your team actually know what it is?

Phishing is a common tool used to extract information such as login credentials or credit card details by email, telephone or even text message.

You may think that your team are above falling for an email from their ‘long lost uncle abroad’. But phishing scams have come a long way since those days.

Today, phishing emails are far more convincing. They often claim to come from someone credible, such as your bank, a client or supplier, or someone else you know.

They’ll ask you to click a link to update your details, or change a password. But instead of being taken to a legitimate website, you’ll be taken to a very convincing duplicate.

And once your details have been entered, you’ve given them away.

For more advise on how to spot a phishing email, and how to report them, visit this Government website: www.gov.uk/report-suspicious-emails-websites-phishing

Other times, you’re sent an attachment – again, seemingly from someone you know – which, when opened, will install malware on your device (or across your whole network)

This can then allow criminals to steal data, or deny you access to your own information (that’s called crypto locking).

The Government’s National Cyber Security Centre has a lot of information on how to deal with this type of cyber attack and what to look out for to make sure you are not caught out.


Then we have spear fishing. Instead of phishing, which is aimed at anyone, this is targeted at specific individuals.

Typically the attacker has spent time learning a lot of information about you (your name, role, company information, etc). And then uses this to their advantage.

If they target someone at the top, this is called whaling (also known as CEO fraud).

They’re targeting people at the top as they have access to the most sensitive data.

Whaling attacks are often planned for a long period of time. And when they work, give huge financial gain to the cyber criminals.

Then there’s pharming, which asks you to take an action on what looks like a familiar website.

Except if you look very carefully, the website address is slightly different to normal. It’s a scam site, and any information you enter will go to the criminals.

There is a scarier version of pharming where the criminals manage to divert traffic going to the real website. These are really hard to detect.

To ensure websites are secure and not as easily accessible to hackers, make sure they are certified by the small padlock symbol on the side of the URL bar. (To view the sites security credentials, click on the padlock symbol).

Often there are tiny little clues that give the fake sites away, if you know what to look for.

Spoofing is the term for when you receive an email pretending to be from someone you know – such as your accounts department. And it’s asking you to go to a link to reconfirm your details.

This type of scam is often used to download malware or ransomware rather than to steal your credentials.

Then we have smishing, which is phishing with text messages (SMS). And vishing, which is phishing on the phone, or voice phishing.

You receive a phone call from a blocked or unusual number. The caller will pretend to be from somewhere familiar and ask you to carry out actions, or make a payment.

These are pretty common. So if you or your team are ever unsure, make sure to hang up, then call the company back on the number you have for them (and never the number the caller gives you).

Can your school, academy or business really afford to underestimate the importance of good cyber security training?

As you can see, it really does take just one action to open up your school or business to this kind of threat.

This is not an exhaustive list. There are plenty of other ways that cyber criminals will attack your establishment.

You many think your people are pretty hot on cyber security. And hopefully you’ve got the latest security software protection across your whole network.

However, it’s always a great idea to add another level of human protection. Because schools and businesses like yours really are prime targets for cyber criminals.

If you’ve never implemented security training before, now is the perfect time to start creating new habits. After all, your team will have seen enough change this year to be open to just about anything!

Employee education is one of the best business tools you can invest in. And it could end up saving your organisation from disaster.

But the benefits of regular training don’t end there. It’s a great motivational tool, too. Your people will feel invested in when they have relevant training, increasing engagement all round.

Remember to make sure that everyone, from bottom to top, undertakes regular training. Because a cyber-criminal really isn’t fussy about who clicks that link… just as long as someone does.

If you don’t currently have an IT partner who can deliver appropriate data security training to your school, academy or business, contact Cablers today on 01787 221166.

Our team of experts would love to help keep you informed and protected.

About Us: Established in 1997 in Earls Colne, Essex, Cablers provides IT services to both the Education and Business market sectors in Essex, Suffolk, North & East London.

Murray Thorpe, Managing Director saw that many schools had legacy IT equipment that had been slowly going out of date, network security was patchy, and protocols were tired. Training school staff on usage of equipment was also under-utilised, so often investment had been made in equipment, but a lot of the staff didn’t know how to use them to their fullest potential.

Cablers was created to be a central solution for education and business. Our main ethos is to increase efficiency and minimise costs for our clients, by being a single port of call for support, software, hardware, cabling and training.

Let’s talk about storage and re-charging of laptops and tablets within school…

Whether it is tablet or laptop, storage and recharging of equipment is such an important necessity for the classroom.  You need your equipment full to the brim with power from first thing in the morning and need them to last until lessons are finished.

There are a couple of solutions for charging – either over night or when not in use in a secure storage unit; or at a desk, specifically designed for charging during operational hours, but the devices need to be securely locked away when not in use.

How manageable is your current set up?

Are you continually frustrated with devices not turned off properly, with devices not charging, students having to share equipment between two or three due to lack of power?  If this is the case, then smart monitoring of your charging stations is a must, so that you can ensure all devices within the units are plugged in correctly.

There are many considerations to take when selecting device storage.  Do you want:

  • Storage that allows charging to happen whilst the machines are not in use?
  • Simple overnight storage – no re-charge needed?
  • A dedicated storage area, or are they going to be stored within various classrooms depending on where last used?
  • Devices to be transportable from one part of the school to another?
  • ‘Soft-start’ charging where not all the devices are charged on full power at the same time?
  • Monitoring of charging units?

With so many questions, I am hoping the selection below will help you see through the multitude of metal boxes and help answer a few of them.

There are four main elements that need considering before you make your purchase:

Space; Security; Size; Power

Space & security – Where are you going to store the devices?  Are they going to be in a locked room or will they need to lock within the unit themselves?  The units need ventilation, so having them next to a printer, in a corner of an office, might not be the best solution.  What volume of devices do you need?  This is a huge consideration, as the space they need to take up to charge can be quite immense, and space is a premium in most educational establishments – so look at solutions such as wall mounting, stacking and portable.

Size – this is key to both static and portable units.  If devices need to be transported from classroom to classroom, then an easy to move, slim unit is ideal.  Too wide – and you might not fit through the doorframes.  Too long, and it might not go around the corners.  Too heavy – a staff member may be injured.  If it is static – the space as discussed above is important to consider.

Power – To charge a volume of devices, you will need enough mains sockets available near to the storage solutions.  So double check what is available in your chosen charging locations.  If you have selected a unit with soft start charging, you will need fewer mains sockets available, ensuring that all devices are charged without overloading your circuit.

Smart charging solutions, such as the one supplied by Zioxi monitors the devices being charged.  Once the devices are charged, the system turns off the charging automatically to prolong battery life.

Tablets – Different types of storage

Zioxi supply a compact, aesthetically pleasing solution for charging tablets, Chromebooks and small laptops – the OnView® Charging trolley.  This is ideal for sharing devices with different classrooms and is easy to move around.  I like the fact that it has an automatic shut off once all devices are charged, so it is eco-friendly too. OnView® is a piece of software that connects to your charging unit, it alerts you to devices not being plugged in, so you can be sure that all devices are accounted for and charging ready for the next day.
Zioxi tablet charging cabinet

Probe Multidoor units charge devices in individual locker drawers (padlock, keypad or key).  This works well with independent learning, as students are able to come and go from the unit as and when they need their tablet, whilst their Singledoor units are better designed for whole classroom usage.  Each locker can have a power socket within it, so different types of tablet can be housed safely whilst charging, as long as the user remembers to bring their charger!

Probe Tabbox Locker

For primary schools, tablet baskets are ideal.  LocknCharge® make iPad, ChromeBook and Android storage and transport simple and manageable.  Using baskets, which hold 5 units, the tablets slot into the baskets, then the basket slots into the charging rack, which plugs into a single mains socket.  Racks such as the Joey®, are portable and enable you to easily transport devices from one end of the school to the other.

Lock-n-Charge tablet storage

Laptops – Making the most of your storage options

For whole school static storage, LapSafe’s Diplomat solution are a great option, as they are modular, more units can be added as needed.  Having various locking options, can be used in secondary school as well as primary.  Each locker has its own identifier, and using the SmartLine® charging solution, the laptop’s charger is inbuilt into the unit.

Zioxi also make modular units for charging laptops, as well as mobile units to go from classroom to classroom. Utilising USB C charging technology, the need for custom chargers for each laptop is now redundant.  If however, your working with legacy product, then options are available to use manufacturer supplied power supplies. The OnView software allows you to schedule charging times for optimised power usage, enables you to check if the unit is locked, and that all docking stations are utilised.

Zioxi, blue door laptop cabinet

We hope this blog helps with your decision making, there are many other manufacturers out there in the www, take the plunge and have a look, just remember the fundamentals when you are looking for your new storge unit– Space; Security; Size; Power.

Sue Kenneally


Which Interactive Touchscreen will work for you?

After our last blog; looking at the considerations you need to apply before you purchase an interactive touchscreen for the classroom, we will now look at three leading brands which offer a range of benefits.

One thing to bear in mind with all screens is the type of warranty provided.  Ideally a manufacturer, on-site de-installation re-installation warranty, which is at least 3 years, but preferably 5 years long as this is a big investment for any institution, and you want to make sure that investment is protected.

With regard to software – look at what is provided by each manufacturer, but bear in mind, most Microsoft applications now have good interactive touchscreen tools.

Also, look at what you have already, migrating to a different software, with a different board, may not suit your staff and your current working parameters.  Calculate how much re-training staff to use a new software will cost, along with your other considerations.



Every school knows the name Smart, it is almost an institution in interactive products within schools, At some point in a teachers career it is almost certain they will have taught a class using a Smart product and will be familiar with the Smart software suite.

Smart provide a range of boards; from the budget MX series to the professional 6000 and 7000 series’, Smart Board.  Smart Tech utilise a proprietary software with a yearly cost per operator (included for the first year), or a ‘lite’ version which is free giving you flexibility with cost management. 

On first view the screens offer very similar solutions, however the software and flexibility of the 6000 and 7000 series’, offer much more with regards to speaker quality, software availability, sensitivity of the screen, various hardware and inputs/outputs.

Screen sizes throughout their ranges are 65”,75” and 86”.

If you don’t want the unit wall mounted, you will need to purchase a stand – so bear this in mind when pricing up (and some units may not come with a wall mount bracket).

My two personal wins for these boards – the 5 year warranty – this is a huge investment for any school or organisation, you want to make sure that there is some insurance to that investment. Secondly, with the added management tool, schools can send messages to the screens. This is vitally important with new guidance likely to be coming from the Government within the next few years in relation to dealing with an intruder in the school and a ‘Lockdown Process’ needing to be activated.  Using a simple messaging system on the screens, every class can be notified in seconds, and ‘Lockdown’ procedure followed. 

Note: Lots of schools who purchase non-Smart products are still using the Smart Notebook 11 software that they used with their old interactive boards. There are two problems with this firstly: this is not legal and Smart do not allow un-licensed use of their software on other products no matter what other screen manufacturers tell you. Secondly Microsoft systems are now not supporting the old Smart Notebook 11 software so upgrading to the new version is going to cost additional money if you purchase a different product so get quotes on using Smart with non Smart products before you price up alternatives.

My personal opinion is – if the school use Smart software and changing the software used for lessons is unachievable then Smart screens are the best option as the teachers can keep using the software they are comfortable with, combined with hardware it is designed for.

ScreenMax SizeMax TouchpointsSpeakersAnti Glare GlassProprietary Software  DisplayWarranty
Smart Board MX Series86”20 – Windows and Mac
10 – Chrome OS
2 15w inbuiltYesYes
(and Lite vers.)
4k Ultra HD  5 years
Smart Board 600086”162 20w inbuiltYesYes (and Lite vers.)4k Ultra HD5 years  

For the full comparison of Smart Board display screen visit: www.smarttech.com/en/products/education-displays/compare


Titanium, Cobalt and Nickel, robust and strong sounding names for a useful all-rounder screen.

If a school didn’t have a Smart interactive board then chances are the school had a Promethean one. These boards would go on forever and many Promethean interactive boards are still in use. Slightly late to the touch-screen market, this hasn’t stopped them developing their technology and the tables in the market saturation race have turned slightly. Promethean are now leading the way in interactive technology, they were purchased by Net Dragon, a Chinese software house a few years ago, benefitting from the incumbent resident UK team who, using their market knowledge to are really pushing the brand forward.

Designed for the classroom specifically, the Promethean Interactive Screens provide their proprietary software free of charge enabling you to use all of the elements of the board without continued payment.  However, Schools who have Smart software can import the lesson into Prometheans’ Active Inspire software so continuity in teaching is not jeopardised.

There is an add-on purchase for the screens –  the Chrome box, which provides access to Google Play Store and all associated apps. This would be another consideration in the cost as a bolt on if you need that functionality. 

My two wins – the fact that the software is included, you therefore get what you pay for, without any hidden costs.  Secondly these screens add huge value with the integrated features, the mirroring feature is the best I have used and being able to download apps to dynamically change the way teachers teach is a huge advantage.

The Promethean screen is in my opinion the best hardware for your money and with the backing of Net Dragon, investment into these screens is going to continue even within a recessed market.

ScreenMax SizeMax TouchpointsSpeakersAnti Glare GlassProprietary Software  DisplayWarranty
Titanium86”202YesYes – but free4k Ultra HD5 years
Cobalt65”202YesYes – but free4k Ultra HD5 years
Nickel86”152YesYes – but free4k Ultra HD5 years

For more information on the screens, visit www.prometheanworld.com, sadly there isn’t a comparison chart, but very detailed tech sheets that you can flit between.


Iiyma was formed in 1973 making components for TV monitors and have created niche markets for their speciality monitors and screens throughout their history. It is no surprise then that the Iiyama interactive touchscreens are a good reliable proposition certainly when compared to other budget brands.

My two wins for this manufacturer are: Most budget brands are offering 3 year warranties for their screens, probably due to the use of cheaper components to be able to be competitive in the lower end market. Iiyama however use their expertise and manufacturing scale to deliver a great product with a 5 year warranty.  The second is their website – easy to use tick boxes to select the screen (size, add-ons etc) you are looking for without having to trawl through pages of information.  You can then just look at those which are relevant to your needs.

ScreenMax SizeMax TouchpointsSpeakersAnti Glare GlassProprietary Software  DisplayWarranty
ProLite TE9803MIS98”202 x 12WYesYes- free4k Ultra HD5 years
ProLite TE80603MIS86”202 x 10WYesYes- free4k Ultra HD5 years
ProLite TE7503MIS75”202 x 10WYesYes – free4k Ultra HD5 years

For the full comparison of Iiyama screens visit: www.iiyama.com, use the tickbox menu to shortlist your selection, then you can create a comparison chart of your chosen few.

Sue Kenneally

Cablers Ltd

Interactive touchscreens in the classroom – How do you select them?

Blackboards were the thing in the 18oo’s invented by James Pillans headmaster of The Old High School in Edinburgh.

Whiteboards then took over 1980’s allowing ease of use and no more chalk dust (or dusters thrown down the classroom…).

Interactive whiteboards soon followed up saturating the market in the early 2000’s, now being replaced by interactive touchscreens, allowing more synergy with the computers in the classrooms, making interactive learning a real thing.  They also negate the need for overhead projectors, or holding a laptop up at the front of the class to show what you have been doing.

So how do you choose what is best for your classroom? 


Most school classrooms will work well with 65”, however, screens can go up to 98”.  Depending on your need, you can opt for the larger screens, for example; in a an auditorium, or conference room, and then use the smaller sized screens within a class setting.

The screen needs to sit comfortably into the setting, allowing the children at the back of the class to clearly see text (use text of about 20pt when creating display content) whilst the ones at the front aren’t being mesmerised by large images and giant words. 

To make the best choice, it is a good idea to get a demonstration in your classroom of your preferred screen size prior to purchase.

Screen Resolution…

An important consideration, if you are using the screen in the foyer of your school, running welcome videos, with minimum actual physical interaction, then a smaller, high definition screen would be best, however, in the classroom, when you are going to be using it for writing, presenting and general interactive use, the board needs to be practical but nothing less than High Definition 1080P.

Lots of the interactive screens now come with 4K technology (Ultra High Definition) more content for 4K is available all the time however be aware that each 4k video requires a recommended 20Mbps internet speed so make sure your internet provision can handle the additional load.

Touchy Feely stuff…

The point of the interactive touchscreen is the ability to touch it, to use it, to have multiple pupils write on it (even at the same time), to link it to your IT products (laptops, tablets, desktops).  How do you know if the screen you want can do what you need it to do?  Do you need the children and the teacher to be able to swipe and draw with their finger tips or use a pen stylus to create a realistic writing environment or would a mixture of both be best?  Screens such as Promethean ActivPanels allow a mixture of ways to interact; palm swiping, stylus, fingertips and so on, so that the teacher is able to use their own style and technique, and also allows for multiple pupil collaboration.

The benefits of looking into this part closely, is to ensure expectations of the teaching staff are met.  For example, some screens may not have accurate multi-touch facilities, causing frustration and then a reduction in use.  Ensure that children can use them for free-flow handwriting, with a stylus, but just as responsive if ticking boxes with a fingertip is all that is required.  Tip: Look into screens that offer both infrared and in glass touch for multi-touch functionality.

Using a screen with anti-reflective glass is of great benefit, as it will reduce eye strain, reduce reflection and glare of both natural and indoor lighting. 

Check your Inputs and Outputs…

What do you need to connect to your interactive touchscreen?  Are you running a laptop, a static PC, or are you needing to download from the Cloud.  Does your touchscreen have enough HDMI ports for your use (does your laptop have HDMI capability?)? How many USB ports do you need, do you need to be connected to the internet?  If you use a visualiser, you are more than likely going to need a VGA connection.  Talk through with your IT support team how you want to use the interactive touchscreen and ask them for recommendations so that you get the best solution for your needs.

Sound Effects…

Would you use your interactive touchscreen to play sound?  Maybe teaching the classroom a song, or wanting to show an educational video.  The sound reproduction is often overlooked, relying on the inbuilt speakers (if they are available) on the screen.  Double check what is available, and if the sound can be heard around the classroom.  If not, an external sound bar may be needed.

The Supporting Side…

Using a contracted IT support team such as Cablers, you know that if there are any problems with your interactive touchscreen, they are there ready to help.  However, you will need to look at your warranty, and service agreements as well, to ensure you are covered for any eventuality.  Making sure that you choose a service agreement that covers for malfunctions, provides a loan screen if the one you have is out of action, and can help re-install a new machine if the worst scenario happens.

Select a product with a 5 years support warranty, ensure that your investment is insured against manufacturer faults,  also, a deinstallation/reinstallation warranty will make sure that the screen can be taken away and re-installed for you at no additional cost, if there is a malfunction.

For impartial and obligation free information, please drop us a line so that we can help in your decision-making process.  Our next blog will look at our top interactive screens, which will hopefully give you all the information you need to update your classrooms to the best they can be.

Finally – Training, Training, Training.

After all the investment in time and money selecting the right screens for your school, it is vital that the personnel that are using the interactive touchscreens know how to use them effectively.  A small amount of time spent training your staff, can reap great benefits in the use of the product and the uptake within lesson time.

Sue Kenneally

Cablers Ltd

SMART – BENQ – EPSON – NEC – ROTH – PROMETHEAN – Warranty Procedures for 2015

Vendor Warranty Information

Cablers are fully committed to our customers, and we believe this commitment should not stop once the sale has been made.

Cablers have a warranty agreements with all of our vendors, providing our customers with peace of mind when purchasing any item from us. As a reseller, the vendor warranties give Cablers the opportunity to offer our customers reassurances and guarantees that, should there be a technical issue with their purchase, there is an official support procedure to rectify the problem.


Cablers also have our own team of support staff and a dedicated support portal which can be accessed here: http://support.cablers.co.uk/ Or by emailing us at: support@cablers.co.uk

Support portal

Through the Cablers support portal you can register any fault and track its progress until it has been rectified to your satisfaction. Cablers will of course do all that we can to help you pursue your in warranty claims but we are also here to help assist with your out of warranty products too and we have a team of trained and fully qualified engineers and technicians available for on-site call outs to assist with all your audio visual and IT related issues.

Below you will find some helpful contact details to assist you with any warranty claim you may need to make. If the manufacturer you need is not listed please contact our customer service team on: 01787 221166 or email support@cablers.co.uk and we will provide you with the details you require.




 SMART Warranty      Smart extraordinary made simple Steljes technology with purpose

An excellent range of SMART warranties are available through Steljes

SMART provides a return-to-base warranty but with the Steljes warranty services, you gain the advantage of a free upgrade to an onsite warranty.

Please contact the Steljes warranty support team who will be able to assist you with any queries on 08450 747007 or alternatively email: warranty@steljes.co.uk

Contact Steljes About Your SMART Warranty
Their expert team are happy to help. Just pick up the phone

Steljes support helplines are open between 9am–5.30pm Monday-Friday (excluding holidays).

Please have the serial number of the product when you call or email  to ensure Steljes can assist with your warranty claim.

Education: 08450 724999
Corporate: 08450 724888
From Ireland: +353 (0) 1 6464000

BenQ Warranty    Benq logo

BenQ provide a 3 year onsite warranty for their projectors and interactive Flat Panels.

Please contact Steljes regarding faulty products on 08450 724999 or email service@steljes.co.uk

 Please have the serial number of the product when you call or email  to ensure Steljes can assist with your warranty claim.



Epson Warranty          Epson logo

Please contact Epson regarding faulty products on 0871 4237766

Please have the model and serial number of the product when you call or email  to ensure Epson can assist with your warranty claim.


 NEC Warranty     NEC logo

Please contact NEC regarding faulty products on 0870 120 1160 or email the team on ukcrtlcd@emea.nec.com

Please have the model and serial number of the product when you call or email  to ensure NEC can assist with your warranty claim.

Roth Warranty      Roth logo

Roth provides a 3 year return to base warranty

​Please contact Roth AV Ltd regarding faulty products on 01753 682782 or email: support@rothaudio.co.uk

Please have the model and serial number of the product when you call or email  to ensure Roth can assist with your warranty claim.

VIVIDtouch Warranty               Vividtouch logo

All VIVIDtouch interactive flat panels are covered by a ​5 year onsite warranty as standard

Please contact Steljes regarding VIVIDtouch faulty products on 08450 724999 or service@steljes.co.uk

Please have the model and serial number of the product when you call or email  to ensure Steljes can assist with your warranty claim.

HITACHI Warranty      Hitachi logo

Hitachi provide a 3 year de/re-install hardware warranty, as well as a lamp warranty.

Please contact Hitachi regarding faulty products on 01684 290000 or email the team on: Service.admin@equinox.co.uk

Please have the model and serial number of the product when you call or email  to ensure Equinox can assist with your warranty claim.

Promethean Standard Warranty & ActivCare      Promethean logo

Promethean offers two warranty options, including:

ActivCare Standard Warranty: Their basic warranty offering, automatically provided for all Promethean products
ActivCare+: Their Premium purchasable warranty extensions and enhancements available for registered Promethean products

Technical Support Number  0844 249 2077

Open: 08:30 – 17:30

ActivCare Standard Warranty

The Standard Warranty is a basic warranty offering, automatically provided for all non-registered Promethean products.

Promethean hardware products should be registered to obtain a certificate and upgrade to on-site warranty.  Registration starts the warranty from the date of installation and lets you take advantage of toll free telephone numbers.  Registration must take place through Promethean’s Registration Portal within 90 days of the date of installation or set up.

In order to provide quality support, Prometheans Customer Support team will need the product serial number and/or the proof of purchase. They offer free online support through their Knowledgebase, as well as access to telephone support charged at a national call rate (where geographically available).

Please note:

Priority support lines are available for holders of registered products. Please refer to your ActivCare warranty documentation for access details.

Email support will be available throughout by visiting www.prometheankb.com and completing the “Contact Us” form.

The Standard Hardware ActivCare Warranty accompanies all products shipped from Promethean.

To see all Cablers products and services
visit our website cablers.co.uk


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Cablers Ltd
The Business Centre
Earls Colne Business Park
Earls Colne

Free Apple TV March Madness Offer From Cablers



Cablers logo


March Madness Offers From Cablers


BenQ screen

FREE APPLE TV* with every BenQ interactive screen

ordered between now and 31st March

Display your iPad, iPhone or iPod onto the

BenQ screen with this special March offer


RP551+ 55″ NOW £1,845.00 Save £100.00

RP651+ 65″ NOW £2,570.00 Save £150.00

RP700+ 70″ NOW £2,825.00 Save £150.00

RP790+ 79″ NOW £3,545.00 Save £175.00


Installation from £250.00 per unit

The BenQ RP Series of screens from Cablers come with SMART Notebook software,

a wall mount and 3 year onsite warranty.

Apple TV

Click here to find out more detail on the BenQ Screen


Roth Sub Zero


Add a Roth Sub Zero II 60 Watt Soundbar for only £119.00

Contact us now on 01787 221166 for more details

Please quote offer MMAppleTV

*Apple TV is supply and installation only,

configuration onto the network is not included


Not looking to move to interactive screens yet?


Replacement projector BenQ MX570

was £525.00 NOW £425.00** installed.

The BenQ MX570 is the ideal classroom projector replacement and comes with

a 5 year de-install/re-install and 3 year manufacturer warranty.

BenQ Projector

Click here to order your BenQ Projector and book an install

All prices quoted include delivery and are exclusive of VAT


Contact us now on 01787 221166 for more details

Please quote offer MMBenQMX570


** Price is subject to existing projector having a universal mount and

a throw ratio between 1.5 – 1.97/1. Access to classroom must be available within normal working hours.


To see all Cablers products and services
visit our website cablers.co.uk


Cablers Ltd
The Business Centre
Earls Colne Business Park
Earls Colne


































BenQ TouchScreens Are Versatile Classroom Interactive Displays

BenQ teachin

BenQ Touch Screens are versatile interactive classroom displays and the Education Team at Cablers have taken a liking to full range of interactive touchscreens offered by BenQ. They are not the only type of screen we supply and  install. Cablers engineers are busy everyday in schools across the south east providing network services and installing audio visual equipment including screens supplied by many manufactures but the BenQ interactive touch screen has forced its way to the top of the pile. It provides schools with a versatile classroom display that is technically advanced, robust and reliable, aesthetically pleasing and excellent value for money even without the Special offer that is currently available or the class leading software that comes included as standard.
If you looking for a touch screen that fits into a classroom environment perfectly which will allow pupils to experience real time collaboration and facilitates the ability for them to contribute to lessons through their own mobile devices from anywhere in the room or directly via the touch screen. A classroom display that supports Windows, MAC, Linux and Chrome operating systems. An interactive display that includes a number of effective learning tools and comes bundled with  SMART Notebook Advantage software for whiteboard applications and lesson building. A screen that has all of the connections you will need to support new and legacy equipment and one which delivers a first class user experience then you should seriously consider a BenQ interactive display.

Cablers Pricing & Offer details for BenQ interactive screens

BenQ RP700+ aBenQ screens come in three sizes 55″(RP551+) 65″(RP650+) 70″(RP700+)

This is why the BenQ RP700+ is top of the class

Easy to use and easy on the eye with BenQ Eye-care™ interactive displays, the BenQ RP700+ delivers a 70” classroom interaction solution enhanced by BYOD support.

BenQ Blue light image - Copy        

Low Blue Light Technology

The interactive flat panels are built with BenQ’s Low Blue Light Technology to reduce harmful blue spectrum light emission, which causes eyestrain, eye fatigue and even mascular degeneration. The Low Blue Light technology features the Classroom mode that combats the possible side effects associated with blue light in every usage occasion.

    AG(Anti-Glare) Glass

The screen’s anti-glare glass reduces reflection, for more legible text and clearer images, helping students avoid eyestrain and facilitating more effective instruction. The picture on the left shows AG glass which minimizes interfering glare on the screen surface. The picture on the right shows how conventional glass is prone to suffer from irritating glare that is not very friendly on the eye.

BenQ rp700plus_Anti_Glare fish 1BenQ rp700plus_Anti_Glare_c Fish Bad







Ambient Light Sensor               BenQ sensor_tl650

Automatic brightness adjustment ensures the best viewing experience regardless of ambient light levels, while protecting the eyes and reducing power consumption by up to 50%.


MDA Software

Multiple Display Administrator (MDA) saves time and effort by providing remote management of BenQ Interactive Flat Panel MDA also supports remote shutdowns of equipment not in use, saving significant power costs.

BenQ mda_rp700plus

BenQ front_rp700plusFront Bezel Hot Key Design

Hotkeys are incorporated on the front bezel for quick and easy access to Freeze and Blank features as well as volume and input source control.

BenQ quick_rp700plusQuick Access on Remote Control

The Freeze and Blank features are built as hotkeys on the remote control for easy access to support classroom instruction and presentation efficiency.



 Multi-Platform Compatibility

Compatible with major operating systems from Windows to Mac, Linux and Chrome, the interactive flat panels are built to work seamlessly with a wide range of computing and mobile devices with a simple plug and play.

BenQ multi_rp700plus

BenQ touch_rp700plus

Multi-PC Touch Support

With three USB ports, one set on the front bezel for easy access, the interactive flat panels support up to three computing devices.


DisplayNote Software        display-note-bog-v2 training

The DisplayNote software is a cross platform solution that facilitates real-time collaboration across multiple computing and smart devices, enabling everyone to stream content and contribute to the presentation. The Wireless Desktop Control feature further allows teachers to mirror and wirelessly control their PC from anywhere in class, freeing them from traditional lecture style teaching.

    BenQ ez_rp700plus

         EZCast Software

The EZCast software features WiFi Display that projects diverse digital content from computers and smart devices as well as your cloud storage via WiFi. Its Quad Split Screen feature supports cross-platform split-screen display from up to four input sources. As a result, teachers and students are able to share and interact freely.

                                                               SMART Notebook Software  SmartNotebook banner2

Choose the option that includes the SMART Notebook™ collaborative learning software, which sets the standard for creating, delivering and managing interactive activities within a single application. SMART’s award-winning Notebook software will give you access to a rich set of activity creation and delivery features with exciting ready-made content, tools and support for you to use in your classroom

Smart Notebook banner1


Key Features of BenQ RP700+ 70” Interactive Touchscreen Anti Glare LED Display

· Chromebook compatibility
· Anti Glare Display
· Interactive Touch Technology
· 70” Diagonal Screen
· High Definition and Optimal Resolution (Full HD 1080p – 1920 x 1280)
· 16:9 Widescreen Aspect Ratio
· 4000:1 High Contrast Ratio
· In-built amplifier and speakers (12W)
· I/O Connections: 3 x HDMI, 3 x USB, 1 x Power (AC) Input, 1 x Power (AC) Output, 2 x Line-in,
  2 x Composite Video (BNC) In, 1 x Composite Video (BNC) Out, 2 x   15W Built-in Speakers, 1 x RS232 In, 1 x S-Video In,
  2 x Component  In,1 x    Microphone-in (¼’), 1 x AC Power Switch
· Dimensions (W x H x D): 1645.1 x 971.8 x 123.5mm
· Weight: 72kg
· 3 Year On-Site UK Mainland Warranty





Cablers have been providing Education Technology solutions to schools and colleges for more than 15 years. In that time we have developed deep understanding of how schools operate. How they want to use and integrate technology into the curriculum and we also have knack for picking out products in the market place that deliver fantastic value and tick all the boxes that educational establishments have to check off before they commit to a purchase.

Contact the education team at Cablers for advice on the educational technology that will transform your classrooms and teaching practices

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