Asset Management

MDM for schools: the complete guide

Discover the benefits of mobile device management in schools: streamlined administration, enhanced security, and empowered learning.

April 23, 2024

As educational institutions increasingly embrace digital technologies, the proliferation of mobile devices within schools has become both a powerful tool for learning and a complex challenge for IT management. Amidst this digital expansion, schools often face intricate deployments across multiple locations, constrained by tight and unpredictable budgets. 

MDM for schools is the strategic approach needed to stay on top of your remote device fleet which is now core to the educational experience. This guide reveals how MDM not only minimizes the complexity of handling multiple devices but also fortifies the learning environment against security threats. In this article, you will discover the process of selecting, implementing, and leveraging the right MDM solution for your k-12 school, turning digital challenges into opportunities for seamless education.

Key Takeaways

  • Robust Mobile Device Management (MDM) solutions are critical for creating secure, focused learning environments in schools by facilitating device management, enforcing security controls, app management, and supporting BYOD policies.
  • Choosing the right MDM software for educational institutions requires careful consideration of compatibility with various operating systems, user-friendly interfaces, strong support services, as well as scalability and flexibility for future growth.
  • MDM solutions streamline the deployment and management of educational content and device settings, enhancing digital learning while maintaining rigorous security protocols and data protection measures.

What is Mobile Device Management for schools?

Mobile Device Management (MDM) for schools is an essential technology that helps educational institutions manage and secure mobile devices used within their environment. MDM systems enable IT administrators to efficiently oversee the deployment, security, and operation of devices such as tablets (in most cases iPads), smartphones, and laptops. 

This management includes installing and updating applications, enforcing security protocols, and monitoring device usage to ensure they are aligned with educational goals. Importantly, MDM helps protect sensitive data, manage device configurations, and supports diverse learning needs by facilitating controlled access to educational resources.

Why is MDM Important for K12 Institutions?

ED Tech Growth - source by Holon IQ

Ed-tech 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 laptops, 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 be able to monitor and implement security protocols regarding tablets, laptops, Chromebooks, and other learning devices. MDM allows IT Teams to ensure that the devices used by students and teachers are dedicated to learning activities. IT Admins can use detailed policies to restrict access to specific sites or apps and disable basic device functions like the camera.

What does an MDM do in K-12 institutions?

The surge in remote learning and the deployment of 1:1 technology programs has increased the need for strong management and security controls over the student and staff fleet. 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 for every type of device and OS. Ensuring there are appropriate security measures to protect against lost, stolen, or otherwise missing devices also raises concerns for  IT professionals.

Endpoints Management in K–12 schools give IT teams a central place to control and monitor devices like laptops, tablets, Chromebooks and smartphones. MDM software lets administrators control how devices are set up, enforce security rules such as remote lockdown or wipe, distribute apps, track how they are used, and make sure that digital learning is safe and effective.

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 allows 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
  • 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.
  • Ensure compliance: Enforcing strong security policies on remote devices can mitigate any potential threat and ensure compliance with school data privacy regulations.

What does an MDM do in educational institutions?

Mobile Device Management in schools offers a holistic approach that benefits all stakeholders involved in the educational ecosystem:

  • Educators: MDM streamlines the distribution and management of educational apps and resources, allowing teachers to easily tailor and push content to students' devices.
  • Students: Provides a secure, managed environment that supports diverse learning experiences, ensuring students can safely access and explore educational materials.
  • IT Administrators: Empowers IT teams with tools to efficiently manage device settings, enforce security policies, and monitor device compliance, reducing the workload and enhancing security.
  • Parents: Assures parents that the devices are used safely and appropriately, with safeguards in place to protect students’ data and privacy.

How can MDM ease the role of IT administrators?

IT professionals face different challenges in schools - mostly in K-12 institutions-  that require the need for increased MDM efforts: 

  • They need to configure devices for educational use, which requires a lot of time and effort.
  • They must ensure that dents are utilizing technology correctly while maintaining inventory from afar for every type of device and OS.
  • They need to guarantee appropriate security measures to protect against lost, stolen, or otherwise missing devices.
  • They also need to track device usage, application performance, and compliance with policies, to ensure an effective management of the institution's technology resources.

Basically, MDM facilitates efficient device configuration, ensures students use technology appropriately, safeguards against the loss or theft of devices, and enables comprehensive tracking of device usage and compliance. 

This suite of tools significantly eases the burden on IT staff, ensuring that technology management is both effective and secure, aligning with the institution's educational and operational goals.

Find out more about prices and discounts of Prey’s tracking and security solution for Chromebook.

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How to Choose the Right MDM Solution 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 sub-par MDM software would be a misuse of resources. A good MDM software for education should have the following features:

  • App Management to streamline the delivery of app updates and license management
  • An efficient way to track and manage devices
  • A way to efficiently manage inventory data and keep an accurate count of the devices in use or available
  • Improve the return rate of checkout devices
  • An effective content-filtering solution
  • A system to deploy remote security actions when necessary–Wipe, Lock, Encrypt capabilities and ensure compliance
  • 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 to the organization
  • Efficient and seamless device enrollment and integration with app development software, help desk ticketing, and other necessary solutions
  • Management of multiple kinds of operating systems across a variety of devices such as Android devices, apple devices  iOS, tvOS, macOS), Windows and Chrome OS on tablets, phones, or laptops

What are the requirements for MDM in schools?

From compatibility and scalability to security and user privacy, here are key factors to consider when selecting an MDM solution for schools:

Compatibility: The MDM should be compatible with various operating systems and devices used in the school, such as iOS, Android, Windows, and Chromebooks.

Scalability: The MDM should be capable of managing a large number of devices simultaneously, as schools often have multiple classrooms and students.

Security: Robust security features are essential to protect student and staff data. MDM should offer encryption, passcode enforcement, remote wipe capabilities, and strong authentication mechanisms.

Device Configuration: The ability to remotely configure device settings, such as Wi-Fi connectivity, app installation, and restrictions, is crucial for efficient management.

App and Content Management: Schools may require an MDM solution that allows administrators to distribute, update, and manage educational apps and content across devices.

Monitoring and Reporting: MDM should provide monitoring and reporting capabilities, enabling administrators to track device usage, enforce policies, and identify any security or compliance issues.

User Privacy: Balancing the need for control and monitoring with respect for user privacy is important. The MDM solution should have privacy safeguards and comply with relevant data protection regulations.

Integration: Integration with existing school systems, such as student information systems (SIS) or learning management systems (LMS), can streamline administrative processes and data synchronization.

User-Friendly Interface: An intuitive and user-friendly interface simplifies the management tasks for administrators, teachers, and IT staff.

Technical Support: Adequate technical support and training should be available to assist with the implementation, troubleshooting, and ongoing maintenance of the MDM solution.

It's important to note that specific requirements may vary based on the school's unique needs, device policies, and budget constraints.

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 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.

Budget-friendly

At Prey, We provide a special pricing bundle for EDU institutions. We believe that you don’t need to break the bank for a management and security tool.

In Closing

Cybersecurity 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 cybercrime. 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, lightweight, but powerful 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.

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