Many companies are struggling with how to allow employees to bring their personal devices to work and access the corporate network. A host of issues have to be addressed along the way, starting with who is actually on your network right now, is that person even allowed on your network, what devices are they using, and is it safe or is it infested with malware?
All these bring-your-own-device (BYOD) challenges have already been addressed and overcome by educational institutions. The sector is where BYOD got its start, spurred by students armed with the latest mobile devices. Colleges and universities quickly realized that if they did nothing, students would find a way to get on the network anyway – just like employees are probably doing now, under the radar.
This group has provided a great laboratory for the emergence of BYOD breakthroughs that organizations of all kinds use today. A key technology innovation is the ability to automatically identify every device trying to access the network, its software configuration, and the user associated with it. With this critical visibility, the next step is policy-based access control that enables companies to define rules governing network access according to the user's role with the organization and security status of their device, and then enforce those rules automatically. Together, this visibility and control allows thousands – or tens of thousands – of students, as well as faculty and guests, to come on campus with their personal devices and get the network resources they are authorized for, without jeopardizing security or overwhelming IT staff.
Our learning institutions continue to set the pace in BYOD, driving innovations to support the exotic devices students bring in, and integrations with advanced security solutions that correlate with network and device information to provide greater levels of protection. So, if your company is debating whether or not to introduce secure BYOD, the education marketplace can teach you a lot.