IT | Security

Education During a Pandemic – Resilient Learning, Vigilant Security

By: Absolute Customer Success Team | 11/11/2020 | 3 min read

Change has been the one constant theme for 2020, with all of us having to relearn how to live in a distanced world.

Education has not escaped these changes, with the majority of schools in North America adopting an adjusted, blended or fully remote learning strategy. Our students, however, have shown to be resilient to these changes and have embraced the 2021 school year.

This versatility and introduction of thousands of new remote endpoints for students and staff has allowed a level of normality to return however this increase in technology dependence has also brought increased risk and exposure. This risk must be closely managed.

Asset Management meets Security Management

With our endpoints more widely dispersed than ever, many without a foreseeable return date to the classroom, tracking of the devices has become an increasingly high priority. Tracking the devices allows us to protect the investment into the resources which support this learning strategy.

However, knowing the location of a device is not enough to secure it. The minimum requirements for a remote learning device now include the ability to protect it against malware attacks, maintain up-to-date software to maximize productivity hours, and an ability to determine how it is being used.

The good news is the same tool you have relied on to perform Track and Trace capabilities can also help you proactively support your devices in all these areas.

Securing your devices

Missing or outdated security software exposes your endpoints to vulnerabilities. Ensuring all your devices have the latest versions and patches limits the opportunity for an attacker and can help prevent malware attacks.

Utilizing our Reach script library, you can find and address vulnerabilities, including deploying updates and installing applications to remote devices without having to connect them to your network. Not only does this increase the security but it also reduces the time your staff and students are spending troubleshooting outdated or unavailable software.

Regular reporting on the health of your anti-malware software and other security software can also help you proactively mitigate the risk of attack. Keeping remote devices secure from these attacks not only protects the end user but also avoids compromising the corporate network once reconnected. Absolute can help in a couple of ways:

  1. Scheduling these reports ensures this data is being reviewed regularly and the devices’ security remains visible across your organization.
  2. Application Persistence extends our self-healing technology to your critical applications, ensuring they remain healthy, compliant, and working effectively.

How your devices are being used

It is not always the external factors that present a risk. What is accessed from the devices and what is stored on that device can also be harmful.  Your devices are now becoming a part of our students’ home and family life and it is understandable that many now have multiple users and needs within a household.

Utilizing regular Endpoint Data Discovery scans, you can ensure your devices remain free from any ‘At Risk’ data and take further steps to mitigate by using Data delete if any is found. Therefore, you remain in full control over what is on your devices.  

You can also leverage Web Usage reports to know what websites students are spending time on, monitor the adoption of educational technology tools, and identify potentially harmful or unsafe web usage. We know that for as long as there have been web filters, there have been students trying to find ways around them. Being able to monitor what is being accessed allows you modify your restrictions as required, whilst also measuring productivity and ROI for your subscription-based applications.

With the constant changes, communication is also a key component to remaining in compliance and staying connected with your end users. Our End User Messaging offers you a simple yet effective way to educate and update your end users. Messaging can be used proactively to keep users informed, sending out Data and Web Policies or communicating the next patching deadline. It can also be used regularly to help minimize follow up actions and issues that come up, for example after a software update is released - something your helpdesk with surely be thankful for.

Having reliable, working, and safe devices is something Absolute can help you provide your students. By serving as the single source of truth tool for asset and security management, Absolute for K-12 Education will help you confront uncertainty during unprecedented times like these.

To learn more about how Absolute supports safer, smarter, and more secure learning environments, visit here.