As a result of COVID-19, schools shut down across the world. In March and April, over 1.2 billion children globally were out of the classroom. The unplanned and rapid move to online learning was not met without issues, whether it be access to technology, the effectiveness of eLearning, or time constraints.
However, millions of students will be attending school either entirely or partially online for the 2020 to 2021 school year. Prior to COVID-19, there was already high growth and demand for education technology. Video conferencing, AI-based learning, and online teaching software all received major investments in the past year with eLearning growing to an $18B market.
As schools and universities invest in the correct technology for students, there are cybersecurity challenges that will arise with distanced learning. In 2019, there were 348 publicly disclosed cybersecurity attacks on school districts in the United States. Since COVID-19, online attacks are on the rise and will continue to be as schools restart online.
Here are a few tips for schools and universities to minimize digital learning security dangers.
- Educate students and parents on cybersecurity risks and best practices. Schools have become a top target for cybercriminals because school districts and universities are rich with personal data and have recently made the rapid switch to digital learning. The first step to safeguarding your organization is educating and training students, teachers, and parents. Human error accounts for the majority of cybersecurity issues, so the better training students, teachers, and parents have on what a cybersecurity threat may look like, the better off your organization will be in preventing an attack.
- Invest in the right technology. Whether schools are operating fully remote or in a blended classroom, students and teachers need the right tools to best support online learning. In addition to adoption, ease of use, and effectiveness, schools need to select technology and software that is safe and secure. All digital learning tools should be vetted before using them to ensure they are defensible against potential cyberthreats.
- Conduct a security assessment. Identify the potential gaps in your network with services including comprehensive penetration testing, network vulnerability, and more. There are several ways cybercriminals can attack a network, and it is important to understand where your vulnerabilities may lie, so you can correct them.