Helping to Secure the Mobile Campus

A campus BYOD environment makes protecting both personal and institutional applications and systems a challenge

A growing number of staff and students are using personal mobile devices to access institutional applications. To protect campus systems, university leaders must figure out how to maintain a separation between school and personal information on devices. This web seminar, originally presented on October 29, 2013, featured mobile industry experts who discussed the challenges and solutions around protecting university systems, including how university data can be isolated, mobile device management, and preserving user device choice.

Kevin Burden 
Director of Mobility
Strategy Analytics

One of the hottest trends hitting higher education is BYOD, which means many users are accessing back-end systems on personal devices. From a systems-support point, this is posing some significant challenges. Users are becoming much more savvy and reliant on mobile technology leading to BYOD growing as a trend that is nearly impossible to stop, so it is better to view it as an opportunity to engage learners and enhance staff productivity. Colleges and universities are being squeezed from two different directions.

IT leaders are being faced with lower budgets and trying to manage costs, as well as trying to satisfy the growing requirements of faculty members who are trying to educate a 21st-century workforce. These learners have very high expectations for how accessible information should be to them. This is leading to a borderless network on higher ed campuses that promotes efficiency, productivity, and learning. We see educators focused on providing a next-generation learning experience, with secure mobility services and a media-rich learning environment.

This environment needs to be secure and administrative processes need to be as efficient as possible. IT staff play a critical role in supporting all of these efforts. There are a lot of external forces shaping the strategic priorities of higher ed leaders.

Some specific challenges include the necessity to:

  • Contain and reduce costs
  • Achieve measurable improvements in student outcomes
  • Keep pace with innovation in e-learning and use it as a competitive advantage
  • Meet students’ and faculty members’ expectations of consumer technologies and communication standards

The consumerization of IT in higher ed hasn’t happened overnight, it has evolved over time and is largely hinged on three points:

  • Device choices: Users have different preferences for style and platform
  • Cloud: Many more services run in the cloud now
  • Connectivity: The desire to be connected all the time is prevalent

Many colleges and universities are shifting from prohibiting mobile devices on campus networks to embracing BYOD as a means to enhance the teaching and learning experience. Mobile devices can improve student engagement, improve operational efficiencies, expand collaboration, and expand the capabilities of an existing technology infrastructure. A survey conducted by Bradford Networks earlier this year revealed that BYOD is rampant. Eighty-five percent of higher ed institution leaders currently allow some form of BYOD on campus networks. The small portion that do not allow it report they are constantly fielding requests by faculty and students to use their own devices on the campus network.

There is evidence that allowing BYOD is changing the education experience. More than 70 percent of those surveyed said they recognized that students are now using their own devices to complete class assignments. Of course, what follows is the rise of curriculum that adapts itself to a population that is known to be constantly connected. More than half the surveyed university representatives said the use of personal devices is now integrated into the classroom experience. There are some questions that should be asked by those who are responsible for maintaining the smooth operation of a campus network and security of back-end systems, as well as those that enable the connected user experience.

First, you need to think about scalability: How can you accommodate the explosion of new devices and applications that students and staff want to use on your network in real time? One must think about the scalability of the network. When you get to a highly mobile population, what you tend to see is traffic appearing and disappearing throughout the day on different access points. There is also the issue of security: How can you determine who, what, when, where, and how many users and devices access your network? Manageability requires thinking about the managing of your network and ensuring compliance with campus policies, regardless of where someone is connected on the network. Within IT, simplicity is crucial; problems should be reasonably predictable. It is also very important to maintain budgets and meet the needs of users while controlling costs.

Thomas Molina 
Education Industry Solutions Manager

We are going to be discussing a mobile solution that addresses some of the challenges of BYOD, called AT&T Toggle. Market dynamics are shaping unified communications strategies. We know that staff, students, and administrators all want choice. We know we are going to see greater employee productivity and gains from that productivity if choice is allowed. BYOD allows that type of choice. Applications need to be examined by higher ed leaders; administrators need to decide which applications should be implemented at their institution. How can these applications be provided in an effective way to end users? If device is provided to users and they do not find it helpful, they will go elsewhere and use their own device. Social tools are becoming the order of the day and are shaping the future of communications.

There are three considerations when it comes to BYOD in higher ed:

  • Employee and Student Privacy: Users want privacy and separation regarding their personal information when they are using personal devices on institution networks.
  • Security: The data for your work force should be encrypted and this data should be segmented when dealing with the business side of the phone.
  • Productivity: Productivity is driven by both allowing users to use their devices on the network and providing them with applications.

AT&T Toggle provides a dual persona on devices. It “splits” devices, so users have an institution side and a personal side. There is a clear delineation between the two. There is encryption as well as data storage located in the institution side, which is protected. When users move out of the institution side, they can use their personal side, which is completely separate. Toggle allows split billing, allowing one bill for the customer for their personal use of the device, and one bill to the institution for school use. Billing can be split for both voice and data. It also allows for the security aspect that is necessary for these devices. It is essential to make sure the information that is downloaded to a mobile device is secure.

There is also a mobile device management platform within Toggle, which allows IT staff to manage mobile devices from the institution side only. What is the difference between traditional device management and Toggle’s workspace management? When you look at traditional device management, you are looking at having full control over the device. There are limitations on employee privacy, and on the devices that can be chosen because there is no delineation between personal and institutional use. There are also often high per-device costs with traditional mobile device management. With Toggle’s mobile workspace management, the IT staff is managing only the institution workspace associated with a device. Employee privacy is increased because of the clear delineation between the personal and the business side. Users have control and choice over whichever device they would like to use. There are container management capabilities, as well as an application-level VPN.

To watch this web seminar in its entirety, please go to:


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