Oct 04 2021

Aruba ClearPass Helps Colleges Navigate the IoT Threat Landscape

To secure the growing number of connected devices students bring to campus, IT departments need visibility and automation.

Students today were practically born with technology in their hands. Many became familiar with tablets, smartphones and IoT devices before they could even walk. As members of this generation – born between 1998 and 2010 — make their way to college, the devices that have become indispensable parts of everyday life are coming with them.

According to a study by Pearson, 78 percent of current students were using smartphones, laptops, and tablets to learn as early on as 2015. And 45 percent of students were using three or more devices. Other researchers estimate that by 2025, the average person will use more than 9 connected devices.

For higher education IT departments, it will become increasingly difficult to secure the expanding number of endpoints on and off campus.

In addition to protecting endpoints, CIOs and CISOs must work together to ensure privacy and compliance. This is especially difficult when BYOD and guest users have access — either directly or indirectly — to student records that contain sensitive information.

To effectively manage the evolving security and privacy risks in higher education, it is worth considering comprehensive solutions such as ClearPass from Aruba, a Hewlett Packard Enterprise Company.

EXPLORE: Learn how Aruba eliminates blind spots in higher education networks.

Visibility, Automation and Predetermined Access Control

One of the most protective barriers ClearPass addresses is access control. IT departments don’t have the staff to configure every device students bring in, especially on campuses that are as large as cities. ClearPass enables IT staff to create automated, predetermined access criteria that are based on role, device and location.

That criteria can determine how many devices a single person can use, which ones are permitted to access specific learning apps and where the user can be located. This way, users will only have access to what they’ve been approved to access. These measures can also help avoid scenarios where students accidentally connect to devices in nearby classrooms or to the unsecured devices of classmates. If they’re never given the ability to access a classroom that isn’t theirs, they’ll never connect to it.

First and foremost, however, IT leaders need to know what is on the network. It helps to have an AI-powered device identification tool such as ClearPass Device Insight, a cloud application that gives network and security administrators a single pane of glass for device visibility. It uses automation to continuously find, monitor and classify every kind of device — from smart technologies to gaming consoles, routers, servers and switches.

Secure, Automated Visitor Access Protects Campus Networks

ClearPass Guest offers the same features for short-term guests who are visiting campuses. For example, how much time and bandwidth a guest can use is determined in advance. This type of automated and secure access significantly eases the workload for IT staff. This way, a visiting guest lecturer or contractor can access a school’s network without IT having to manually connect, disconnect or manage permissions.

Everything can be managed from ClearPass Onboard, a policy manager application that makes it easy to configure wireless, wired and VPN settings. It allows IT departments to apply unique, per-device certificates and profiles, which makes it possible for users to securely connect their devices with minimal IT interaction.

IoT Devices Require Enterprise-Class Endpoint Protection  

In 2021, cybersecurity defenders have caught a record number of zero-day exploits. In this threat landscape, it is especially critical for all devices to have the latest patches and firmware updates.

ClearPass OnGuard addresses this issue by checking whether devices have the most recent anti-virus and anti-spyware patches and hotfixes before they connect to the network. Whenever OnGuard finds devices that aren’t up to standard, it will inform those users and give them immediate steps to take.

In the end, ClearPass offers a one-stop shop for security as students — and their devices —settle back into college life.

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