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California University Rolls Out Free Mobile Device Security Software to Students, Faculty

A California university is providing free software to its students, faculty, and staff to keep their mobile devices secure.

Stanford University has made Mobile Device Management (MDM) software available, which works on iPhones, iOS-based iPods, iPads (including the new iPad), and Blackberry devices. Approximately 95 percent of devices registered on the Stanford network run on iOS. Compatibility with Android is expected in the future, according to the university.

"Once, I left my iPad in a restaurant in the Charles Hotel in Boston, but didn't realize it until I got up to my room," said Bill Clebsch, associate vice president for Information Technology Services in a post on Stanford's site. "I had a moment of panic."

Clebsch added that luckily he got hit iPad back thanks to a call from the restaurant that found a sticker with contact information on the back of the device. But if he didn't receive that call, Clebsch elaborated, he would have been able to lock the device, erase any data, and reset the password, all remotely.

Features of the MDM software, which was first rolled out first to medical students who are participating in an iPad initiative, include:

  • A configuration profile, basic or higher for users with restricted, prohibited, or confidential classifications, depending on the user;
  • Configuration settings for VPN access, third-party cookie blocking, fraud warning alert activation, encrypted backups, passcode, calendar, contacts, and Stanford network e-mail;
  • Self-service tools, which let the user erase device data remotely if lost or stolen, and reset passcodes; and
  • Privacy control options.

Ninety-one medical and master's of medicine students began using iPads, provided by the university, as part of their curriculum in August.

The MDM Web site provides instructions for using the software, which was customized for a program originally developed by Apple for internal use.

For more information, visit Stanford's IT Services portal.

About the Author

Tim Sohn is a 10-year veteran of the news business, having served in capacities from reporter to editor-in-chief of a variety of publications including Web sites, daily and weekly newspapers, consumer and trade magazines, and wire services. He can be reached at timothyjsohn@gmail.com and followed on Twitter @editortim.

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