With a growing number of schools embracing the bring your own device (BYOD) trend among student populations, security concerns have emerged as a hot-button issue. Given the amount of sensitive information and personal data schools possess, IT systems in educational institutions need to institute effective safeguards to keep hackers and cyber criminals on the outside. Following are some emerging strategies that educational institutions are using to safeguard the personal information of both staff and students.
Create and Implement Strict Policies
When instituting a BYOD policy at an educational institution, it is necessary to set up clear and strict guidelines regarding acceptable usage. Such policies must apply to everyone using their own devices in the school setting, including both staff and students. These policies should specifically define what is and what is not allowed, framed within the context of protecting all users from possible security breaches.
Keep Critical Data Accessible Only to Those Who Need It
Schools are hotbeds of sensitive personal information, including everything from examination results and scholastic performance to details of possible physical and/or mental health issues. Cyber criminals often target this type of personal information, and it must be kept behind added layers of security to prevent it from falling into the wrong hands.
Allowing only authorized individuals access to the networks and systems where this information is stored is a key component of BYOD security at schools. Additional protections, including encryption and/or biometric identifiers, can be considered as ways to stop sensitive information from being accessed by unauthorized individuals.
Protect Devices that Access Social Media
Many users, including both staff and students, will be connecting to social media websites with their own devices. Unfortunately, these sites tend to be a prolific source of viruses and other forms of malware, making it essential for individual devices to be properly protected.
Experts recommend requiring all BYOD users to have and run antivirus software on devices used on the school’s network. Password policies, automatic time-outs, and device locking can all be considered as supplemental strategies to prevent the spread of viruses and other threats.
When properly applied, BYOD policies at schools help foster 24/7 learning while reducing technology budgets and improving resource accessibility. These advantages are best leveraged in tandem with effective security policies that protect IT resources and users alike.