IT | Security

Protecting Student-Owned Devices on Campus

By: Absolute Team | 5/23/2013

Tablets sales are skyrocketing year-to-year, with an expected 175% growth in the market by by 2017 taking it from 11% market share (with desktop, laptop, smartphone) to 16%. IDC estimates that tablet shipments will surpass both PCs and laptops by 2014. At the college and university level, this shift in technology will increase the demand for digital textbooks and we can expect to see an even higher presence of tablets and smart devices on campus for a shift in the learning methodology.

While tablets and smart devices offer many opportunities for education, schools at all education levels face additional challenges with the integration of digital textbooks as well as monitoring of school-owned devices and the protection of students and devices, whether school-owned or not.

Tablets, iPads and smartphones are making students a target for theft; though campus crime figures are hard to come by, we know from news reports that device theft of all sort (laptop, tablet, smartphone) continue to dominate campus crimes. For universities and colleges, we suggest creating awareness campaigns on the protecting of smart devices, particularly smaller devices such as smartphones and tablets, which can be stolen and concealed so easily.

Tablet, Laptop & Smartphone Theft Prevention Tips for Students on Campus

As part of your awareness campaign, we suggest making the following suggestions to students through websites, flyers, posters or emails:

  • Use a cable lock when on-campus
  • Keep dorm room doors and windows locked when you are there as well as for times you leave just briefly
  • Do not leave devices in lockers at the gym
  • Don't use headphones when in high risk areas or at night - they block your awareness of your surroundings and make you a target for theft
  • Don't use your tablet or smartphone in high risk areas or at night. Bus stops or seats near exits offer opportunistic thieves an easy getaway.
  • Never leave your device unattended, not for a minute, even in the library
  • Don't let people you don't know be alone with your property
  • Don't leave your laptop in your car, even in the trunk
  • When not in use, store your laptop in an inconspicuous bag that you keep on your person at all times. Bags left under seats or on the back of seats are easily swiped.
  • Lock your laptop to your dorm room desk at all times, or consider a dorm-sized safe for added security
  • Don't assume labs are a safe place to store your laptop or tablet, even temporarily. Always keep your devices with you.
  • Do not take devices to exams as you may be asked to leave your bag in a common area that could be targeted for theft
  • Record device identifiers (serial number, make/model. ESN/PIN, identifiable characteristics) in a safe place
  • Put names on the tablet cases with a hard-to-remove label such as this one as well as “invisible” ink markers that can be seen only under backlight
  • Give yourself some added protection with Absolute

If your device is stolen, never try to retrieve it yourself. Report the theft to the police or campus security.

For higher education organizations wanting to offer additional protection to campus-owned devices or to sponsor a discount for students on student-owned devices, Absolute Software offers solutions for endpoint security including the option to lock and delete data on missing devices and tracking and recovery solutions on others. Contact us to learn more.