Building on the Foundation
While the BYOD foundation is a good start, to become truly successful at BYOA management, school IT professionals will need to expand their operations to be even more app-centric. In this regard, there are a couple of additional strategies teams will want to consider implementing.
The creation of an in-house app store, replete with school IT-approved applications, is an ideal way to make sure teachers and students are using school-sanctioned apps that improve education. Custom app stores serve three purposes.
First, they provide teachers and students with easy access to all apps permitted on the network. Second, homegrown app stores provide school administrators with a single place to keep, monitor, and maintain apps. Finally, curated app stores offer school IT professionals peace of mind, knowing their colleagues are only downloading applications that have been deemed safe. It’s a win-win scenario that can truly help protect networks from any app-related threats.
Speaking of safety, it’s also a good idea to develop a “black list” of applications deemed unsafe or that serve no educational purpose. These apps should be flagged so that when someone attempts to download one over the network, administrators are alerted immediately. While they’re at it, administrators may also want to consider implementing and maintaining a “white list” of approved applications deemed safe for use.
However, it’s important to note that administrators do not have to provide access for every app out there. Setting boundaries and establishing parameters will be critical in managing the still-to-crest BYOA tide.
Bringing (and Winning) the A-Game
The fact that there are so many applications out there could make the days of trying to manage a few mobile operating systems and devices seem like preschool. Clearly, school IT administrators had better bring their A-game to BYOA management.
Fortunately, many school administrators have already navigated the hardest part. They’re well prepared, thanks to the work done when they first confronted the initial BYOD threat. Now it’s just a matter of applying the lessons learned–and tools–from those days and building upon them. That’s the key to getting an “A” on this latest BYO test.