Keeping Your Classroom Secure: A Cybersecurity Guide for Teachers

Recently, I went back to my old high school in an endeavor to help out the new I.T. team upgrade the school’s network. A promise is a promise, you know?

During my visit, I took some time to talk to past acquaintances, including some teachers. Telling them my reason for being there led to a conversation about the intricacies of the network and their security while on it. Yes, the network needed severe upgrading in the security department, hence why I was there.

The conversation got me thinking—what cybersecurity risks do teachers (and their students) face in the classroom? Let’s take a look.

The Risks 

Data Breaches

A school’s network is designed to allow hundreds of people to stay connected all at once. Most schools create separate networks, of course—one for students, one for faculty. 

However, the risk of their being a data breach still exists whether or not the network is separated. And considering a school’s database consists of personal information of every student and faculty member, a breach could spell disaster for the school and everyone involved.

Financial Ruin

Along with the personal information of everyone associated with the school, the school’s database houses the financial information of the same people. Bank accounts, social security numbers, and credit card information is just some of the data that is stored. Stealing this financial information allows cybercriminals to wreak havoc with the data, possibly leading to cases of identity theft. 

Creating a Botnet

If your school is like most other schools, it contains a fair amount of computers. It may even have a computer room, which is absolutely filled to the brim with laptops, desktops, and other devices.

If a cybercriminal saw the opportunity, they could unleash a worm or trojan horse that spreads across the network, creating a botnet. A botnet involuntarily uses devices on a network to mine for cryptocurrency, carry out commands, and vice versa.

5 Ways To Stay Protected

Use A VPN

A virtual private network (VPN) encrypts any and all information going to-and-from devices on a network. Using one would ensure the security of data across your school’s network. At least try to download a VPN and see how it works.

Practice Cybersecurity Etiquette

Some schools in recent years have decided to hold cybersecurity courses for all students and faculty members. These lessons can immensely improve security on a network by educating the masses on what not to do on the network. Topics covered may include password creation, phone security, workplace technology rules, device security settings, and more. 

Use An Anti-Virus Software

An anti-virus solution will protect all devices on a network from any known virus or malware attack. Implementing said anti-virus can be busy work, but it is beyond worth it at the end. If a threat is detected on any devices connected to the network, the software program will immediately quarantine it before it does damage. 

Role-Based Access

Most schools restrict access to certain information by using roles, a way to separate groups on a network. If your school isn’t taking advantage of this, do so immediately!

Enable A Network-Wide Firewall

Setting up a network-wide firewall is a necessary precaution that you and your school should take, if not already done. It can filter out the simplest of issues, including security threats.

Those are the risks associated with school networks and some simple tips educators can use to keep classroom’s secure. Schools aren’t exempt from having technology privacy and security protocols in place. These institutions are just as vulnerable as any business to being the target of an online attack. 

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About The Author:

Brad Smith is a technology expert at TurnOnVPN, a non-profit promoting a safe, secure, and censor-free internet. He writes about his dream for a free internet and unravels the horror behind big techs.

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