Monday, February 6, 2012

"Bring you own device" hit campus years ago

Over the past few months we have been hearing a new buzz phrase on the IT scene. Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) is the newest phrase. This means employers, schools, universities, and restaurants should all have networks which are open, secure, robust and ready for anyone to jump on and use the network with their own PC, tablet, Smart phone or whatever. At first, as a consumer, I thought this would be a new and great thing. As a CIO on a college campus it hit me that we have done this for years. We struggle with the secure and robust parts, but we do pretty well. At my campus we have 8,600 students (3,400) living on campus. We also have about 1,000 and an unknown number of visitors for conferences, lectures, camps and hundreds of other things.

Over 99% of our students own laptops and about 75% own Smart phones. Tablets are still not often seen, but I am betting that about 20% of the students have these as well. We will know more after our spring survey. So what does BYOD mean to a campus? Well, at my campus we have been building in security at multiple leves -- from the device to the core of the network. Of course we have firewalls, packetshapers, network access control systems, and steer students to free virus protection and malware software. In order to run a "clean machine" we suggest that everyone run their virus protection and malware software at least once a week. Our HelpDesk provides lots of online documentation to try and educate the campus. Still, BYOD adds problems and expectations. We are in that kind of world now. Always open, ready, easy and secure. Gotta love it if you are in the IT business. Here are some tips for students and others who want to BYOD to get your work done wherever you might find a hotspot.

- read any authentication instructions available or ask someone how to get on. Most "Open Systems" still have you sign in. Even McDonald's has a process. You can ususally get to these by just loggin on and opening your browser. If you are a student and this does not appeaer, call your HelpDesk. Some older operating systems can be tricky and sometimes you have to select your wireless network from a list. On a Windows PC you can usually see the list by clicking Start> Settings > wireless networks.

- Run the newest operating system you can. This would be Windows 7 for most comptuers; Apple OS 10 Lion for Mac users; and iOS 5 for Apple mobile devices. Android has so many options, I would checking the web or your device manufacturer for details.

- Run your virus protection software at least once a week. If you are a Microsoft user you can get Microsoft Essentials for free. I also recommend a full scan with Malwarebytes every week. This is also free.

- Check you hard drive and see how much space you have left. If you are using Windows, a quick way to do ethis is to click Start>Documents>My documents>view your C: drive by selecting from the list of options (see black arrow to the far right of "MY Documents"). Once you are here, right click and select Properties to see your drive capacity. If you have little hard drive space left your machine could run slow. If so, follow the next step.

- Most college students now have Microsoft Live or Google for their campus email system. These come with lots of cloud storage. MS calls it the Sky Drive, not sure what Google calls it. Move all pictures, music and videos to the cloud. Now it's safe and backed-up should your computer die. This will also create lots of free space for work.

These are just a few tips to help you BYOD and to help your computer's performance. Hope this is not too much information. I came across another blog with a different perspective on BYOD, OnLine You might want to check this out for more information. Best of luck BYODing.

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