As we talk with many of our partners in education adapting to distance learning, we understand that a top challenge is providing enough devices to meet the demands for your students – a demand that’s also impacting manufacturers of top K12 devices. Due to a backlog in orders of Chromebooks and other popular school devices, we’ve seen increasingly more districts looking to other options outside of their usual supported devices and platforms – namely Androids.
Android’s availability as an open source operating system has allowed manufactures to create low–cost devices in a variety of forms, from tablets to laptops. This diversity provides a lot of choices when selecting a device for student use but can lead to challenges when introducing them into a management system required for mass deployment.
As long-standing partners in student safety and device management, we’ve outlined the best practices for managing Android devices with the support of the multi-OS Lightspeed platform.
Just like all your other devices, you’ll want to make sure your Android devices are centrally managed.
Lightspeed Mobile Manager supports the enrollment of most Android devices, allowing for configuration of features, such as WiFi and app deployment. Using a custom app launcher like Lightspeed’s Android App Launcher in place of the stock software provides additional control over the software allowed to run on devices and can be used to prevent unwanted use of the device. Lightspeed’s Android App Launcher can also allow an admin to restrict the device to only running the selected apps on the device.
The variety of custom operating systems and applications available in Androids can be a challenge for many types of mobile filtering agents and techniques. Systems that attempt to VPN tunnel or require modification of DNS settings can be difficult, if not impossible to configure on these devices. With Android, the most effective method for filtering these devices is using a trusted, man–in–the–middle proxy.
A trusted MITM proxy is easily enabled with the Relay Rocket from Lightspeed Systems®. This software deploys on a virtual or physical appliance and is managed in the Lightspeed dashboard, offering the same reporting and policies available for all other devices. With authentication enabled, your users will also benefit from differentiated policies and reporting.
The open nature of Android devices provides end users various methods for downloading apps on devices, many of which may provide insecure or unwanted apps. In such an open ecosystem, you need to be especially watchful over apps that are used to ensure compliance and efficacy.
Lightspeed App Analytics allows IT teams to analyze all device traffic and application usage to provide insight into the use of devices, identify rogue apps, and ensure your students are staying safe and secure. This will help you shore up student data privacy/security and the engagement and efficacy of your technology initiatives.
At Lightspeed Systems®, when we say multi-OS solution, we mean it. As you continue to adjust to the new environment, we’re here to make adding any devices, including Androids, to your technology program easy, safe, and managed.