October is National Cyber Security Awareness Month, a global campaign run annually to raise awareness about the importance of cybersecurity. We’ve asked some of our leading security experts here at Absolute to chime in on some of the most pressing issues in cybersecurity today. In Part 1 of this series, Harold Reaves, Global Director for Safe Schools and Investigations, shares his insight on cybersecurity in our schools. His extensive law experience background was instrumental in creating Absolute’s K12 theft prevention program.
The classroom of today is very different from the classrooms we all grew up in. Technology is now an integral component of education, with many schools exploring one-to-one programs and BYOD programs to move beyond digital instructional content toward a new model of connected teaching and learning. The most recent data demonstrates that technology has the potential to boost student learning and test scores, improve student-led learning and engagement and foster a better relationship with students and teachers.
While the qualitative benefits of technology use in the classroom are beginning to emerge, the next step is the evolution of education around digital citizenship. Today’s children are not only growing up with more technology, they are growing up in a digital environment – roughly one third of a child’s life is now spent online. Any misstep online has the potential to have long-lasting consequences on personal reputation, safety and security.
The internet is our shared global responsibility. Raising kids to be responsible digital citizens is our shared responsibility. Right now, only 23% of teachers feel adequately prepared to teach kids the risks of cyberbullying and just 24% think they know how to teach young people about how to protect their personal information online.
Cybersecurity Advice for All Digital Citizens
- Protect passwords – always use a strong password unique to every website and individual. Passwords should never be shared or written down. Many tools exist today to help you store and manage the dozens (or hundreds) of passwords that are a reality of online life today.
- Protect your information – your digital identity is like money, it should be protected. Be aware of what information is being collected, by whom, and where it’s being stored.
- Social etiquette – practice ’share with care’ principles before posting about yourself and others online. Consider the long-term implications around photos, shared locations, and offensive comments on social media. If you wouldn’t say it out loud, don’t post it online.
- Don’t post anonymously – stay away from websites that allow anonymous postings.
- Set limits for youth – set appropriate limits on appropriate device use. Keep devices in public areas of the house (not bedrooms), set limits for youth and monitor social media websites.
- Student safety – device theft within schools and outside of schools is a growing problem that places many students at risk and holds the potential to create a shortfall of devices for learning, which we saw in two high profile stories just this month (here, here). School districts cannot rely on technology alone to protect students or the technology investment. Many districts are taking proactive educational measures to change user habits, deter theft, and protect students on and off school property.
When we work with Education customers, our focus is on protection, deterrence, performance and recovery. 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. Coupled with this program, our Student Technology Analytics solution provides detailed reporting into technology usage to determine academic performance and to enforce an effective Internet Safety Policy.