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How to manage BYOD within your Higher Education organization

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For higher education organizations worldwide, BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) has been a valuable solution to offer better learning opportunities and improve student satisfaction. It’s become more essential than ever for students to be able to utilize their own devices to enhance their studies and learning experiences. However, without effective management, BYOD can pose a number of problems.

With proper management, active measures, and appropriate security, BYOD policies are an extremely valuable solution. This guide will discuss the key factors required for appropriate management, as well as the measures that can be taken to put these in place.

Key factors to consider for managing BYOD

Key factors in managing BYOD

When implementing a BYOD initiative in any organization, it’s vital to put in place best practices to ensure the policy is as effective as possible and provides the correct benefits without putting university data, student data or student devices at risk.

Here are some of the crucial elements that should be managed when allowing students to use their own device to access resources both on and off-campus:

Security

BYOD security solutions are crucial, not just to protect students and staff but to ensure that sensitive university data is always protected.

While safety is always a concern for higher education organizations, it’s also a vital area of mobile device management when it comes to BYOD. Without up-to-date, consistent, and comprehensive security measures, BYOD could pose a considerable security risk to the organization which can be costly to correct.

Access control

Access control is another vital element of managing BYOD, putting measures in place to ensure you know who is accessing your network, when and why they are accessing it, and whether they have permission to do so.

Without mobile device management processes in place to manage access control through smartphones and operating systems for the use of apps and software, data breaches and hacking is a far more significant threat.

Student privacy

The privacy of students is a crucial concern, especially when it comes to students using their own devices to access university materials and facilities.

To protect students and ensure they can access university resources without security concerns or a data breach, it’s essential to have device management systems in place to provide protection for any BYOD initiative.

Network management

While security concerns are the primary focus of any BYOD management plans, the management of the network itself shouldn’t be overlooked.

Being able to control access to the system to ensure all students and employees have access to resources on-demand from their own device is a necessary part of ongoing management. It’s also important to ensure the network marches up to requirements as the services expand or the number of access points grows.

Device theft and loss

BYOD brings a security risk through the theft or loss of a mobile device. This means it’s essential to actively manage and put processes in place to reduce the risks of a lost or stolen device, keeping the network secure and student’s privacy intact in the process.


How organizations can manage key factors

How to manage BYOD

Understanding the main risks of a BYOD policy is the best way to implement steps to manage these risks and lower the impact of each risk should it occur.

By putting foundations in place to reduce risk, including an active BYOD security policy and ongoing training, it’s far easier and more effective to manage BYOD initiatives in real-time.

Here are some of the best ways to manage these factors:

Communication

Communication is the vital cog in so many aspects of higher education organizations and managing a BYOD policy is no exception.

It’s important that BYOD policies and guidelines are actively communicated to both staff and students to ensure they understand what is required of them, as well as the measures that are put in place to keep them safe.

These policies should be readily available, whether on the network itself or in other formats to allow students and staff to familiarize themselves with them in their own time.

Training

Providing students and staff with training on digital security can help to significantly reduce the problems and risks associated with BYOD. This should include the rules for specific devices, if they vary, as well as informing students and employees of the processes they need to go through in the event of a lost or stolen personal device, or if they need to gain access to the network from a new smartphone or computer.

Device restrictions

While inclusivity is vital for Higher Education facilities, there are still certain limitations that can be put in place for access to the university network. This could include only allowing access to iOS and Android devices, as well as a Windows or Mac operating system.

Providing restrictions helps to reduce risk and improve the security of the BYOD system which not only benefits the organization, it helps to keep students and staff safe too.

Security measures

Appropriate security measures, such as screen locks, passcodes, and even two-factor authentication to ensure device security, are all measures that can be taken to significantly enhance network security.

Putting these processes into place as soon as possible will help to ensure that students and staff are safe to access the network from their chosen device. Requiring every student or member of staff to register each device specifically for access to further enhance the security of a BYOD policy.

Active management

Whilst passing on knowledge and providing training for students and staff is extremely valuable, active management is also a must for a BYOD policy to succeed.

This means managing the content and apps that students have access to depending on their individual needs. For example, allowing students from a certain course to access only the resources they need and not all of the resources available at the university. A particular app may be required for some courses and not for others so ensuring only those who need access to it have it, can help to reduce some of the risks associated with a BYOD policy.

It also involves quickly removing past students from networks and handling problems related to security and student concerns as they arise.

Up-to-date policies

Finally, having consistently up-to-date policies is essential for ensuring that BYOD policies are successful and remain secure throughout their lifetime.

As network changes come into place and new technologies are added to the system, it’s essential to keep the requirements, ongoing policies, and management requirements up-to-date too.

When considering a BYOD policy within Higher Education, it’s important to take the factors discussed in this guide into consideration to ensure that students and staff are able to utilize it properly, gain the most value from it, and to protect the university.

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