Bradford Networks, an organisation that has been at the forefront of network security in the education sector since 2000, recently commissioned a survey of 500 institutions in the education sector to gauge attitudes towards bring your own device (BYOD). It may be great for enabling new ways of learning, teaching and collaborating, but BYOD presents a number of challenges for the IT department, with security remaining the number one concern.
Based on extensive experience developed from helping over 600 educational institutions, Bradford Networks recommends the following best practices when developing a BYOD solution:
Conduct an in-depth analysis of your network visibility and security
- How much visibility do you currently have into who and what is connecting to the network?
- Can you identify the types of endpoint devices that are connecting, as well as who is using those devices to connect to the network?
Create or update your BYOD policy
- Decide which devices you will support (iPads, smartphones, PlayStations, Xbox, IPTV, etc.)
- Determine which operating systems you will support, and which AV software you will require (and their versions). Allow at least one “free” antivirus option whenever possible.
- Decide whether you will prohibit or restrict any specific applications (such as Peer-2-Peer music sharing).
- Determine the different role-based access policies needed for faculty, staff and students
- Determine remediation policies — such as isolation or limited access.
- Set up remote registration so that students can pre-register their devices before they leave home.
- Keep the process simple — remember that students get frustrated easily.
Implement in phases
- Start with problem areas that are high risk.
- Expand into other areas.
Provide a solution for guests
- Make guest access easy to find and connect.
- Limit guest access (network and bandwidth), or guest networks may become overused and overloaded.
Communicate the policy
- Keep it simple: the fewer words the better.
- Make sure all stakeholders know the policy requirements.
- Offer assistance (give them a supervised place to go when they get frustrated).
- Let them know you are just ensuring compliance.
One of the most important things to remember is that you can’t just set up your policy based on a snapshot of security risks and student/faculty needs at a single point in time. BYOD is an ongoing process: You must continuously check for the changing needs of users, and modify your policy accordingly. Using the right technology solution is a key factor in ensuring your policy is up-to-date and network access is automatically managed. Network access control gives your IT department the ability to manage and secure the BYOD tsunami, while enabling students and faculty to take education beyond the classroom walls.
About Bradford Networks
Bradford Networks is recognised as the vendor of choice for educational institutions that are proactively addressing the security and management challenges of BYOD. The company’s Network Sentry solution is the first network security offering that automatically identifies and profiles all devices and all users on a network, providing complete visibility and enabling total network access control. Today, millions of students around the globe are using Network Sentry to gain access to school and campus networks, safely and automatically.