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  • Writer's pictureMarjorie Bugayon

Data Security and Privacy in Schools Should Be a Top Priority

In an educational landscape where activities often revolve around administrative tasks and the students' life cycle – data privacy is often put on the back burner for many schools, even to date. Some educators and institutions even think that schools are probably the least likely to be cyberattacked, with the misconception that school and student records are of no value to hackers and cybercriminals.

Unfortunately, in today's digital age, data is money – regardless of whom it is.

Data security and privacy in schools are no longer optional. And to act today means taking one hundred steps ahead of all cybercrimes that your data is vulnerable to, especially for campuses that have shifted some of their activities online.

So, here are initial – but incredibly essential – steps to take in securing valuable and sensitive data from cyberattacks and other data breaches.

Develop a data privacy plan.

For schools that store a lot of data, the first thing to figure out is sorting and categorizing all the information in one well-organized storage unit. Developing a school's data privacy plan entails a careful review of all available data and resources while ensuring their proper use, collection, handling, and governance. This provides convenience and easy management for all users, giving school administrators flexibility and faster results while students enjoy secure storage for their records and information. In addition, school administrators need to take note of the system's privileges' assignment and ensure that all users know and, most importantly, understand responsible data management and system rules.

Practice Data Encryption.

Encrypting your data is important in establishing an online data management system, as it may contain sensitive information such as the school's financial records or student information. Encryption ensures that your data is safe by changing the original text to unreadable characters and requires special keys to decode the information. This act is vital in keeping your school data safe from cybercriminals or even erring employees, as it adds a more secure layer of protection and raises your level of security higher than just assigning simple passwords on the desktop computer.

Monitor user activity.

Audit trails are extremely helpful in resolving a school's issue regarding responsible system use tracking malicious intent. Keeping your user activity monitored through audit trails gives you more information by keeping electronic logs that are accurate, accessible, and reliable. Using this feature in data security for your school management system allows the school administrator and the IT team to detect red flags in audit trails and user activity that could lead to cyber threats, malware, or data corruption. Audit trails likewise help in tracking down suspicious sources of information leaks.

Prepare a data breach plan.

Schools nowadays need school management systems that prioritize data management and security, as more cases of data breaches have been recorded in the past years. For example, thousands were affected during the Pearson Data Breach, which compromised student accounts of around 13,000 institutions. To keep your school safe from such, ask your provider to enhance your login requirements, require encryption, and train your faculty and staff on how to use systems responsibly. Have your provider walk you through a response plan and ensure your sensitive data are backed up on another secure server. Lastly, keep your internal policies and security plans up to date.

Schools and universities should always know best to regularly update their data protection software and systems as new threats evolve. Moreover, security concerns about data theft continue to rise not only in the academe but also in the industrial spectrum. This is all the more reason for educators to take advantage of today's school-based technologies that protect data and improve operations and management. Protect your data while you still can – or at least minimize the risk that comes with having a digital presence. As the old saying goes, prevention is – and will always be – better than cure.

The robust protection of your school's data is our end in mind. And we're constantly doubling down our efforts to create the best-in-class school management for schools to depend on. Book a demo today and we'll navigate you through our School Management System for K-12 schools, Colleges, Universities, Post-Graduate, Vocational Courses, and other educational levels.


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