According to K12 Dive, there are hundreds of reported cybersecurity ransomware attacks on schools every year, and it is increasing exponentially, costing school districts hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars every year. There have been 102 education-related ransomware attacks in 2023 as of mid-September, compared to 116 in 2022, 107 in 2021, 116 in 2020, 104 in 2019 and 16 in 2018.
To effectively safeguard student data, educational institutions must implement a comprehensive set of best practices to thwart ransomware attacks and protect safeguard student data.
Steps Schools Can Take to Safeguard Student Data
Educational institutions can take several steps to safeguard student data effectively.
Schools should conduct thorough risk assessments to identify vulnerabilities and areas of concern.
Data Privacy Policies
Schools should develop and implement comprehensive data privacy policies that clearly outline how student data is collected, stored, and shared. These policies should be communicated to all stakeholders, including students, parents, and staff members, to ensure a shared understanding of privacy expectations.
Collect and retain only the necessary data required for educational purposes. Limit the collection of sensitive information to what is essential and securely dispose of data that is no longer needed.
Encrypt all sensitive data both in transit and at rest. Encryption ensures that even if data is intercepted or stolen, it remains unreadable and unusable.
Implement strict access controls to ensure that only authorized individuals can access student data. This includes using strong passwords, multi-factor authentication, and role-based permissions.
Regular Audits and Monitoring
Conduct regular audits and monitoring to identify any suspicious activity or potential vulnerabilities. This allows educational institutions to detect and mitigate threats before they escalate.
Employee Training and Awareness
Educate all staff members about the importance of student data privacy and train them on best practices for handling sensitive information. This helps create a culture of privacy and ensures that everyone understands their role in protecting student data.
Partnerships and Collaboration
Schools should establish partnerships with reputable technology vendors that prioritize data security and provide secure platforms for digital learning. Regularly evaluating and updating security measures is also crucial to stay ahead of emerging threats.
Vetting EdTech Solutions
1EdTech members created the TrustEd Apps vetting process to guide institutions and edtech suppliers toward secure data use, collection, and sharing.
GG4L Helps You Safeguard Data Privacy
As a public benefit corporation, it is one of GG4L’s primary missions to ensure that student data privacy is safeguarded at all costs. Managing student data privacy requires a combination of technological, educational, and policy-driven strategies. Prioritizing student data privacy not only safeguards sensitive information but also fosters a culture of trust and accountability within the educational ecosystem. As a corporation dedicated to data privacy and a revolutionary new way to provide secure data integration, we are proud to sign the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency SecurebyDesign pledge.
Learn more about our product School Passport.