Young people today love to spend time online, but they face a variety of threats when they engage in online activity. School IT administrators must take action to keep their students safe from all online risks, which range from cyberbullying to identity theft.
Young People Are Vulnerable
More than half of young people have encountered cyberbullying, with roughly 10 to 20 percent regularly being harassed. Online activity creates a disconnect between a person’s actions and the effect that they have on the victim, which means that many teenagers are willing to be a lot more cruel online than they would ever be in person.
Even more concerning is the potential for criminals outside of the school to target students through the internet. Students face the same online threats as adult internet users do, including data theft, scams, and identity theft. The consequences of identity theft can last a lifetime, so it is important to protect young people from this kind of cyber crime.
In 2018, there were 122 publicly reported attacks on K-12 schools. However, these incidents might be only the tip of the iceberg. It is possible that many more incidents of fraud and identity theft could have occurred and not been reported.
How to Protect Students
In order to protect students, schools must put into place strong cyber security measures. Most schools have firewalls, antivirus and antimalware software, which limit the number of harmful applications that end up on the school IT system. However, these measures alone are not enough to guarantee student safety.
Some schools attempt to keep students safe by blocking access to certain websites to reduce the risk that children will come into contact with online predators. The problem with this approach is that teens are often more tech-savvy than the teachers that supervise them. They are often able to find ways around these blocks and may put themselves in danger.
Many schools recognize that education is essential to keep students safe online. Young people must learn how to recognize scams and know what action to take to protect themselves and their personal information. However, teachers already feel like they do not have time to teach core curriculum subjects. Many of them also do not have the skills they need to teach students about online safety.
Where Schools Are Failing Students
Unfortunately, many schools do not have adequate cyber security systems and policies in place to protect their students. The main challenge that most schools face is a lack of suitably qualified IT staff. Many schools have only a single expert IT employee, who has to respond to all computing issues that arise. This leaves little time to put plans into place to protect student information.
How An IT Company Can Help Schools
For many schools, the most effective and cost-efficient way to improve their cyber security is to partner with an IT company like ITS Group that specializes in providing security services to educational institutions. This gives you access to a team of industry experts who know all about the latest generation of cyber security threats that could affect students.
When you partner with ITS Group, your school gets access to a full arsenal of tools and resources to help keep your students safe. ITS Group offers cyber security monitoring services, which allow them to track what is happening on your networks to find out what threats students currently face. They can then help schools take action to eliminate these threats and therefore protect student data.
Some school administrators assume that their budget will not stretch to bringing an IT company on board. However, ITS Group can offer a range of services, including 24/7 emergency support, for less than the cost of a single full time staff hire.
Is Your Students’ Private Information Secure?
All schools need to collect information from their students in order to provide appropriate services to them. Unfortunately, this means that criminals have an opportunity to hack into systems and harvest this data from school databases.
One step that you can take to reduce the risk of students’ private information being stolen is to collect and store only the information you need. Think carefully about what data you need to store to provide services to students. You need to ensure that the systems you use to store student data are secure.
Don’t Risk Student Security
Schools have an obligation to keep their students safe, both online and offline. The best way to do this is to work with an IT company that specializes in educational IT support. If you need help to tackle the growing range of cyber security threats that could affect your students, get in touch with ITS Group today. The professionals at ITS have a lot of experience providing IT support to educational organizations; ask for a free assessment to see how they can get you up and running securely.