Colleges and universities are one of the most crowded mobile environments you'll find in anywhere today. Students carry at least one (likely more) mobile device that is connected to your campus wireless network at all times and because of this the need to support things like BYOD on your campus wifi network has become the norm. From completing assignments on platforms such as Moodle, streaming videos, accessing social media, or even just basic web surfing, managing the thousands of devices can seem like quite the challenge and the truth is it is.
There are many pieces to the overall higher education networking puzzle and two of those pieces are visibility and control.
Without the right amount of visibility and control over the mobile devices and users that are trying to access your school’s resources you’re leaving yourself exposed and open for all kinds of risks that puts everyone’s data and the health of your network in danger.
In order to keep everyone’s data secure while at the same time allowing your IT team to be flexible and more efficient, your school should be seriously considering a mobile device management solution or MDM.
Mobile device management (MDM) simply allows you to track, manage and support every mobile device that’s connecting or attempting to connect to your campus wifi network from a one dashboard.
In order to help you understand the value of an MDM solution we’ve outlined exactly how it can benefit your campus’s IT team as well as the student experience.
One of the first benefits many IT teams will experience after implementing an MDM solution is the time they get back from not having to secure and configure everyone’s devices individually and manually.
It’s now possible to not only distribute different applications and data but also to properly configure and update everyone’s mobile devices from a central platform. Mobile Device Management allows your IT staff to literally support the entire lifecycle of your user’s mobile devices from registration to graduation.
This benefits your students by giving you the ability to keep everyone’s mobile device up to date and performing as they should. This leads to less frustration, increased productivity and overall a better wireless experience.
Suggested Reading – “Is Your Campus Wifi Quality Affecting Student Enrollment?"
Wireless network security is always a critical component of every college or university’s mobility strategy. With so many mobile devices entering the campus environment that aren’t owned by the school you have to make sure you have policies in place to keep your student’s and your school’s data safe.
Using things like certificate-based security policies, and the ability to selectively wipe lost or stolen devices, providing the right amount of security is becoming easier to properly implement while not impeding on the user experience that students expect.
In addition IT will now have the ability to apply granular policies based on device type, who owns the device and the role of the user. This will allow for better privacy compliance as well as a safer environment for both the school and its students.
One of the most challenging aspects to BYOD and the demand mobile devices places on our wireless networks is the amount of different platforms and operating systems that you have to try and support.
With MDM you can now easily manage and support all of your mobile devices no matter what the operating system, no matter what the brand, no matter what type of device.
What this means for your IT team is increased productivity and lower costs from not having to support mobile adoption on campus using traditional means.
People (especially students) don’t like being told what to do, so from a user experience perspective again mobile device management wins in that it allows your students to use their own devices.
Mobility Isn't Just One Thing
Mobility systems are just that, systems. There isn’t some singular "magical" solution that you can implement that will create the perfect wireless network.
Suggested Reading – “How to Effectively Plan Your Next Wireless Network Design"
It starts with planning and never really stops. You’re always tweaking and adjusting, measuring, tracking and monitoring in the pursuit of constantly trying to provide a better, safer experience for your students and faculty.
Mobile Device Management is just one piece of the mobility ecosystem but it’s definitely one piece you can’t overlook.
At SecurEdge we’ve been supporting colleges and universities on their journey to deliver a secure and rich wireless experience to their students, if you have any questions about MDM or your current mobility system in general, please contact us here, we’d be happy to see how we can help.