How Educational Institutions Can Safeguard Data & Devices

By: Absolute Editorial Team | 2/12/2015

Absolute Software recently attended BETT 2015 this past January, where we talked about how Absolute is helping to safeguard education technology. Alongside that event, I had a chance to share some of my thoughts on the topic with the Microsoft UK Schools blog.

Technology is rapidly changing the classroom environment and the wider education system. Text books are being replaced by digital devices and virtual classrooms, expanding the idea of the ‘classroom’ and enabling teachers to shift the education model and in turn help students develop skills needed for the digital future. The influx of devices, driven by the wider proliferation of tablets, smartphones and laptops in everyday life, has come with many benefits, but so too has this created some scepticism regarding the security of students, these devices and the information they carry.

K-12 schools are currently the #1 place laptops are reported stolen, and schools with known one-to-one programs are being targeted by thieves. Kids themselves are also increasingly the victims of theft as they walk to and from school or even in the school environment. Nearly half of all educational institutions had been victims of mobile ICT theft between 2009-2011, with these numbers likely much higher in recent years given the proliferation of devices.

The theft of a device has many repercussions. A stolen student device, school-owned or BYOD, greatly impacts that student’s learning ability, while possibly also putting them in direct harms way during the theft incident itself. This issue is not temporary, as device replacement through insurance can take up to 8 weeks. If not adequately protected, information contained on these devices, as well as network access, could pose issues that lead to data breaches and fines by the ICO.

In the article, I outline several vital steps that educational establishments can take to safeguard technology and data including:

  • Set a clear data and device policy for both teachers and students
  • Use software to proactively and reactively safeguard data and devices, since loss is sadly still inevitable

Absolute Software currently protects 21 of the 25 largest K-12 School Districts in the United States. We work collaboratively with these school districts to provide a safer environment while managing and securing mobile devices, including Absolute’s industry-only persistent monitoring, protection, investigation, and recovery services. Learn more on our website.

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