While the Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) concept is not new, in recent years, it has become increasingly more popular than it was back in 2005 when the term was first coined, or in 2009 when Intel noticed their employees were bringing their own devices to work. The world of technology has improved so much since then, and unfortunately, so have the cybersecurity threats and hacking tactics that are causing a great deal of concern in the higher ed sector.
BYOD is more than just a good idea; it's necessary in these current times. It enables the use of technology both online and in the classroom. Having permission to use personal devices paired with innovative tools such as AI and lab simulation, students from a wide variety of majors worldwide can complete their required courses with minimal time or location constraints. It's such a creative and adaptable way to learn new skills. Of course, with all the benefits, there are pitfalls.
If not properly managed, BYOD can be an IT department's greatest challenge. By now, most colleges and universities have BYOD policies in place to help students and staff. However, poorly constructed BYOD policies, or not having one at all, can negatively impact both the institution itself and student experiences.
Here is a list of how to help mitigate risks:
Create a thorough BYOD policy for students AND staff, and update it often
Clearly set expectations and responsible use policies
During the development phase of such policy, collaborate with various departments and leaders to ensure you are meeting the goals of each person
Be sure to include operating system requirements and tech support boundaries
Network monitoring and logging are vital steps to ensure compliance and responsible use
Require or provide anti-virus and anti-malware protection
Spread the word. Flood all channels with training information to make staff and students aware of the changes, the benefits, the risks, and how working together has a positive effect on students, staff, and the institution as a whole