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CoSN examines BYOD safety and security

New report outlines challenges, proposes solutions to address use of personal devices in K-12 schools

BYOD initiatives are popular, but they present unique security challenges.

A new report from the Consortium for School Networking (CoSN), titled “Safe & Secure? Managing the Risks of Personal Devices,” examines today’s advancing Bring Your Own (BYO) initiatives and related safety and security risks facing school districts nationwide.

“Apps and mobile devices are being utilized more and more in education, forcing schools to reexamine their mobile device policies,” said CoSN CEO Keith Krueger. “These continuous advancements are creating an unprecedented set of safety and security challenges for school leaders, so it’s imperative that leaders are prepared and have at their fingertips a set of technical solutions to prevent data breaches and protect personal devices.”

The report outlines leading BYO initiatives—namely, Bring Your Own Device (BYOD), Bring Your Own Network (BYON), and Bring Your Own Cloud (BYOC) / Bring Your Own Applications (BYOA)—and explains the factors driving these initiatives, including ensuring that students receive a 21st-century education and lowering district costs.

But BYO initiatives have created safety and security risks in schools, the report says, including…

  • Student safety: Students who own such devices are becoming the targets of theft or physical harm.
  • Device theft or damage: Districts could be liable if a student-owned device is stolen or damaged.
  • Inappropriate student (and staff) use: Cyber bullying, sexting, cheating, or accessing inappropriate content or websites.
  • Data and network breaches: Hacking or unauthorized access to data or computing resources.
  • Legal and regulatory compliance: Requirements of the Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA) in relation to student-owned devices.

In addition, the report provides real-life examples of solutions to address these challenges effectively and includes information about the most preferred technologies for mitigating mobile security risks. This section of the report also provides a table detailing the solutions that provide the recommended protections and notes their advantages. Solutions include wireless authentication, federated identity management, and virtual desktops.

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