Much to the delight of students, faculty and administrators everywhere, holiday break is almost here! But they aren’t the only ones eagerly anticipating end of semester school closings: criminals are also waiting for campus shut downs so they can help themselves to the valuable technology now commonplace in most schools, from K-12 to colleges and universities.

Before taking off for the winter break, follow these easy steps to ensure your school’s devices are safe:

  1. Store mobile devices in locked cabinets and/or alarmed areas. It sounds obvious but you’d be surprised how many laptops, tablets, virtual reality headsets, digital cameras and other small-sized tech gadgets can be left lying around. This type of tech is in high demand and easy to swipe so make it harder for the thieves and keep everything under lock and key.
  2. Don’t leave technology in plain sight. While a determined thief will break in regardless, you can prevent your school becoming victimized by someone who otherwise may not have considered pilfering your school’s tech. Remove from view or cover any larger equipment like desktop computers, printers, interactive whiteboards, etc.
  3. Remind users of safe behavior. Students, faculty and staff that take mobile devices with them should be reminded (more than once) not to leave their individual or school-owned laptops or tablets in cars or other places where they can be easily spotted by crooks looking for an easy score. If someone does fall victim to theft or loses a device during the break, be sure to make available clear direction for course of action you expect. Who do they notify and how?
  4. Track your devices. If a device does go rogue, it becomes known as a Dark Endpoint and these represent one of a school’s most vulnerable attack vectors. Uncompromised visibility into a device, whether it’s on or off the network, is key. Being able to quickly locate a lost or stolen device means you can remotely shut down unwanted network access and, if all goes well, even retrieve it.
  5. Update device software. Cyber criminals are equally as troublesome this time of year, with holiday phishing emails putting school networks at grave risk for cyberattack. Use the holiday downtime to update device software and patch known vulnerabilities. If this sounds like an overwhelming task, consider relying on automation.

The Absolute Safe Schools program was designed to help promote safe digital citizenship, helping educate students, staff and the community about device safety, best practices and responsible behavior. Education institutions rely on the Absolute platform in part because it leverages Persistence technology, already embedded in the firmware of over a billion popular endpoint devices, to deliver always-connected visibility and control with an efficient tether to every device, on and off the network.