Dec 29 2017

3 Tips to Boost Mobile Security

Working on the go often means higher ed end users access data on their smartphones. Here’s how to do that safely.

While the Pew Research Center has found that 77 percent of U.S. adults own a smartphone, only 28 percent of them are taking basic steps to secure their device.

As more and more students and faculty at higher education institutions look to work on the go — which a student told EdTech generally means working on a smartphone — it’s essential to make sure that the university data they are accessing stays secure.

EdTech sat down with three security experts at EDUCAUSE to discuss how institutions can help users make use of mobile devices without compromising security.

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1. Instill Users with Data Governance Skills

“It’s really not so much about the device that you are using than it is about the institution’s data,” Joanna Grama, EDUCAUSE’s director of cybersecurity, told EdTech.

Grama said universities should educate students and staff on appropriate offsite data use. For example, she said, users should know to think twice before accessing confidential university information on public Wi-Fi.

2. Understand Smartphones Are Personal

While asking users to install security software on their mobile devices might seem like an easy solution, Mike Corn, CISO of the University of California, San Diego, told EdTech that users really don’t like to be told what they can and can’t access on a personal device.

“Phones are things people have a close relationship with,” said Corn.

Instead, he suggested that university IT start by educating users about mobile device risks and then give them access to good tools that can keep them protected.

3. Employ VDI to Keep Data Open

For Shivaji Samanta, director of information and educational technologies at Virginia Western Community College, the security of the device isn’t as important as where the university’s data is stored.

Samanta said that his IT staff uses virtual desktop infrastructure so that data is never stored on personal devices and users can only access data on the school’s secure network.

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