It’s back-to-school season which means plenty of preparation is underway – by families and schools. While students scramble to fill backpacks, get haircuts and buy new shoes, schools are also in a last minute push to ready their classrooms and the learning tools they rely on. An increasingly common alternative to the traditional computer lab on school campuses is the distribution of laptops and tablets pre-loaded with student-focused software. While there’s no question classroom technology adoption creates powerful learning environments, it can also represent significant risk to all involved without important security precautions.
According to Verizon’s 2016 Data Breach Investigations Report, education ranks sixth in the U.S. for the total number of reported security incidents. Put more simply, education has become a popular target for cybercriminals looking to steal information. This is partly due to limited IT resources, a corresponding lack of IT support and strict budget guidelines. And while cybercriminals pose a big problem for educators, student misuse does too, with challenges ranging from device theft or loss to unauthorized application changes.
For schools to adequately assess risk and prevent exposure, administrators must be able to maintain continuous visibility and control over all school-owned endpoints. With that, four things can happen:
- Always-connected IT asset management: Dark endpoints, or those that have gone rogue or become invisible due to faulty security agents, are the most vulnerable attack vector so uncompromised visibility into a device, whether on or off the network, is key. Being able to quickly locate a lost or stolen device can also help avoid the drawback of having to request a replacement budget, a consequence that indirectly hinders software upgrades.
- Data security: With schools simultaneously deploying an increasing number of devices with varying usage, operating systems (Apple’s iOS, Google’s Android, Chrome, etc.), and allocated data storages, managing devices is increasingly difficult but protecting sensitive school and student data shouldn’t be an afterthought. With continuous endpoint visibility and control, known vulnerabilities can be remediated in near real-time.
- Proof of compliance: Whether K-12 schools receive monetary resources via state funding or from private funders like students’ parents, as is the case of many private schools, they need to institute compliance measures to show accountability for the amount of money provided towards technology advancements within the district.
- Technology ROI: To help justify school funding, the ability for K-12 schools to look at how their devices are being used by students and staff is crucial. Data collected across a district builds a quantitative story and metrics demonstrate user performance and learning outcomes. Year over year data is especially helpful, as is comparisons between classrooms and neighboring districts.
These and other capabilities are a part of the new Absolute 7 platform announced last week. To learn more, including the ability to script once and deploy everywhere with custom code or Absolute’s growing library of verified prebuilt scripts, please visit www.absolute.com/reach