Guest Column | November 6, 2013

Three Mistakes Schools Make With BYOD

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By Cal Calamari, Global Solutions Lead For Enterprise Networks and Connections, Motorola Solutions

Mobile devices and education are nearly synonymous these days. Higher education students are bringing more than three Wi-Fi enabled devices with them to campus. Students in K-12 are bringing smartphones, iPod touches, Kindles, tablets, and laptops, which are used for digital textbooks and online testing. The explosion of these powerful mobile devices puts desktop applications into the hands of students, while the latest Wi-Fi standards such as 802.11n and the introduction of 802.11ac eliminate the need for wires. All of these Wi-Fi devices can create havoc on the educational institution’s wireless LAN and overload an IT department or administrator.  The challenge for IT is how to onboard all of these devices securely and apply the appropriate policy for network access to protect the network, resources, and individuals using the network.

This has led to BYOD (Bring Your Own Device), which started simply enough: how to onboard all these devices without a manual setup or registration of MAC addresses by users or IT staff. However, BYOD is beyond simple onboarding. It is about identifying the student, authenticating that student, and then onboarding student devices with secure connections while provisioning that device with the appropriate access. And it’s not just about student access — teachers, administrators, maintenance staff, and visitors expect to be able to use their own devices on campus — especially as they come to depend on smartphone applications to do their jobs.

When considering a BYOD strategy for K-12 and campuses,  IT directors need carefully think about how to implement a strategy that is easy and secure for their users while managing their most precious resource; their wireless LAN.

Here are three key mistakes schools make when implementing a BYOD strategy on campuses:

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