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Kay Bailey, Daisy's Product Manager for Unified Communications and Mobility, discusses the role of MDM in supporting BYOD within the education sector.



The idea of a student using their personal smartphone, tablet or laptop in the classroom has long been a source of anxiety for teachers. It was a sign that a pupil had switched off and decided to switch their attention to playing a game, watching a video or messaging their friend across the room.

Today, however, as technology continues to influence a student’s academic development and enhance the learning experience, schools are faced with the daunting challenge of providing some form of device for every pupil. Amidst stringent budget cuts though, achieving this perfect scenario is simply out of the question for most.

The arrival of BYOD

In an attempt to make their budget go further, tech-savvy schools, colleges and universities have embraced the bring-your-own-device (BYOD) trend, allowing students to access a wireless network via their personal device. But by granting personal devices on campus access to a network, cybersecurity challenges inevitably rear their ugly head.

The security of mobile devices on a school’s network is undoubtedly a major concern. Therefore, an institution’s IT team has a responsibility to put in place access controls, policy enforcement and security countermeasures, to maintain security standards and provide awareness of what data is being accessed by which endpoint.

What is MDM?

Mobile Device Management (MDM) is an easy-to-use cloud platform that provides instant visibility as to who is connecting to your corporate data and with which devices – perfect for supporting a BYOD policy. The solution gives IT departments complete control to safeguard important data by having the ability to detect security threats such as non-compliant or jail broken devices.

MDM helps manage the range of devices on a school’s wireless network by giving specific users certain privileges and access to applications, data and configurations based on a set of rules defined by an organisation’s IT department.

Security

It’s important when enabling student’s access to a network that educational institutions first prompt them to enter a password to initially log on or register a device – or follow an alternative security approval procedure. Schools in particular can then create a tailored package of apps or resources that will immediately download to a device once it is registered.

One of the most important features of a Mobile Management solution however, is its ability to preserve valuable personal data, particularly important for educational organisations as they have to abide by the UK government’s Data Protection Act. The mobile platform allows IT teams to instantly wipe devices of any confidential school, college or university data if the device should ever get lost or stolen.

Finally, given the sheer amount of smartphones, tablets and laptops available on the market, an organisation must consider investing in a solution that provides the necessary support to work with the latest iPhone, Windows phone or Android device.

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