NEW YORK, July 12, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Security is always top of mind among K12 officials responsible for the safety of the children attending their schools. Video surveillance and access control systems are among the most sophisticated ways IT can help keep kids physically safe at school – but physical safety isn't the only concern. IT professionals in K12 school districts nationwide are also facing serious threats from hackers and ransomware. And taking down a school district's network isn't the only danger hackers pose; children's personal and school records are a constant target as well. In fact, experts estimate 51 children become the victim of identity theft for every one adult targeted. As a result, according to Logicalis US, an international IT solutions and managed services provider (www.us.logicalis.com), protecting both the physical safety and data security of America's schoolchildren is a responsibility that has largely fallen on IT today. To help, Logicalis will have K12 IT specialists on hand who can discuss security as well as other pressing K12 IT issues at the Arizona Association of School Business Officials (AASBO) 63rd Annual Conference and Exposition July 20-22 in booths #31 and #54.
"The children in our schools are America's most precious assets, so it's critical that K12 IT professionals ask themselves if they are prepared to face every one of the parents in their school district and tell them they have done everything possible to protect them," says Ron Temske, Vice President, Security Solutions, Logicalis US. "Not only are K12 CIOs ethically obligated to protect these children, but if they want to use E-Rate to fund eligible solutions, in situations regarding obscene or harmful content, the Children's Internet Protection Act (CIPA) gives them a federal mandate to do so. This makes selecting a best-of-breed solution a tough job. When examining the many options available, K12 IT professionals should look for something like Cisco's K12 cybersecurity architecture that has been specifically designed for the K12 market to protect against advanced threats, but one that can also accommodate the individual requirements of each unique school or district."
"One of the chief problems with security in schools is that, traditionally, K12 IT departments have had very limited resources," says Matt Catalanotto, Tempe Area Sales Director, Logicalis US. "As everyone is now painfully aware, skimping on security measures is not something that schools can afford to do. But implementing a security solution is not a deploy-it-and-forget-it situation either. It takes ongoing management to ensure things run smoothly. There are constant security updates from manufacturers to download, licenses to keep current, and protection and monitoring logs to complete, so K12 IT pros may need some help from a solution provider partner in both the short term, for planning purposes, and afterward to help them properly manage their security solution long-term."
Five Top K12 Security Challenges
To help K12 IT pros assess the efficacy of their security solutions, Logicalis security experts have identified five of the biggest IT security challenges schools face today.
Physical Security: Ensuring the physical security of students in K12 facilities is already paramount on the minds of most school officials today, but are the school's physical security systems up to par? Does the school have a reliable video surveillance system that is both clear and easy to use? Are the school's assets protected both internally and externally? Is the school's access control updated and easy to use? If the answer to any of these questions is no, that should ring alarm bells for every school official.
Internet Security: Kids are curious, and the Internet is a big place. To allow children to use the Internet for its intended educational purposes, schools must ensure children are unable to access content that is obscene, pornographic or otherwise harmful to minors. Failing to do so could be both an embarrassment to the district and, per CIPA, a move that costs the school its E-Rate funding.
Digital Identity Security: It's also important to keep children's identities completely safe and anonymous. As teachers post and receive assignments online, and as more work is done in the cyber world, it is critical not to allow accidental access to personal or sensitive information that might fall into the hands of a predator or cybercriminal looking for opportunities.
Security of Retained Data: Every state has rules and regulations about the length of time school records must be retained which highlights the importance of being able to confidently archive electronic records both in the short-term – i.e., this semester's grades – and the long term – i.e., a student's "permanent record."
Faculty Education: With the rapid pace of change in security, it's a full-time job trying to stay current. Therefore, it's up to IT professionals to help teachers and other staff members understand important concepts in cybersecurity like phishing that can expose sensitive information and leave an individual school or even an entire district vulnerable to attack. It's no longer a question of if a school or district will experience a cyberattack, but when that will happen. Security-aware IT professionals must therefore prepare for the entire attack continuum – before, during and after the attack – and that starts with training non-technical staff to help recognize and prevent an attack before it occurs.
Want to Learn More?
Logicalis US K12 IT experts will be on hand at AASBO in Tucson, Arizona, July 20-22 in booths #31 and #54: http://ow.ly/Sdwv301FYpc.
Logicalis is an international IT solutions and managed services provider with a breadth of knowledge and expertise in communications and collaboration; data center and cloud services; and managed services.
Logicalis employs over 4,000 people worldwide, including highly trained service specialists who design, deploy and manage complex IT infrastructures to meet the needs of over 6,500 corporate and public sector customers. To achieve this, Logicalis maintains strong partnerships with technology leaders such as Cisco, HP, IBM, EMC, NetApp, Microsoft, VMware and ServiceNow on an international basis. It has specialized solutions for enterprise and medium-sized companies in vertical markets covering financial services, TMT (telecommunications, media and technology), education, healthcare, retail, government, manufacturing and professional services, helping customers benefit from cutting-edge technologies in a cost-effective way.
The Logicalis Group has annualized revenues of over $1.5 billion from operations in Europe, North America, Latin America and Asia Pacific and is one of the leading IT and communications solution integrators specializing in the areas of advanced technologies and services.
The Logicalis Group is a division of Datatec Limited, listed on the Johannesburg and London AIM Stock Exchanges, with revenues of over $6 billion.