Research Hub > 3 Strategies to Reinforce Device Security in Higher Education

February 22, 2024

3 min

3 Strategies to Reinforce Device Security in Higher Education

Device security continues to be a major concern for IT administrators in colleges and universities. With thousands of devices on the network, you can turn security up a notch with a few strategies to combat modern educational cyberthreats.

Bring-your-own-device (BYOD) environments in higher education has gained significant traction, and with the widespread use of devices such as laptops, tablets and smartphones, IT administrators in colleges and universities have had to develop BYOD policies to balance benefits with security.

While BYOD can enhance productivity and engagement by allowing faculty members and students to use their preferred devices, it can also come with a host of potential vulnerabilities, increasing endpoint security concerns.

How can IT teams navigate their security challenges effectively and protect students and faculty from security risks such as ransomware and unauthorized access? Improved cybersecurity is a key outcome of a well-managed device ecosystem. Here are a few key strategies to bolster device security and gain visibility throughout your network.

  1. Access Control Management
    Effective BYOD policies find the balance between providing access and mitigating risk. You can enhance device security measures by ensuring all who have access to the network have the right layer and level of security. Categorizing users by their current role, for example, can help universities ensure users have authorized access to what they need. With thousands of devices on the network, it’s also critical to offer varying levels of support for devices across the institution, depending on their capabilities and staff. Properly calibrated security postures can support all network devices and help mitigate risk.

  2. Zero-Trust Implementation
    Zero trust is not a product that your institution can buy; it is a philosophy you must adopt. For IT administrators in higher education, embracing a zero-trust framework is an ongoing mission, and it begins with identity management. A crucial aspect of this is implementing strict access controls through an identity and access management (IAM) program. IAM tools and role-based access controls combined with strong application capabilities can improve security outcomes.

    As one of the pillars of zero trust, identity management assumes no device or user is trustworthy, requiring rigorous verification for every device and user accessing the network no matter where they reside. This verification takes place through proper sign-on and multi-factor authentication methods, providing an extra layer of protection against unauthorized access and data breaches. A trusted IT partner can help higher education IT security professionals incorporate zero-trust best practices and principles in their BYOD strategies to build a solid foundation of cyber defense.

  3. Establish Strong Data Security Solutions
    IT teams must establish strategies for how they will secure specific elements in their IT environments, such as users and cloud resources. Incorporate robust data security solutions that enable you to discover, classify and monitor interactions with data. Additionally, higher education institutions with advanced data security strategies can introduce adaptive controls that implement countermeasures when new threats arise. For example, users who suddenly change geographic location might be forced to reauthenticate with MFA.

A Holistic Approach to BYOD Security

Ultimately, minimizing the security risks of BYOD requires a holistic approach involving a combination of education, processes and tools. CDW Education offers assessments to gain insights and recommendations for improvement to increase device visibility and security.

Through our consultative approach, we can help support your specific device management requirements, so you effectively leverage devices and provide the right experience for students, staff and administrators. With the support of industry-leading providers like CDW Education, colleges and universities can navigate the challenges and ensure a safe and productive digital learning environment for all.

To learn more about how CDW Education can help reinforce security for devices within your educational institution, check out our higher education technology solutions and begin a conversation with our experts today.


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Andrew Frenz

Sales Manager
Andrew Frenz is a higher-education sales manager with over 10 years of experience in the information technology and services industry. Andrew works with a variety of higher education institutions with an emphasis on understanding customer initiatives and building long-lasting partnerships.
Michael Durand

Michael Durand

Director of Sales
Michael Durand is a director of sales for higher education at CDW and is an experienced education sales leader with a demonstrated history of working in the information technology and services industry. He has held various leadership roles throughout his 16-year career at CDW since he joined in 2007, serving all education customers.