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You Can't Ignore Mobility

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Higher Education Can't Ignore Mobility

Colleges are figuring out how to enable mobile productivity while keeping data and networks secure.

posted August 16, 2013  |  Appears in the Summer 2013 issue of EdTech Magazine.

Colleges and universities are finding out quickly that, when it comes to ­mobility, more is better. Whether that means enabling greater ­access by ­student or staff personal ­devices on campus, or providing more ­support, bandwidth and security, higher ed IT teams know one thing is ­certain: ­Mobility and its resulting ­challenges are here to stay.

Many articles in this edition share stories of IT leaders who are rising to meet those challenges through unique solutions and upgrades that improve service while ­laying the foundation for future technology changes or requirements.

The ABCs of BYOD details the lessons learned and best practices of three institutions that instituted successful BYOD plans, as well as the ways in which their IT departments have evolved to support them. As ­Cecil College CIO Stephen diFilipo puts it, higher ed IT now finds itself in the "bring-your-own-everything era of higher education."

Instead of focusing on hardware, the IT team at Rowan-­Cabarrus ­Community College in ­Kannapolis, N.C., focuses on how to support broader access to ensure ­users can connect wirelessly and log on to the network.

"They're not going to bring in devices that they don't understand how to use," says Mary Wymbs, director of network infrastructure at RCCC.

Whether it's complaints from users about poor performance in the wake of BYOD or growing awareness on IT's part that technology is outpacing the infrastructure, there are many ­reasons why higher ed IT departments seek to ­refresh their ­networks. More often, it's a combination of those circumstances that moves an upgrade. 

Practical Deployment of Mobile Security Tools

Security, of course, also weighs ­heavily on the mind of mobile-savvy IT teams, and this issue also ­addresses new and evolving ­methods to confront security challenges.

Mobile Access Management Tools Enable More Than Secure Wireless Access highlights the ­growing use of mobile access management tools; Why Mobile Device Management Is No Longer Optional for Colleges details ­Weill ­Cornell ­Medical ­College's use of MDM ­solutions to provide access while keeping critical data ­confidential. As higher ed campuses evolve to meet the new mobile reality, IT teams have more tools than ever in their corner, helping to bring about greater efficiencies and success.

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