Security for Mobility and IoT Devices in Higher Education

Share Post

It's almost summer, and college reunions abound. But for anyone who graduated around ten years ago, there would be one striking change — the difference in a student's educational experience with the proliferation of smart devices, streaming services, Apple TVs, educational applications, and Wi-Fi networks.  And from an operational / facilities perspective, Internet of things (IoT) devices have also dramatically altered campus operations and student life – imagine 60% of the students in a dorm using game consoles at the same time. They might be being used for watching a movie or destroying aliens….

All over the world, students are receiving a better learning experience due to technology innovations. But, as with any disruptive change, there can be some drawbacks.  When dealing with unmanaged devices, whether smartphones, tablets, or other IoT devices – like smart light bulbs - on the network, the challenge becomes how to ensure the network is secure. There's also the aspect of separating campus traffic from residence traffic, or guest traffic for security and privacy concerns.

Today's best practice is to differentiate network users and devices by role or identity.  Yes, even devices have identities today. Professors and administrators have different network access requirements than do students. Even students in different lines of study may require distinctive access!

From an IT manager's perspective, certain device types may be best if kept off of the network, either for operating system or administrative concerns. The key to managing access is to start with a better idea of what is connecting. IT needs a way to identify smart phones and laptops, as well as any IoT device that may make it onto the campus. In fact, if the engineering department has students creating new Wi-Fi enabled Droids, it's probably best to only allow access on the engineering network.

Aruba ClearPass helps to solve these problems and more by allowing for the ability to create policies that leverage identities, roles, and device attributes – or context. You can even allow students, administrators, instructors, and staff to provide information about the devices they bring to school, without burdening the IT team. The IT team can then create and enforce policies that ensure devices have access to the appropriate network resources.

Designed with mobility and IoT in mind, ClearPass helps resolve concerns due to our expanding use of personal and operational devices (HVAC and lighting sensors, and more).  Best of all, ClearPass works in multivendor wireless and wired environments which we find in many institutions today.

To learn more about how ClearPass can solve mobility and IoT problems in higher education, read our new solution brief.