The threat to student data privacy is growing, and the only solution for better data management in schools is zero-trust. The term zero-trust has become very common, but what does zero-trust in K-12 schools look like? How does it impact policies protecting student data?
Why Zero-Trust – and Why Now?
The concept of zero-trust has been around for more than a decade, but it was mostly discussed in business circles and with managed IT providers. The idea of zero-trust in K-12 schools has only recently become a topic of conversation as security threats grew exponentially during the pandemic as more students and teachers were connecting to the school from home, from public hotspots, and through third parties.
What Does Zero-Trust Look Like in the K-12 Setting?
Zero-trust is exactly what it says – an assumption that all network traffic is potentially malicious and requires verification before it can be trusted. Inside the K-12 setting, this means no person gets access to the network and no third party gets access to information without being thoroughly vetted. But more than just verifying credentials and requiring multifactor authentication (MFA) to further reduce risk, it means employing sophisticated security measures to protect the network.
K-12 Security Measures in a Zero-Trust Environment
There are many different pieces of the security puzzle that come together to create a zero-trust data management approach. These include:
Before allowing any person to connect to the school network, their identity must be authenticated.
Require Device Validation
To reduce risk, only registered devices with the proper security should be allowed to connect to the school’s network.
Not everyone who connects to your network needs access to everything. Granting privilege should be done only when and if it’s needed and privilege should be removed as soon as it is no longer necessary.
“A solid zero-trust implementation helps with ransomware in four ways: by reducing infection; blocking lateral network movement; blocking exfiltration of stolen data; and alerting to suspicious network activity.” – EdTech Magazine
GG4L Can Help Your School with a Zero-Trust Approach
Zero-trust in K-12 schools means better overall cybersecurity, better student data protection, and a higher likelihood of meeting compliance measures. School Passport is a zero-trust data exchange platform by GG4L, which offers PII Shield. It is designed to help protect Personally Identifiable Information (PII) through data encryption, role-based access control, and audit logs to help ensure the secure handling of sensitive information.
For more information on how School Passport’s PII Shield from GG4L can help your district build and maintain a zero-trust data exchange, visit www.gg4l.com/learnmore.