Should Your School Implement A BYOD Policy?

It’s been a long held belief that phones and other devices have no place in the classroom. But times have changed and schools have started to implement their own technology programs, purchasing tablets or laptops for student use. The only problem? A program like that can get expensive. That’s why schools are now introducing a policy known as BYOD. BYOD, or Bring Your Own Device, is a policy that’s as simple as it sounds - students are now encouraged to bring their own devices to aid in classroom learning.  

Sounds like a pretty good policy. Schools can keep up with the times without having to max their budgets on devices most students already have. What could go wrong? Depending on who you ask, there could be a number of problems. Parents worry about students getting distracted by games, going unmonitored on social media, or even being bullied because they can’t afford the latest technology. But even IT professionals have their own fears.

When it comes to students using their own devices, IT professionals worry about the one thing no one likes to talk about – viruses. It seems like a natural concern when hundreds of devices are all trying to connect to the same network. Jimmy might have one device with the latest software, Becky might be one update behind, and Johnny might have never installed an update since he got the device while also clicking on every link he finds. Surely somewhere a virus is lurking, just waiting to attack your school’s network.

But sometimes, viruses are the least of your worries. What about all that sensitive data you’ve got tucked away? Contact information, social security numbers, maybe even financial information for the school. You don’t need a student accidentally stumbling across that information and copying something they shouldn’t. Let alone a student or outside source purposefully hunting it down. Suddenly, those helpful devices designed for learning have turned into tools for amateur hackers.

Sensitive data and potential viruses are logical threats to be concerned about. But, here’s one more you might not have considered in the BYOD argument. What about complying with CIPA? The Children’s Internet Protection Act requires schools to restrict a student’s access to potentially obscene or harmful content. It’s easy enough on a school-owned device, but how do you protect a student when they’re using their own device?

All these concerns are enough to make any school back down from a potential BYOD policy, but don’t give up so fast! There are ways to reduce your school’s security risks, and reduce any potential threat you might encounter.  Stay tuned to find out what you can do to keep your school safe.

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