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Los Angeles Unified School District – Hack the iPads!

October 23, 2013 at 2:10 pm PST

It didn’t take long, but soon after the Los Angeles Unified School District began their rollout of some 650,000 iPads to their students, they ran into some technical issues. Students in at least one of LAUSD’s high schools quickly discovered a way to bypass the security on the devices. Still in Phase 1 of the program, only 15,000 of the devices have been given to students, but already the District has suspended home use of the iPads due to the security issues. According to reports, LAUSD had been using software that “lets school district officials know where the iPads are, and what the students are doing with them at all times. This software also lets the district block certain sites, such as social media favorites like Facebook.” There are now questions circulating around whether the LAUSD staff was well prepared for these devices and their implementation, and what is going to be done moving forward to continue the rollout and secure the iPads.

student using mobile device

In my previous article I wrote about how educational staff need to be prepared to properly utilize iPads in their classroom. IT staff responsible for managing these iPads should also receive the proper training and preparation. What’s interesting to note here is that, at least in my experience, Apple’s stance on iPads in education is generally fairly hands-off. They recommend managing or locking down the iPads as little as possible. The idea here is that these are best served as single user devices and the best experience for the student is full ownership and manageability of the iPad out of the box. iPads aren’t meant to be used like a rolling cart of laptops going from room to room. They don’t support user profiles and managing or locking down the iPads introduces more complexity than is needed.

You want to protect the investment in these devices from theft, and prevent students from accessing inappropriate content, but if you are planning on allowing the students to take these devices home, you can only go so far. As evidenced from the LAUSD issue, students quickly discovered the iPads were so locked down they couldn’t use them at home, so they found a way to delete the configuration profiles which essentially removed any of the locks or restrictions on the iPad. Some students even went so far as to offer ‘unlocking’ service for $2. Quite the entrepreneurial spirit!

Now, it’s a daunting task for any IT department of any size to introduce over half a million new devices under your umbrella of responsibility. Add to this, that depending on the MDM solution chosen, each of these iPads have to be unboxed and configured before being handed to a student. Now, when something goes wrong they have to be collected, and reconfigured. It stands to reason that Phase 1 will remain a trial phase until some of these issues are worked out. Read More »

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Cisco IT at CiscoLive! Cancun 2013

With the theme Tomorrow Starts Here – El Mañana comienza Hoy, CiscoLive! Latin America will be returning to México on the 5th November 2013, at the Moon Palace Golf & Spa resort in Cancun! Once again, attendees will have the opportunity to learn about all the latest technologies that Cisco has to offer, technologies that will be key contributors to the Internet of Everything.

Read More »

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Honesty is the Best BYOD Policy

Does BYOD really mean that my device will become the company’s device? Do I control my private data or does my employer? How can I make sure I maintain a work-life balance when my personal device is also my work device? Will my company support any device I choose?

Some of these questions might seem familiar as more business employees consider adding their own device to their company’s network. These questions also represent an important part of a comprehensive mobile strategy: User buy-in.

Brett Belding BYOD - without headerRecently, I read an interesting CIO article by Adam Bender that highlighted the importance of getting employees on board when implementing a BYOD policy. The article discusses that according to Frost & Sullivan analyst, Audrey William, many employees are worried that they won’t be able to control data on their device once they begin using it for work. In addition, William states that employees are also concerned about the lines blurring between work and play when both personas are merged onto one single device.

Although the concept of BYOD is not new, these concerns have important consequences in our networked world. So, what’s the answer?

An honest, safe, and secure MDM solution and effective policy communication. Read More »

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#EngineersUnplugged S4|Ep1: Team Building and Onboarding in IT

October 23, 2013 at 10:35 am PST

Welcome back to Season 4 of Engineers Unplugged! The whiteboards are shiny and new, and the markers are fresh. We have some incredible episodes lined up for this season, featuring multiple languages, countries, and guests new and returning.

To kick off the season, we’re changing the pace a little bit, stepping away from the whiteboards, with a special episode that highlights one of the EU mission statements: actionable information from and for the community.

Community Building! Amy Lewis interviewing Fred Nix at VMworld Barcelona. (photo credit: Nick Howell)

Community Building! Amy Lewis interviewing Fred Nix at VMworld Barcelona. (photo credit: Nick Howell)

Today’s guest is Fred Nix (@nixfred), who works with a team at EMC to onboard SEs. He takes us behind the scenes of how they do it with methods you can apply to a company of 40 or 40,000. It’s a great story, let’s roll the clip:

Thanks to Nick Howell (@that1guynick, http://datacenterdude.com) for the photo. Keep us posted with who you’d like to see on the show, and the topics you’d like to hear discussed. The hotline is open!

Welcome to Engineers Unplugged, where technologists talk to each other the way they know best, with a whiteboard. The rules are simple:

  1. Episodes will publish weekly (or as close to it as we can manage)

  2. Subscribe to the podcast here: engineersunplugged.com

  3. Follow the #engineersunplugged conversation on Twitter

  4. Submit ideas for episodes or volunteer to appear by Tweeting to @CommsNinja

  5. Practice drawing unicorns

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Video-Equipped Mobile Clinics Bring City Doctors to Clinics

October 23, 2013 at 10:01 am PST

Today, the Wall Street Journal featured a video on Cisco’s Connecting Sichuan program, which revitalized healthcare with technology in Sichuan Province after a massive earthquake in 2008.

The program included mobile clinics equipped with Cisco videoconferencing technology and uplinks. Today these clinics connect rural villages to more than 30 networked hospitals around the region, giving rural doctors real-time face time with more experienced doctors hundreds of miles away.

Watch the entire Wall Street Journal video about Connecting Sichuan.

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