David Szpunar: Lead Engineer, PC Help Services

David's Church Information Technology

March 23rd, 2007 at 2:56 pm Print This Post Print This Post

Public Computer Lockdown Options

We are placing four computers in our new youth facility for web browsing, homework help, etc., and I’m looking at options for securing the computers.  The software I know of (but have never used) is called Faronics DeepFreeze.  I thought I heard about a better alternative to this software on the Casting From the Server Room podcast last Fall, but I can’t seem to locate that information.  I’m not sure if this is even the best way to lock down the systems.  I’ve considered lock-down via Group Policy, which I’ve done before and may still do to limit actual actions on the computer, but it’s not foolproof and it takes a lot of detail to lock down “just enough” but not “too much.”  And I don’t necessarily want these systems joined to the domain, either.

Any options anyone has successfully used to implement this functionality?  Anything I should be aware of or stay away from?  I’ve considered using thin clients and a terminal server, but I don’t have the time to research cost comparisons (computer and support cost vs. server cost…I may be getting some thin clients for free soon and if so, I have plenty of other uses for them anyway) and such (will audio work, will all possible future applications run in Terminal Services, and so on).  I’m probably going to grab some off-lease IBM NetVista machines for about $275 and add some RAM.