BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) users are the one who brings their personal devices on the campus in order to perform organizational work. A BYOD user, in the K-12 environment, could be anyone from a student who brings a laptop from home in order to do research for a term paper in the library to a teacher who utilizes apps on her personal tablet to keep track of classroom-related tasks.
A basic expectation of working or doing schoolwork in the 21st century is the ability to easily and quickly connect to a reliable and readily-available Wi-Fi network for most of those BYOD users. The problem of supporting a large number of BYOD users can be an immense challenge for the IT managers whose jobs involve managing those networks. IT personnel charged with the responsibility of managing a network for a larger school, especially when you consider that each of those people will likely be bringing more than one device from home, can be in the midst of a really challenging situation.
Another concern is that the students will require a different set of credentials than the staff, and so will the guest users. Additionally, the IT department resources will require a different set of credentials. IT managers can give different types of users who require access to different types of resources the proper credentials they need with the help of network access control (NAC) solutions. NAC solutions help control who accesses the network and also control the number of devices they use to access it. Virtual local area networks (VLANs) segment traffic so that different parts of the network have different security permissions.
A NAC solution might not work in the same way for all types of organizations. Therefore networks with a large number of BYOD users should be using certificate-based access that is tied to a framework which allows for refined identity and policy management. Whether a school’s IT department decides to utilize mobile device management (MDM) or deploy a containerization solution like mobile application management (MAM) depends on what’s best for that particular environment.