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In a recent survey of college students and young professionals, 40 percent said they would accept a lower-paying job that had more flexibility with regard to device choice, social media access, and mobility than a higher-paying job with less flexibility.

To meet the needs of their students and faculty, most colleges and universities have employed a BYOD strategy on some level for years. However, the evolving expectations of flexibility and freedom of access present new challenges and opportunities for higher education institutions and their IT departments. The proliferation of mobile devices and the exponential increase in traffic from video and other rich media applications will place ever-increasing demands on a university’s network infrastructure. Universities not only need to support the requirements of today; they need to anticipate and plan for future requirements so they can scale the network in a prudent and cost-effective way.

Click on the video below to watch my VLOG on Taking a Strategic Approach to BYOD.

These challenges demand a robust BYOD strategy that uses a holistic approach. This approach begins with identifying business use cases and mapping them to technology solutions. It creates architectural strategies and transformational roadmaps that help you understand how to get from your current state to where you want to be.

There are three critical elements of implementing any BYOD solution that are top-of-mind with leaders in higher education. These are strategy and governance, network readiness, and security.

Strategy and governance: Before implementing a BYOD architecture, universities need to start by identifying objectives, education requirements and use cases to guide strategy. This should also take into account plans for future implementation of desktop virtualization, mobile collaboration, and other technology solutions that support next-generation learning. The next step is to develop a BYOD strategy and governance model to guide identification of technical and policy requirements for implementing the solution.

Network readiness: Successful BYOD solution deployment depends on an accurate assessment of your current network, security state, overall readiness to support the solution, and compliance with policies and best practices.

Security: The number of end points accessing your wired and wireless networks can triple when you institute a BYOD strategy that enables the use of multiple devices.  In addition to trusted networks, these devices will be roaming hotspots, 3G/4G networks and home networks. Diligent security planning and implementation are critical to managing network access, supporting compliance, and safeguarding vital university data.

BYOD can include multiple architectures, and can be somewhat complex. This makes it important to have a trusted advisor who understands the unique needs of higher-education, and has the skill set to assist your school with a BYOD solution. Cisco, along with our partners, offers a complete portfolio of Unified Workspace Services for Higher Education to help you plan, build and manage a BYOD solution. We can assist you in a variety of different ways to ensure your BYOD investment delivers significant strategic value. If you would like to learn more about how Cisco Services can help support you on your BYOD journey, stop by Cisco’s booth (#1114) at Educause (Nov. 7th & 8th) where I’ll be presenting on this topic, or you may also visit our Education Services page.

Do you have some insight you can provide from your school’s BYOD journey?  If so, please share. I’m always interested to hear how colleges and universities are approaching the challenges of supporting next generation learning.

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