Concerns Over Data Security in Education

By: Absolute Editorial Team | 9/10/2015

According to a survey soon to be released at the 2015 National Student Privacy Symposium by the Future of Privacy Forum, 87% of parents feel concern that their child’s electronic education records are at risk, due to hacking or theft of data or data devices. Parents are not the only ones with these concerns; 57% of K-12 IT leaders believe data security has become more important in the past decade. Perhaps the most influential trend affecting data security in education has been mobility. While there is no question that mobility is essential in administration, it has been transformative on the educational front, and yet not without additional risks to data security.

Educational institutions, from K-12 to University, have consistently been one of the top theft locations for laptops and other mobile devices. With the increased mobility of data in schools and school districts, endpoint security has become a top priority in managing data security.

Not only is the loss of data a major concern for student privacy, the large scale thefts of devices, which is common in schools, can have a major impact on the functioning of a school. Even when devices are covered by insurance, claims can take months to resolve, leaving students without devices and teachers with a need to revise lesson plans or not meet goals set out under new digital curriculum plans.

Although this new survey only touches on concerns about the privacy of student records, there is other data to consider: the data on devices used by students, whether their own devices or school-provided devices. If these devices are assigned per student, they open up that student to data security risks if that device is lost or stolen. Youth are a top target for mobile theft; Students are currently more likely to experience property crime than fights at school, though the two issues are not mutually exclusive. We take this pretty seriously and spend a lot of time working with schools to create a safer environment for students.

The security of data at schools requires a holistic approach integrating both the physical security of devices, used by educators and school personnel as well as students, as well as policies and technologies that support data security. Absolute Data & Device Security (DDS) for Education is a security program that combines our persistent and adaptive endpoint security solution with support from Absolute on how to protect devices, deter thefts and recover devices if they are stolen. Working with Absolute, your school district can demonstrate to parents that you have taken tangible steps to support a safer and more secure school environment.

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