At Utah Valley University, BYOD is simple, secure, and fast

Utah Valley University (UVU) is the second largest institution of higher learning in Utah with about 33,000 students and 5,000 faculty members and staff.

utahAs a key provider of educational opportunity for our region and state, UVU strives to accommodate rapid growth while providing quality programs and services. We prepare our students to succeed in today’s world, and one of the ways we do that is by embracing the use of personal mobile devices to revolutionize the learning process.

UVU leadership recognized early on that Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) is not just a “nice to have” feature, it’s become an integral part of the university experience.

Students and faculty members expect to be able to use their personal devices on campus, not just for convenience, but to take advantage of new learning opportunities made possible with mobile technology.

As part of UVU’s IT team, I help to make sure that the process is easy, reliable, and secure.

On our scale, however, this has been no simple task. Every day, thousands of students come to campus with varied devices, expecting access to resources they need on the UVU network – “Wolverine Wifi.”

And it’s not just a one-to-one ratio — students often have three or four devices (smart phone, tablet device, laptop, etc.) that they want to connect to our wireless network. We also get a lot of visitors, from contractors to high school students, who need access to at least some resources while on campus.

In order to keep IT staff from being overwhelmed, as well as provide the kind of quality experience the UVU community expects and deserves, all of this activity had to be automated.

We knew where we needed to go, but we had to find a solution that would take us there. For a long time we relied on outdated Network Access Control (NAC) software.

But in recent years we’ve had such a dramatic increase in the number of students trying to access the network via personal devices that the results were getting painful. Logins were slow, intrusive, and prone to failure — definitely not the experience you want at a major university.