Cyber Security

Mobile Device Management for Education – The Complete Guide

Cyber-stalking, cyber-bullying, and cyber-attacks are all terms that only the most elite in the technology sector understood just a few short years ago. Now, most people at least recognize the words if they haven’t fallen victim to one of these crimes of the technological era. 

Cybersecurity has become a more significant concern for business owners in the last few years. Business owners have been dealing with cyber-attacks in some way almost as long as there have been technological advancements. Mobile device management allows business owners to monitor the in-use devices remotely for data leaks. IT professionals can implement security protocols for everyone across the workforce.

Recently, schools have fallen victim to cyber-crimes. As schools increase their use of technology across the curriculum, cybersecurity measures such as mobile device management have also increased. Cyber-crime is only one of the concerns for IT professionals in the education sector

The current influx of remote learning protocols has further increased the need for MDM security efforts in schools.With remote learning protocols, IT professionals face different concerns that require the need for increased MDM efforts. They now must worry about ensuring students are utilizing the technology correctly while maintaining inventory from afar. Ensuring there are appropriate security measures to protect against lost, stolen, or otherwise missing devices also raises concerns for the IT professionals. 

What Is Mobile Device Management for Schools?

Technology use in schools is up more than 50% over the statistics from 2019-2020. Mobile device management (MDM) for schools is becoming a growing necessity with the increased usage of computers, tablets, and other devices.The ability to manage mobile devices allows the IT department to control the apps and programs allowed on a mobile device used by people within an organization.

With the influx of remote learning protocols and other digital learning methods, schools must have the ability to monitor and implement security protocols regarding tablets, laptops, and other learning devices. MDM allows administrators to ensure the devices used by students and teachers are dedicated to learning activities. Admins or IT personnel can use detailed protocols to restrict access to specific sites or apps and disable basic device functions like the camera.

Administrators or teachers can set boundaries for usage locations across the network. They can also monitor the apps or programs in use over the various machines. If lending programs are in place, mobile device management can monitor where the machines are located, when they are due, and who has returned them on time.

Why Do Schools Need Mobile Device Management?

Mobile device management for schools provides educators and students protections that follow General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) legislation. GDPR was adopted for the European Union (EU), but it extends to any organization outside the EU that might have occasion to do business or communicate with someone within the EU. The GDPR impact on mobile devices (which schools predominantly use for educational purposes) encompasses four areas: the separation of personal and business data, data audits, security threats, and device visibility. MDM for schools helps keep the threat of a data breach at a more secure level.

MDM for education should be a priority so teachers and students can continue to experience the benefits provided by learning with technology. Some of these benefits include:

  • Easier collaboration on projects. Students benefit from working together and having tablets or other mobile devices as educational tools allow them to work together in separate locations
  • More efficient use of time. The time required for completing activities is reduced when everyone has access to the same data
  • Flexible and adaptive learning. Teachers can provide more advanced material or additional support materials to students based on individual needs
  • Fostered communication between teacher and students. Virtual classrooms and message boards make it easier for teachers and students to communicate about the subject matter
  • Reduced costs. Using apps or programs for all educational materials saves on the cost of materials for both teachers and students
  • Real-time learning. Students or teachers can access a plethora of information almost immediately with a simple search
  • Exploratory learning. Students can follow tangents of information to learn new things that interest them.

In recent years, as the use of technology has increased in school settings, so too has the prevalence of threats to privacy and data. Data breaches and other security issues are viable threats even against schools. Without MDM for education, these innovative teaching methods could be lost.

To preserve the benefits provided by technological learning tools, schools must take cyber-security issues seriously. Ignoring the threat of cyber-crime only serves to prolong the potential harm to networks and privacy.

How to Choose the Right MDM Software for Education?

Understanding the need for mobile device management for schools is the first step toward more secure education device management. After allotting budgetary funds to purchase technology, purchasing a sub-par MDM software would be a misuse of resources. A good MDM software for education should have the following features:

  • Opt-out features or other privacy features to maintain student privacy
  • An efficient way to locate and manage all devices 
  • A way to efficiently manage inventory data and keep an accurate count on the devices in use or available
  • A system to deploy remote security actions when necessary–Wipe, Lock, Encrypt capabilities
  • A very easy-to-use tool that has an intuitive interface
  • Implementation ease. The MDM solutions should be based on-site or in a public or private Cloud setting to give a sense of personalization for the organization
  • Efficient and seamless integration with app development software, help desk ticketing, and other necessary solutions
  • Management of multiple kinds of operating systems across a variety of devices—Android, iOS, Windows, macOS, Chrome OS, and tvOS on tablets, phones, or laptops

When choosing an MDM, consider the devices that will be secured as well as the personalities of the people who operate those devices. Another consideration is whether the secured machines are loaned to the students or are personal devices that they provide. It’s easier to enforce security protocols for instruments that are the school’s property versus those that are privately owned.

How Can Prey Help with MDM for Schools?

Today, mobile device management for schools allows technological advancements to be seamlessly incorporated into future curricula. Prey has the following features to help keep data safe while managing a large number of devices.

Device loan manager

Keep track of when items are due for return, give students notification that their device needs to be returned, and secure the device when a student keeps it late.

Unified visibility

Make assigned users and devices visible, tag them by status, or group them into classes. Loan devices temporarily to students and follow hardware changes.

Reactive security

Use Control Zones to know when devices move out of allowed areas, see the device’s movements over time, automatically react with alerts, locks, anti-theft alarms, and the ability to thoroughly gather evidence.

Tracking history employs real-time location tracking, so devices are easier to locate if they are misplaced or stolen. Remote screen-lock and data wiping procedures help protect the privacy and sensitive information when a device is lost.

Anti-theft tools collect evidence reports that include but aren’t limited to locations, screenshots, and nearby Wi-Fi data to help retrieve lost or stolen devices.

Data-privacy focused

The ability to configure Prey’s tracking and evidence-gathering features to enhance user privacy.Opt-out tools are available for students to help prioritize their privacy. 

In Closing

Cyber-security is becoming a necessity in most organizations. People are using more devices daily than ever before, and that leaves them vulnerable to cyber-attacks. The prevalence of remote work and school activities makes it even more critical that devices are protected from data breaches.

Mobile device management software protects businesses or schools from cyber-crime. These programs allow IT department personnel, managers, teachers, or other administrators to track multiple devices over the network. Built-in security protocols allow the remote disabling of devices that are misplaced.

Businesses have known the value of cyber-security and MDM programs for a while. In recent years, schools have been under attack and have had to turn to cyber-security programs and firms to protect their networks. MDM software for education provides security while allowing collaboration between network participants.

Prey is a trusted MDM provider worldwide. Their tools allow administrators and IT professionals to monitor the security of various devices remotely. The programs work to integrate multiple systems and devices under a single platform.

About the author

Norman Gutiérrez

Norman Gutiérrez is our Security Researcher at Prey, one of the leading companies in the security and mobility industry, with more than 8 million users worldwide. In addition to this, Norm is Prey's Content and Communication Specialist, and our Infosec ambassador. Norm has worked for several tech media outlets such as FayerWayer and Publimetro, among others. In his free time, Norman enjoys videogames, cool gadgets, music, and fun board games.