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8/1/2013
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10 BYOD Lessons For Business From Higher Ed

When it comes to BYOD, higher ed has been there, done that for years.

6. Separate Personal And Business Data.

Containerization and virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) are being proposed to ensure the protection of company data in a BYOD model, and higher-ed institutions have shown that this can work. "Successfully separating personal information from organization-owned [intellectual property] enables universities to manage their information without affecting the employee or student's information," said ShoreTel's Roshan. "With similar boundaries in place, companies can remove business applications and data if the employee leaves the organization, without affecting the person's photos and applications. Some applications and approaches keep the data off the mobile device entirely. Or you can use a container approach, such as through mobile device management (MDM) software that keeps corporate information separate -- and where it can be appropriately secured."

7. Don't Skimp On Support

Although students and faculty might be bringing their own devices on campus, that doesn't mean they are on their own when it comes to support and security. That's the cost of keeping campus networks safe, said Deepak Jeevankumar, principal, General Catalyst Partners. "[Colleges and universities] provide a huge suite of software to make these devices more helpful -- antivirus, backup, etc.," he said.

8. Don't Skimp On Connectivity.

Another cost of BYOD is providing connections to the Internet. But as higher-ed institutions have learned, the better the connections the fewer the calls to IT for support and the higher the level of productivity, said Jeevankumar: "[Higher ed has] learned to deploy top-of-the-class Wi-Fi bandwidth, even in dense environments like big lecture halls, and they manage access controls very carefully in Wi-Fi environments." Jeevankumar added that many Fortune 500 corporations are afraid of Wi-Fi and do not provide wireless users with the same levels of access as wired-line users. Businesses will have to get over this fear factor if they want to effectively reap the benefits of BYOD, like the ones below.

9. Familiarity Breeds Productivity.

One of the key benefits of BYOD is that the owner of the device has tuned it to his or her liking and is intimately familiar with its features. This has proven fruitful in the education space, where instructors are freed to teach content instead of computers 101. "Familiarity with a device goes a long way," said Roshan. "In higher education, students are expected to utilize their own devices in the classroom, which helps reduce the technological learning curve and allows instructors to jump right into lessons without needing to extensively train the students on how to use the device. If businesses adopt BYOD, the same thinking would apply. Since employees would automatically be familiar with their personal devices, a company would have to invest less time in training, and the employees would automatically be more productive."

10. BYOD Provides Balance.

While there are some who worry that devices used for both work and play will unfairly infringe on users' personal lives, higher ed has shown that the BYOD model provides a level of flexibility that can benefit users. "With the uptake in virtual classrooms and online courses, universities are instituting BYOD programs to increase student engagement and performance," said Roshan. "Professors can reach students anytime, anywhere, and students can have access to information [while] off campus. A similar experience can be created in other organizations. Employees enjoy -- and often require -- the flexibility to work from anywhere, on any device. A solid BYOD program, similar to that of higher-education institutions, will help increase the work/life balance for employees while providing appealing productivity gains and cost savings for companies."

Follow Deb Donston-Miller on Twitter at @debdonston.

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Deb Donston-Miller
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Deb Donston-Miller,
User Rank: Apprentice
8/1/2013 | 6:55:38 PM
re: 10 BYOD Lessons For Business From Higher Ed
While it's true that business can learn a lot from higher ed about BYOD, I know that there are BYOD challenges businesses face that higher ed institutions don't. What specific challenges is your organization facing when it comes to BYOD?

Deb Donston
Contributing Editor, InformationWeek
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