By Ron Temske, Vice President, Security Solutions, and Matt Catalanotto, Tempe Area Sales Director, Logicalis US

In the K12 world, security has become one of the most important topics of conversation among IT professionals, and in fact, much of the responsibility for providing that security has fallen onto the shoulders of already lean internal IT staffs with limited budgets.  E-Rate can help, particularly when the goal is to protect children from seeing obscene or otherwise inappropriate material online.  But that only scratches the surface of what a comprehensive IT security solution must do.

K12 IT professionals should take a regular inventory of their security offerings and thoroughly assess whether or not the children in their school’s or district’s care are truly safe.  If you need motivation, just imagine a scenario where you have to face the parent of every one of those children; can you honestly tell them you have done everything possible to keep their kids physically safe, to protect them from unsavory material on the Internet and to protect them from digital identity theft and records intrusion online?

To help you assess where your school stands, Logicalis has identified five of the biggest challenges facing K12 IT professionals today.  How are you doing in each of these areas?

Physical Security

Ensuring the physical security of students in K12 facilities is already paramount on the minds of most school officials today, but are your school’s physical security systems up to par? Does the school have a reliable video surveillance system that is both clear and easy to use? Are the school’s assets protected both internally and externally? Is the school’s access control updated and easy to use? If the answer to any of these questions is no, that should ring alarm bells for every school official.

Internet Security

Kids are curious, and the Internet is a big place. To allow children to use the Internet for its intended educational purposes, schools must ensure children are unable to access content that is obscene, pornographic or otherwise harmful to minors.  Failing to do so could be both an embarrassment to the district and, per the Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA), a move that costs the school its E-Rate funding.

Digital Identity Security

It’s also important to keep children’s identities completely safe and anonymous.  As teachers post and receive assignments online, and as more work is done in the cyber world, it is critical not to allow accidental access to personal or sensitive information that might fall into the hands of a predator or cybercriminal looking for opportunities.

Security of Retained Data

Every state has rules and regulations about the length of time school records must be retained which highlights the importance of being able to confidently archive electronic records both in the short-term – i.e., this semester’s grades – and the long term – i.e., a student’s “permanent record.” 

Faculty Education

With the rapid pace of change in security, it’s a full-time job trying to stay current. Therefore, it’s up to IT professionals to help teachers and other staff members understand important concepts in cybersecurity like phishing that can expose sensitive information and leave an individual school or even an entire district vulnerable to attack.  It’s no longer a question of if a school or district will experience a cyberattack, but when that will happen.  Security-aware IT professionals must therefore prepare for the entire attack continuum – before, during and after the attack – and that starts with training non-technical staff to help recognize and prevent an attack before it occurs.

If you need help determining the efficacy of your solutions, Logicalis can help.  We’re the No. 1 E-Rate provider in the state of Arizona, and we have a long history of helping K12 schools and districts with solutions specifically tailored to the education market.

Want to learn more? Logicalis US K12 IT experts will be on hand at AASBO in Tucson, Arizona, July 20-22 in booths #31 and #54. Find out what Logicalis can do to help you implement the right physical security solution, then see why your facility is not safe from hackers and explore the 10 tough cyber-security questions every CIO must be able to answer: http://ow.ly/UL1u301Diqa.