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Are your Teachers and Staff Using Personal Devices? Stop it. NOW. Here is why.

Updated: May 30

If your teachers, staff, and/or administrators are using their personal computers on your network or at home to do school or district work -- you need to stop it - right now -- and here is why, and here is how we can help.

Going back decades, there have been numerous discussions, debates, and even conferences discussing how schools can leverage bring your own device to their advantage. We have heard experts from everywhere tell us how schools can save money left and right by allowing students to leverage the devices they already have to enhance their learning in the classroom and at home -- and many of these ideas are wonderful with great benefits. In addition, there are layers upon layers of information on how to secure thee devices, your networks, and data against threats that student devices can pose.

But what about your employees, faculty, staff? Are they using personal devices because you asked them to? Or maybe you gave them a Chromebook - and did not meet their needs? Chromebooks are great for 4th graders - but not for employees. (We can tell you why, just ask!)

Unfortunately, there is less wisdom in this area. Yes, there are ways to do this. There are methods in this area to secure devices. Unfortunately, this often means making your Business Manager's personal laptop unusable for them outside the office, or you end up quarantining pictures of the Head of School's granddaughter until someone can look at it to make sure it is safe. In today's zero-trust landscape, it is no longer acceptable to simply allow access because we think we know who is using the computer. These days are long gone, and if your school does not have protections in place to make sure that employees cannot access your student information system or any other system that contains personally identifiable or protected data from non-school controlled systems, your school is at significant risk. In addition, your school will not be able to have an enforceable. cybersecurity insurance policy - that means if your data -- you are on the hook. Here is why.

BYOD Does Not Allow for Clear Security Protocols When your staff are using their own devices to access emails, student information systems, or other systems that hold personally identifiable information, they need to be secured by a backend system that keeps the computer "honest." What that means is that it keeps the computer, system accounts, and other processes from doing things that the person using the computer is unaware of such as sending that information to people in Russia or other people who should not have access to it. Chromebooks cannot do this, and personally owned devices are left to the personal owner to ensure this is done. The TechSperts can make that happen. Unsecure Network Access Personally owned devices can connect to any network, anywhere, anytime. This means that your data is stored on these devices -- perhaps in the form of PDF reports, spreadsheets, documents, etc. And perhaps, your assistant principal goes to the ISTE Conference and has a break in between sessions and gets a Google Chat message about a student. They are connected to the unsecured wifi at the hotel without a VPN or SASE SGN client to secure the connection. This means that they are vulnerable to a network-based sniffling attack allowing anyone within range or on the same network at the conference to see, and grab that information on that student or anything on that less-than-secure laptop (see above). With our easy to access and mange service plans, the TechSperts can ensure that your administrators are never in this situation.

Compromising Cloud Data (Think Google Drive) When you use your personal device at work, you compromise built-in protections that your cloud providers give you in some cases. Google Drive gives you some great protections on Chromebooks that you do not have on your personal device. Sure, you can use Google Drive on your Windows or MacOS device, but now any malware you become infected with also infects the data on you Google Drive. And guess what -- it also opens up the potential to infect shared Google Drive documents to others. That's right. If your personal laptop is infected with a particular type of malware and you share a file on your Google Drive, that malware can spread via that file to someone when they open that file -- and so on, and so on -- even when it is opened on a Chromebook. People often ask us, "aren't we immune from malware, and data breaches because we use Chromebooks?" The answer is: No. You are less likely to be infected, but you are not immune. Data Theft or Loss We have discussed the potential for data being stolen by hackers in two different scenarios without you being aware of it, but what about when you LOSE your personal device or it gets stolen? Recently, an instructor at one of our partner schools was traveling with their school issued laptop and (for one reason or another) put it in their luggage -- and the airline lost their luggage. The TechSperts were able to issue the instructor a new laptop right away, and lock the lost laptop so that the data on it was inaccessible to anyone who might find it. The good news is that three weeks later the airline returned the instructors luggage safe and sound! However, in the interim, the school's administration, IT staff, and the instructor did not have any stress over the lost laptop or a potentionial loss of data because the TechSperts had their back! When you do not issue your employees school-owned and protected devices, you create a risk that opens a liability that your school may not be able to withstand should the worst happen.

  • Can your school withstand your most privileged person -- the Head of School of Chief Financial Officer -- losing their personal laptop that has access to or has the data for students and their families on the desktop?

  • Consider the financial impact of ransomware hitting that laptop and infecting other internal devices when they connect to the school network?

  • What happens when that laptop falls into the hands of a promiscuous student, and it just boots to the desktop with no password protection?

In less than 60 minutes, we will lay out how we can make sure your school, its staff and its families can be protected from malicious attackers and accidental data leaks through our security platforms and hardware support plans. Google schools are not immune to malware and ransomware. The EdTechSperts at STCNtech have been protecting schools in Pennsylvania and New Jersey for 30 years - let us help you navigate this brave new world of digtial cyber-uncertainty with the best protection possible. Don't trust the science without talking to the TechSperts who have done the research and know the outcomes. Just ask us - we have data.

Contact us TODAY - 610-910-9347 - or click here

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