Wednesday, February 11, 2015

BYOD and Web Based Apps, Hosted Apps

BYOD, Bring Your Own Device, is very popular in many schools. Schools save money by having students and staff use their own technology on the schools network. Many schools doing this also have school owned devices for students who don't have their own.

BYOD does present some challenges including security and access to resources and software from personal devices. Solutions include network access control, robust antivirus, and web based and hosted applications.

Security is something that the school/district's IT department will have to address. Network access control systems can lock down your network, as well as scan user devices for harmful viruses and malware and protect your network.

The other issue is access to software. Many things are web based now, allowing users to access them from any device, anywhere at anytime. However, there are many non-web based software applications being used by schools and providing them to all students on personal devices creates issues of installs, licensing and more. This is also an issue if a district wants to allow users, students  and parents to access systems from outside the district.

A solution is to run a virtual desktop system that allows users to access software and systems from anywhere, on any device, just using their web browser. There are a variety of solutions out there, including VM Ware, Citrix and Ericom. These are also useful for allowing Chromebooks to use Windows or Mac applications. They are not free, but are very useful. My district uses Ericom AccessNow to provide access to Windows applications on Chromebooks. This includes running a virtual session of Internet Explorer for a few legacy systems that only run on IE. Simply login to the portal from any browser, and click on the application you want,

Here is an infographic from Ericom with some more information:



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