There’s no doubt we live in a data-vulnerable world. Threats to personal and institutional information can come from the intentional work of hackers, SPAM, and viruses, all designed to steal critical information and thwart privacy. Some threats, however, can come from unintentional sources such as remote work, computer crashes, and power failures. Even natural disasters like storms can wreak havoc with information designed to be private.
Why is data security important? Each of these breaches to our private data makes us feel more and more insecure but the invasions seem especially serious when they occur at our schools. Protecting children is a priority in this country and we do everything we can to keep them safe from both physical and cybersecurity threats.
The reality of cybersecurity and data-related threats in schools
In spite of the rash of data threats infiltrating schools today, many administrators and IT leaders underestimate the problem. Email scams, phishing schemes, and other data breaches have led to identity theft and even theft of school community funds, yet some school IT directors and superintendents have yet to implement even basic network and data security measures.
According to Keith Krueger, the CEO of CoSN, a K-12 technology leaders professional association, “The challenges are becoming more sophisticated, and everyone is at greater risk.
EdTech Strategies consulting group CEO, Douglas A. Levin, supports this belief. “In general, our data and IT systems are under assault,” Levin said. “It would be negligence on the part of K-12 leaders to believe that somehow schools don’t represent a big new target.”
Why is data security important: ensuring data security in schools
In their report entitled Protecting the Privacy of Student Records, The National Center for Education Statistics states that there are two ways that data collectors can promote data security:
- Data provider must support the data collection
- Data collection design and training
To ensure data security, students and parents need to be aware and support data collection efforts for the benefit of the student. Parents are very concerned about their student’s data and privacy. This is why protecting data is so important for school’s to administer. It’s also important to create the data collection methodology so that it’s easily administered and can be taught to school personnel who will be involved in data collection.
Data security can also be improved with careful monitoring of data administration. Verification of clean data via pre-determined collection procedures can establish a properly implemented security program trusted by parents and school administrators alike. So why is data integrity important? To support the overall goal in securing data and eliminating possible school threats.
How to reduce data security risk
Education has special security requirements, but it is not alone in working toward impenetrable ways to reduce data security & integrity risks. Some best practices in major industries around the globe include:
- Compliance with FDA regulations applicable to electronic records
- Regular quality testing and validation of software systems
- Create data collection audit trails
- Maintain regular backup and recovery processes
- Utilize automated inspection software
- Limit system access with physical and logical system security
- Create a vendor management qualification program
- Conduct thorough user training and implement internal audits
Why is data security & integrity is important: U.S. Department of Education School Data Security Checklist
The U.S. Department of Education has very detailed and strict data security measures designed to protect students, parents, and school communities. Their Data Security Checklist outlines critical components for compliance incorporating solutions and procedures to maintain transparency, quality, and execution.
Some critical components on the checklist include:
- Network mapping for a holistic view of technology and data
- Authentication to provide assurance that users have approved access to the enterprise
- Data Access Control via strong password authentication and limited access to sensitive information
- Firewalls to protect access from unauthorized users
- Email and Confidential Data require extra levels of protection
- Secured Configurations of system components must be supported by comprehensive change management initiatives
- Layered Defense supports firewalls and protects the hosts, application, network and perimeter
More information about terms in the checklist can be found at the Student Privacy Glossary.
ScholarChip services help create a safe environment
ScholarChip takes all the necessary steps to certify that their systems are continuously available and that school data is fully protected. They provide centralized data and application services (cloud infrastructure) and are committed to data security and business continuity. Through continuous monitoring and risk assessment, ScholarChip ensures that security controls always meet or exceed industry standards, and maintain an unrivaled record of security and up-time. No major or minor security breaches have occurred in their many years of continuous application delivery.
ScholarChip offers a wide variety of options to secure data and provide the safety your campus needs, including Identity Management, Campus Safety, Student Accountability, School Automation, Student Behavior Management, Visitor Management, and Higher Ed Services. Each solution has been designed to further the security, safety and privacy of students, teachers, and administrators while delivering peace of mind to parents.
ScholarChip is an all-in-one, cost-effective, platform solution to help reduce school threats and address the important issues surrounding school safety and data security. Data from students, faculty, and stakeholder are leveraged to manage school access, attendance, and behavior management through the platform tools to increase safety and promote the campus climate schools are looking for.
Curious about ScholarChip and what they can offer? Request a live demo today and see for yourself how ScholarChip can help improve data security!