The pandemic sparked a crash course in online learning--and with it, myriad security concerns that education leaders are left to address

Post-pandemic, where do education leaders go?

The pandemic sparked a crash course in online learning--and with it, myriad security concerns that education leaders are left to address

Further, many IT staff members within the education workforce did not have the skills needed to improve their institution’s infrastructure for hybrid and online learning models. This caused delays in scaling systems as administrators had to train staff and address mistakes made during the transition.

To combat the digital divide, multiple institutions around the country sent students home with Google Chromebooks, iPads, Wi-Fi hotspots, and other open-source technology. Although this has its advantages, these endpoints are disposed to a VPN, creating greater uncertainty across the network, and making it harder for education and government IT teams to manage, detect, and mitigate those endpoints.

Improving flexible learning environments

Remote and hybrid learning have become the norm, and providing a secure environment is critical. Many devices don’t have adequate endpoint protection and visibility. IT teams need an endpoint management and security platform that empowers them with the comprehensive real-time visibility and control needed to make critical decisions and take the right action, right now.

To improve flexible learning environments, K-12 districts and higher education institutions need to alleviate and mitigate those risks appropriately as they continue remote and hybrid learning.

Adopting a centralized cybersecurity approach bridges the gap between security and operations teams within an institution’s most complex environments and provides a unified view of endpoints across the enterprise. This gives IT teams visibility across end-user tools, cloud infrastructure, and the data center. It also provides the ability to identify assets, protect systems, detect threats, respond to attacks, and remediate deficiencies at scale.

Until educational IT teams have a centralized cybersecurity approach, governance plan, or roadmap, it will be extremely difficult to move along the path to digital transformation.

Simple and secure digital solutions that provide visibility, control, and the ability to respond to potential threats are key to a strong, remote-friendly IT infrastructure. Teams should embrace strategies that enable online, bring-your-own-device, and 24/7 learning environments, while protecting sensitive institutional and student data.

To further address cybersecurity challenges associated with remote and hybrid learning and improve student experiences, education IT leaders should:

  • Conduct comprehensive security risk assessments to ensure a strong cyber roadmap and strategy
  • Integrate security and operations teams on a single platform for the institution
  • Adopt an enterprise-wide approach instead of a bifurcated one
  • Implement data loss prevention technologies
  • Invest in workforce and skills development to further infrastructure enhancements

The symptomatic issues we’re seeing in education are no different than what we’re seeing throughout the public and private sectors. But there are opportunities for corrective action. K-12 and higher education institutions must bring key decision makers together and begin with comprehensive planning for standardization across technology environments.

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