I.T. and Data Security again is the topic at hand. Yesterday another breach was reported in which 74,000 people’s personal information was exposed from laptops that an employee at Coca-Cola was supposed to dispose of.
One of the reasons why I take security so seriously is because I want to protect my family from online dangers, identity theft, and other problems that can stem from a loss of data. I have multiple friends and colleagues who have had the unfortunate experience of having their child’s identity stolen. It was stressful and took a lot of work to clear up the identity theft.
This brings us to education. I spoke to one of our resident gurus in our education support team and asked him about security in education. His first comment, “Our first duty is to protect children.” Yes we provide Managed I.T. Support and a whole range of other I.T. Services, but it all stems from protecting the kids in the schools and school districts that we provide I.T. Services for.
While there are loads of security risks that apply to all businesses, here are some top data security concerns in education that every school needs to address:
- Shielding – Schools need to have proper blocking technology in place to protect kids from inappropriate material for their age. This is not just about stopping kids from seeing something that could emotionally hurt them, it is also about preventing them from going somewhere that could expose them to predators, or expose the entire network to a data breach. This is much more complicated than it sounds. It is not about just a good firewall and content filtering system, there has to be people watching, monitoring, and updating rules in devices – as security conditions change. Parents need to take a better stance in demanding that schools demonstrate their security aptitude. This topic is also part of a a federal law under the Children’s Internet Protection Act, unfortunately many schools do the minimum that is required.
- Lack of Training – 20 years ago it was expected that teachers knew more about technology, than the kids they taught. Now a days a 10 year old can know more than then all the educators and possibly even some of the I.T. staff. This is not an exaggeration. How can a school protect a kid that knows more than they do, and that might not have the best judgment in doing something that could potentially open a door for a data breach and Internet Predators? Schools need better training, so their staff can at least know the possibilities of what could happen, so that proper prevention can take place.
- Attack Vectors – Stay with me, and don’t let your mind wander to intergalactic space movies. Attack vectors just refers to the enormous number of potential places where an attack could generate from. Examples include: BYOD, 1-to-1, school or district websites, firewalls and wireless access points, printers, internal computers, staff owned – laptops, tablets, and mobile devices; plus the printers, the phone system, and even open USB on ports on computers, and much, much more. The sheer number of potential doors for a hacker to get into a network is enormous. Unfortunately many schools go with the lowest cost product or vendor to provide security.
Frankly no school can have the technical expertise, due to budgetary limitations, of an outsourced I.T. Services company like JMARK – which has a team of people dedicated to education. JMARK sees the whole picture of what can happen from the beginning to end and has the expertise on staff to make sure that kids and schools are protected and secure. Give JMARK a call today to discuss data security in your school or district.