BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) is starting to become part of our everyday lives. Sectors such as higher education, healthcare, and corporate workplaces are making the most of a proliferation of personal devices and most people are now using them in every aspect of their lives.

But, what is BYOD, what are the benefits, how is it being used in higher education and how should it be implemented? We’ll answer all of these questions and more in this guide.

What is BYOD and why is it important?

In recent years, BYOD has become more and more prevalent in the corporate, public sector, healthcare, and educational organizations. More people than ever now own a mobile device of some kind so using them across all aspects of life provides an easier way to work and study in any location, at any time.

BYOD is important to both organizations, staff, and students for the following reasons:

  • Expectations from users
  • Prevalence of devices
  • Security
  • Productivity
What is BYOD and why it's important

Within the higher education sector, in particular, over 85% of students now bring their own tablet or laptop with them so organizations face an increasing expectation to allow students to use them in order to access university resources and complete their studies and coursework.

Implementing a BYOD policy can help higher education organizations to meet long-term business goals including:

  • Attract and retain more students
  • Increase student experience
  • Provide access to academic resources

In addition, students are able to work and access university resources whenever and wherever they need to which provides them with the mobility and flexibility they have come to expect from the university they attend.

Why is there a growing demand for BYOD?

As mobile devices, laptops and tablets have become available to the mass market, the demand for the use of personal devices in all aspects of our life has increased.

The below factors have had a huge influence on the proliferation of BYOD policies in a wide number of sectors:

  • High power, low cost of devices
  • Multiple types of device
  • Global cost-cutting measures
  • Consumer app stores
  • COVID-19
What is BYOD and why it's important
In higher education, in particular, BYOD has presented an opportunity for organizations to cut costs in terms of ensuring that tens of thousands of end-users have access to managed devices.

Rather than having to make resources available on managed devices across the university campus, organizations can make use of the end-devices students bring with them and who will expect be able to use them on a daily basis.

The future of BYOD

It is predicted that, by 2022, the BYOD market will be worth up to $300 billion and $430 billion by 2025.

BYOD is quickly becoming the norm in higher education and, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic, has provided universities with a method of enabling students to continue working and studying from home almost overnight.

How BYOD works in schools

Alongside higher education, BYOD is also becoming popular within schools too. BYOD policies provide schools with a way to increase the provision of software access and digital learning to pupils without having to invest in additional hardware.

The benefits of implementing a BYOD policy in schools include:

  • Costs
  • Student familiarity with devices
  • Increased engagement
  • Greater results
  • Continuity in education
  • Preparation for higher education and the world of work

Despite the benefits, there can also be drawbacks including:

  • Students without their own machines
  • Potential for distractions
  • Less exposure to varying devices and operating systems
  • Security
  • Troubleshooting

BYOD is important within schools as it helps to introduce students to using their own devices for their studies and will prepare them for the world of higher education and work where these policies are becoming the norm.

For schools, it helps to reduce investments in hardware and helps them to increase the number of resources available including software, digital media, and digital learning environments at a fraction of the cost of providing enough machines for every student. Whilst BYOD can be expensive initially, the long-term savings made on hardware costs far outweigh the initial cost.

BYOD devices in higher education

With so many different devices now available, universities can expect to see a wide range of devices and operating systems across the campus. In order to deliver software to so many different devices, universities much consider this to make sure software is available to as many students as possible.

In fact, there are very few devices that will not work on a BYOD policy.

The devices used within a BYOD policy can affect software delivery in the following ways:

  • Different devices require different technologies
  • Operating systems are as important as device type
  • Hardware capabilities affect suitable delivery technologies
  • Security

The devices that can be used include:

  • Windows devices
  • Macs
  • Chromebooks
  • Tablets
  • Smartphones
  • Games consoles

When implementing a BYOD policy, it’s important to consider all of these devices and ensure that software and apps can be used across all of these.

How to launch a successful BYOD policy

Ensuring that BYOD policies are a success involves a solid BYOD policy in which both the organization and the students understand how their devices can be used and how resources can be accessed.

BYOD policies should cover aspects such as:

  • Device type
  • Operating system
  • Available resources
  • Security

When implemented properly, a successful BYOD policy will ensure that students have everything they need and reduce the support load for IT departments.

Students no longer expect to be provided with campus computers or hardware, they now expect to be able to turn up on campus and work with their own device immediately. So, those universities that can implement the policy successfully, will ensure that their students are provided with the level of access they need.

Ensuring BYOD security

Among the benefits that BYOD can offer, one of the biggest drawbacks is the security challenges it can present.

BYOD allows students and staff to access networks and systems on and off-site with no manual verification required from IT for every device joining the network, which can pose a number of problems.

Security challenges associated with BYOD include:

  • Hacking
  • Malware
  • Device loss or theft
  • Data leakage
  • Less control over devices than university-owned devices
A guide to BYOD security

However, by understanding the potential risks and putting measures in place to mitigate them, both universities and students can continue to enjoy the benefits of BYOD.

Security measures include:

  • Formal security policy
  • Secure connection methods
  • Educate students on security

Implementing a range of best practices can prevent security breaches from happening and provide students with a greater awareness of how they should be using their devices, connecting to the network, and where they connect.

Why should you create a BYOD acceptable use policy?

As well as security, ensuring that students use BYOD acceptably, will help to prevent widespread issues and abuse of the system.

The benefits of an acceptable use policy are:

  • Protect network from security breaches
  • Provides greater control for universities
  • Reduce on-demand support
  • Make sure students know how to use their own devices to access resources
Why should you create a BYOD acceptable use policy?

The policy should cover aspects such as permitted devices, registering devices, security best practices, support available, and the consequences of misuse.

One of the keys to a successful BYOD policy is educating students and letting them know how they should use their own devices as well as how to protect the university network and their own information.

How to implement BYOD in universities and higher education

To ensure that any BYOD policy is successful, making sure the implementation plan is solid is key. The majority of students now prefer to use their own devices to complete university work so implementing a BYOD policy has become a must for higher education organizations around the world.

To implement BYOD, certain technologies and solutions are required to provide students with the access they need. These include:

  • Application virtualization
  • VDI
  • Front-end portals for launching BYOD apps
  • Reporting engine for BYOD data insight

To deliver software and applications to student devices, these solutions should be implemented to make the student experience run as smoothly as possible.

In addition, as we have already mentioned, implementation requires clear policies and guidelines for students to follow so that they understand how BYOD can be used to help them complete their studies. This policy should then be communicated to them to ensure they understand the risks and the measures they should take to avoid these.

The success of a BYOD policy within an organization will not only rest on how the students use it but how it is implemented in the first place. A well-thought-out and timed implementation will help organizations and students to fully benefit from the policy.

How does BYOD compare to CYOD and COPE?

CYOD allows universities to give students a set of devices to choose from as well as using their own devices to access resources. It is often seen as a middle ground between BYOD and COPE.

Benefits of CYOD include:

  • Socio-economic responsibility
  • Cost-effective
  • Freedom
  • Compatibility
  • Security

COPE gives universities the opportunity to provide students with university-owned devices which gives universities more control over devices.

Benefits include:

  • Control
  • Security
  • University-owned devices

As you can see, all three solutions offer different options and benefits to both students, staff, and university organizations. Each organization will have different requirements so it’s important to consider all aspects before choosing a solution.

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