With Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) being the latest buzzword, it’s only natural that school administrators might delve into research that might reveal or create fear. Therefore, we should address the myths associated with BYOD and put to bed any such fears.
The 4 most common dangers or fears associated with BYOD are:
1) Security: The proliferation of different devices on a network can obviously pose a threat to a network if a virus is waiting on the devices. The fear of devices attempting to access administrative files and emails without proper access can also prove scary.
With proper infrastructure, your wireless network system should integrate with active directory to assign user roles based on whose device is logging into the network and allowing them proper access based on their role. With proper Network Access Control a virus can be detected before the device is allowed on the network to cause any damage really mitigating the whole security fear.
2) Safety: It is a fact that a major fear with BYOD in schools that kids will access content of questionable nature. CIPA (Children's Internet Protection Act) laws require that schools have filtering in place for this very reason. Many IT departments feel with student’s bringing their own devices, content filtering will be much harder to manage and make it harder to ensure the safety of their students.
Next generation firewalls can bring this fear to a halt as they are application aware and can detect what applications teachers and students are using and what sites they are trying to access. A policy can easily be written for the groups of users that relates to what they are allowed to do online including how much bandwidth they are allowed to use. They can be rate limited from using You Tube while allowed more accessibility and bandwidth to get on an Educational application such as Moodle.
3) Networking Struggles: With an array of devices come differing configurations and software levels. Many schools fear BYOD will bring their network to its knees. Of course they don’t want their teachers to be consumed with being tech support and troubleshooting instead of teaching.
With a proper network set up that includes centralized management and high capacity load balancing, this fear can be laid to rest. The network must be able to properly support the amount of devices and the amount of users on the network no matter what device comes up. A wireless system that also includes the ability to auto adjust channel and power settings in real time let’s your teacher be the teachers and not tech-support.
4) Cost for Students: Many schools fear some students will not be able to afford a device to bring to the classroom and will be left out of the curriculum. In the majority of school districts these days, every student has at least one smart device. Actually most of them have more than one. There are some schools, particularly the more rural districts where many students simply do not have the ability or funds to procure a device.
Luckily this fear can be alleviated as there are many government funds available for such school districts and students. Also, consider a device loaner program where schools can rent devices to the students per semester.
Of course there are many other fears that might be keeping schools from pursuing a BYOD solution, which is understandable. We can help address those as well. We are experts in school wireless design and have helped bring mobility solutions like BYOD to schools all over the country. If you would like more information about BYOD and some help conquering those all those BYOD fears we would be happy to answer any of your questions. Our goal is to be a resource for you. Just contact us here. Also check out our BYOD Resource Kit for some more information as well. Good luck!