How do educators ensure that they keep student data, records, and personal information private and secure?

3 keys to protecting student data and privacy


How do educators ensure that they keep student data, records, and personal information private and secure?

Make sure your partners have rock-solid privacy protocols and breach prevention controls at all levels of the company. Ask if they have regular security awareness training and how often they review their privacy policies. Make sure that all the prevention controls they offer–including automatic backups, firewalls, intrusion detection systems, and third-party vulnerability scans and assessments–are activated and working as they should.

It’s also important to be aware of new updates and releases of technology. Sometimes even browser upgrades come with potential vulnerabilities. These can usually be fixed quickly once they are identified–and having a dedicated team in place to keep up with these patches can save you from a potential security incident.

2. Accuracy

Students’ scholastic success depends on the accuracy of their data. Errors in assessments and out-of-sync work creates frustration and confusion – and interrupts students’ progress. Inaccurate information also prevents educators from seeing the true picture of students’ successes and challenges, which can prevent students from getting the support they need.

Your technology partners should have a strong privacy policy and controls to restrict access to as few people as possible. Look for the phrase “principle of least privilege.” This is the difference between inviting a hundred strangers to a party or only inviting a handful of people you trust.

Your partners’ systems should all integrate seamlessly and automatically with your student information systems. This ensures that student data reflects the most recent and relevant work, not a draft file from five days ago. The key to achieving this is parallel processing. Look for a provider that can conduct daily data integrations that are shared across multiple servers in a distributed environment.

3. Availability

All systems might occasionally shut down. These can range from small interruptions to complete outages. Therefore, it’s crucial to make sure your information is backed up to protect you from temporary hassles as well as data loss.

Best practices for backup and recovery include utilizing distributed servers (to ensure that no single server represents a single point of failure). Your technology partners should work with you to establish a disaster recovery plan that’s focused on restoring the system and the information in a timely manner.

Your student data is both a means for learning and a resource for measuring success. Protecting your technological world, no matter its size or complexity, will give you peace of mind the next time you hear about a major breach that impacts an educational institution.

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