PJ Gupta, CEO of amtelnet.com
Online learning, research, access to web based textbooks, taking notes in class, collaborating on projects, and distributing content to students for class curriculum are some of the ways mobile devices are used in schools, colleges, libraries, and universities.
Securing mobile devices and their content, taking control of mobile apps, and assuring privacy of personally identifiable information are key challenges in the educational environment. Education sector also has unique characteristics where solutions are required to scale to high volume demands but need simple device enrollment processes and be responsive in peak usage periods.
10 High-Tech Ideas For Tablet Security In The Classroom
1. Choose a SaaS or cloud based mobile device management solution
SaaS or Cloud based solution enables elastic scaling to meet your needs, with fast deployments, instant software updates and always-on accessibility. Educational environments need a solution that can handle heavy usage periods during student enrollment, registration and special events.
2. Centrally pre-configure device and access policies and push to user devices en masse
The core purpose of your mobile device management solution is to secure the device, its contents, and its usage. To achieve this, you’ll need to establish and implement security and access control policies which can be managed centrally.
Examples of security policies include passcode requirements; enforcing data encryption for content by default; configuring secure channels for Wi-Fi access; and the ability to turn on and persist (GPS) location services for location based controls. You may want to restrict browsing to pre-selected URLs to minimize distractions and focus students on the learning outcomes.
Pre-configured policy settings and subsequent policy changes can be pushed centrally to ensure security and control with minimum administrative effort.
3. Protect content in secure containers to avoid inadvertent disclosure of private information
In a classroom environment, you need to securely share private information like grade reports and student account information. You need a management solution that can push updates centrally to secure container on the mobile device. In order to protect content, you also need the ability to automatically wipe associated content upon exit from transactional apps.
4. Gain control over apps
To gain control over mobile apps used by students, you need a way to easily define and implement policies for mobile apps usage, including remediation actions for policy violations. Mobile app management is best implemented as an integral part of a mobile device management solution.
The solution should provide the capabilities to blacklist apps along with remediation actions; whitelist apps for tight control that may block all other apps; private app store for educational or other mandatory app distribution and refresh; the ability to remotely push, update, or remove apps; location based access control for apps depending on whether the student is on school premises or outside; settings that limit resources accessed by apps to ensure privacy and enhance security with least privilege policy.
5. Location tracking can be your friend
Track location of device on a map and take remedial actions quickly on lost or stolen devices.
Time is of the essence for content protection and potential asset recovery in the event that a device issued to students or staff is lost or stolen. Coming to the rescue are the capabilities to locate a device and trace location path; tracking reports for management and alerts to users and admins; ability to remotely lock lost or stolen device and wipe content in full or selectively.
6. Flexibility with control – Geofencing simplifies your life
Location based geofencing policies can implement access control restrictions upon policy or threshold violations. You can define “geofence” areas and implement location based security policies when mobile device enters or exits the geofence boundaries.
In an educational setting, geofencing can lock certain apps and settings during school hours, but allow them outside school hours; and restrict device features such as camera, Bluetooth, and NFC within school premises.
7. Emergency Notification Service can save your day
Sending emergency notices and urgent announcements to enrolled user community becomes a simple task with the notification service built into Mobile Device Management solution. Admins set up groups and designate Admins who can easily send messages to selected groups of recipients in case of alerts or emergencies. Teachers can use this feature to send group messages to their class.
8. Make sure you get Apple VPP Support
To maximize cost savings on educational apps purchased from the Apple App Store, make sure Apple’s Volume Purchasing Plan (VPP) is supported in the Mobile App Management part of your Mobile Device Management solution. By pooling end user demand for mobile apps and centrally managing distribution, organizations are able to take advantage of the solution for students, faculty and staff.
9. Seek discounts
Special low price is often available for educational use of Mobile Device Management solution with typical discounts of 50% off normal pricing.
10. Select a vendor who is experienced in mobile management for schools and public organizations
Mobile device management solution enables organizations to leverage mobile technology for improved efficiency and better learning outcomes while securing usage of mobile devices, content, and apps. For successful implementation, make sure that you choose a vendor experienced in solving mobile management challenges in schools and public environments.
High-Tech Ideas For Tablet Security In The Classroom