Since January of 2016, there have been over 700 cyber incidents reported in K-12 public schools and districts in the United States. One look at the K-12 Cyber Incident Map, and you’ll get an idea of how far-reaching this problem is. It’s not just a U.S. concern either. In the UK, four out of five schools have experienced at least one cybersecurity incident.
Hackers aren’t looking to find out what grades your students received on their latest spelling tests. As Mary Kavaney, the chief operating officer of the Global Cyber Alliance explains, school environments “have some of the richest personal information on people, including social security numbers, birth dates, and, potentially, medical and financial information.”
How can educators protect digital assets and information in schools? Here are five strategies to increase protection.
1. Secure your devices from physical attacks
Would you believe that the second most popular password is “password?” Its popularity is only surpassed by “123456,” which has been the most common password for five years running. Suffice it to say, these passwords may be easy to remember, but they are not secure. The Texas Computer Education Association recommends these cybersecurity tips for teachers using technology in the classroom. “Frequently change your password throughout the school year, and don’t ever write it down. Always make sure to log out of your computer when you step away from your desk, and avoid letting students use your computer, especially when it’s logged into your account.”
Are you wondering how you’ll ever remember all of those passwords if you can’t keep them on a post-it “hidden” under your keyboard? Password managers help create better passwords and keep track of all of your login information to strengthen online security. Wired calls them the “vegetables of the internet.” Because “We know they’re good for us, but most of us are happier snacking on the password equivalent of junk food.” It’s time to listen to our mothers and eat our veggies!
2. Lock up your devices
Not using your beloved pet’s name for a password is a great first step to securing your school’s digital assets. But we think an even better one is keeping devices out of the wrong hands in the first place. Did you know that 41% of data breaches are due to lost and stolen mobile devices? It’s essential to protect your students and your school by securing devices with both digital security and physical security when not in use. Implementing durable, secure charging stations will protect devices and the data that’s on them. Not to mention decrease costs. As careful as educators try to be with their hardware, 10% of mobile devices break or go missing in the first year of a smart classroom deployment. A centralized point of secure charging helps schools provide a repository for tablets and laptops, reducing breakage and loss. As the use of technology in education increases, the critical oversight of not protecting your devices when not in use can create painful hassles for students, teachers and administrators alike. By using a secure device charging station, you’ll minimize per-student and per-educator device costs.
3. Keep programs up-to-date
“Updates ready to install.” We’ve all seen this message before. Unfortunately, many of us are quick to click the “remind me later” button without giving it another thought. Until, of course, it pops up again later. If you want to prevent malicious attacks by shutting the door malware uses to exploit loopholes, it’s critical to keep your software up to date. Software updates are patches that often fix security holes. Don’t be the one-in-ten users that never installs them. Enabling automatic updates will keep your devices safer without those pesky notifications because your device will automatically install critical updates when they become available. As security specialist David Longenecker writes, “If your car had a factory defect that might leave you stranded on the side of the road, and offered a free fix, you’d take them up on it, right? This is the same thing.”
4. Have an incident response plan
Just as your school has a plan in place in case of a fire, educators need a plan in place in case of a digital emergency such as a security breach. An incident response plan will prepare students and staff if a cybercrime occurs. According to the U.S. Department of Education, “Prompt response is essential for minimizing the risk of any further data loss and, therefore, plays an important role in mitigating any negative consequences of the breach, including potential harm to affected individuals.” Check the ED’s helpful Data Breach Response Checklist, which illustrates some current industry best practices in data breach response and mitigation applicable to the education community.
5. Educate staff and students
All levels of education benefit from training programs for both faculty and students on cybersecurity. Don’t assume staff members automatically understand how to handle the enormous responsibility of accessing student data. As Tech Edvocate advises, “Staff members need to know how to access information responsibly, know how to use a notification system for breaches, and should understand what to do in case of a breach.” Also, students need instruction on how to manage their digital identities. By teaching students how to manage their personal data, maintain digital privacy and identify data-collection technology used to track them online, they’ll not only be protected at school, “but for the rest of their lives.”
With LocknCharge solutions, teachers don’t have to worry about the safety of the devices as they use them to implement a blended learning model and create a 21st-century learning environment. Read how one California district protects its technology investment and keeps devices safe with over one hundred LocknCharge Carrier 40 Carts.
The UK is on the brink of… something! Maybe Brexit, maybe an extension or maybe another referendum. If you are confused with the political climate, don’t worry so are we and most businesses.
Rest assured; however, LocknCharge remains committed to our investment in EMEIA. We have implemented plans to ensure that whatever happens in the coming months, our customers across EMEIA will not be negatively affected. This includes working with our distribution partners to hold more stock. We will turn this confusion and uncertainty into a positive experience for our customers, and we are looking forward to working closer with our partners and customers everywhere in EMEIA.
Back in the mid-‘80s, when overhead projectors and Trapper Keepers in Day-Glo colors were all the rage, schools averaged about one computer for every 92 students. Today, nearly three-quarters of districts average at least one device for each student. Educational organisations have been leading the charge on mobile deployments (e.g. iPads in the classroom) for almost a decade, employing charging and storing solutions for shared devices to protect their investments and make life easier for teachers and staff.
Schools that employ charging and storing solutions for their mobile devices take advantage of three significant benefits: ensuring devices are fully charged and ready to use, securing them from accidental loss or theft, and simplifying how shared devices are distributed.
1. Ensuring Devices Are Ready to Use
With school-owned and personal mobile devices in heavy use, they’re bound to lose their charge at some point during the day. Plugging a device into any available outlet may seem like the obvious solution, but outlets are hard to come by and do not provide protection against breakage or theft. On-demand, centralised and secure charging towers offer a modern convenience without expensive infrastructure updates to the school.
One learning information systems coordinator in Wisconsin has first-hand experience with the challenge of students needing to charge their devices throughout the day. “Kids were leaving devices wherever there was an open outlet. At one point, an outlet in the cafeteria was being used so frequently that it disrupted the lunch line,” explained Kim Bannigan. Find out how the DeForest Area School District supports an open learning environment with LocknCharge’s easy-to-manage charging stations.
2. Securing Devices from Loss or Theft
An effective school safety and security program addresses both physical and online threats. Since January of 2016, there have been over 700 cyber incidents reported about K-12 public schools and districts in the United States. In the UK, over four-fifths of schools have experienced at least one cybersecurity incident.
10% of mobile devices break or go missing in the first year of deployment, and 41% of data breaches are due to lost and stolen mobile devices. One critical way to secure your devices from physical attacks is to keep them out of the wrong hands in the first place. Implementing durable, secure charging stations will offer theft protection and safeguard devices when not in use, providing significant savings on replacement hardware while avoiding costs incurred from compromised data. Ultra-secure locking systems protect mobile devices from theft, breakage and loss, giving educators peace of mind that their devices are always safe and sound.
Find out how LocknCharge’s durable, secure and transportable Carrier Carts protects the technology investment for one California district, ensuring that students can benefit from the mobile devices for years to come.
3. Simplifying How Devices are Distributed
From inputting endless data to raising standardised test scores, it’s no surprise that teachers feel overwhelmed. A quality of work survey found that educators and school staff find their work twice as stressful as the general workforce. Technology shouldn’t add to the stress of managing numerous day-to-day duties. By simplifying how devices are set up and distributed, educators can spend more time teaching and less time tracking down and handing out devices.
Retaining high-performing teachers is key to a productive classroom. If teachers feel unsupported as new technology is introduced, attitudes can quickly go from excitement to frustration. Easy and efficient mobile device workflow in the classroom can mitigate that frustration and improve teacher satisfaction. Innovative features in a charging solution like charging status indicator lights and mobile device baskets can simplify daily device distribution–giving teachers more control over how they use their class time.
When educators feel supported by their district, they know that their personal well-being is important. Time-saving baskets allow teachers and students to quickly and safely distribute devices every day, putting up to two weeks of class time back into the hands of teachers every year. Also, simple and organised cabling cuts setup time in half, easing the burden of a device deployment on your school’s IT team. Staff will feel supported and know their time is valued when they find more time freed up to focus on forward-thinking initiatives.
All of these benefits ensure that devices can provide the level of utility and productivity that educators demand. Is your school or district in the research or pilot stage of deploying devices? No matter the stage of your organisation’s mobile device deployment, we invite you to understand better the drivers behind workforce mobilisation and best practices of those deployments in our eBook on Mapping the Mobile Device Journey.
We all know about smart cars, smart cities, smartphones, and smart speakers, but did you know there are also smart egg trays and smart umbrellas? If you’ve always wanted to be notified when you’re running low on eggs or find out from your umbrella when it’s raining outside, these smart devices might just be for you. For us, these new products are a sign that the term “smart” has quickly become one of the most popular consumer marketing buzzwords of the digital age.
It’s no wonder that the smart label is so widespread. Who isn’t on the lookout for things that make life easier? If something is smart, the perception is that it will take away the responsibility of figuring out what needs to be done. So-called smart devices and technologies are supposed to determine what you want and do it for you.
The Buzz around Smart Charging
What is smart charging? Charging is the latest in the long list of tech to be given the “smart” or “intelligent” label. The idea behind it is that the charging system is controlling and monitoring the charging process. Sounds pretty cool right? However, just because something sounds cool, doesn’t mean that it’s necessary. In the case of fancy internet-connected egg trays, do you really need an expensive carton to tell you to buy eggs when you can clearly see for yourself every time you open the fridge? In the case of smart power management, most devices already have built-in software that regulates charging to ensure devices aren’t overcharged. As PC Magazine explains, “The one thing all the experts agree upon is that smartphones are smart enough that they do not let an overload happen. Extra protection chips inside make sure that can’t happen in a tablet or smartphone or even a laptop. Once the internal Lithium-ion battery hits 100 percent of its capacity, charging stops.”
You may also think that a solution that offers intelligent charging automatically senses the power needs of each device. Be aware. Few smart charging systems actually do this. Rather, they sense the average power need for a bank or row of devices and direct power to the bank most “in need.” Which sounds useful in theory, but if you really think about your day-to-day workflow, it isn’t all that helpful. Read on to find out why.
Programmable Power Management
As an efficient alternative, LocknCharge offers the remote control ECO Safe Charge™ Power Management System. This intelligent programmable power management unit can charge multiple laptops and power other electrical equipment safely. In our carts, the devices can be programmed for a certain amount of time, and if the device has built-in software, it won’t overcharge. If the device just needs a quick pick me up in the middle of the day, it will charge just as fast in its cart. You control how long you want your devices charged, and ECO Safe Charge will supply as much power as the device needs, regardless of how much of a charge it currently has.
If you ask our Guru of all Things, Kevin Rezac, why intelligent ECO Safe Charge is the preferred charging method over smart charging he’ll tell you without hesitation, “because you know better what your needs are than a computer does.”
Top Five Benefits of ECO Safe Charge
Check out the five advantages this technology offers that are not only pretty cool; they’re also useful and put control where it belongs, in your hands.
- Reduces the possibility of blowing a circuit when a Cart or Station filled with devices is plugged into a single outlet.
- The ECO-TIMER™ functions can reduce your energy consumption, reduce carbon emissions, extend the life of device batteries and reduce your power bills.
- Unlike “smart” charging the LocknCharge power management system can manage multiple carts on the same circuit.
- It’s programmable, so there isn’t the constant trickle charge using electricity.
- You can control from a distance by remote control. For example, if you have a cart plugged in your classroom, and you know students are going to be retrieving their own devices, you can hit the off button on the remote to turn off power. When the students return their devices, you can hit the on button with so the devices will start charging again.
Although there are many possibilities for how to set up the ECO-TIMER functions based on your specific needs, here are a few popular scenarios.
- Scenario 1: You have smaller devices (tablets and Chromebooks), and you want them all to be as charged as they can be. Set our cart mode to SAFE-ON and all your devices will be charging 24/7.
- Scenario 2: If you don’t like the idea of putting a constant charge to your devices all the time, you can change the mode to ECO-TIMER-ALL, then set your charge time for up to 4 hours, allowing your devices to rest for the remainder of the day.
- Scenario 3a: You have higher current devices, and all of them charging at the same time can overload an electrical circuit. You can change the mode to ECO-TIMER-CYCLE where your cart is divided into quarters, and you charge just one-quarter of your devices at a time for a duration you can set.
- Scenario 3b: You have a location where you have multiple carts and only one electrical circuit. You can change all carts to ECO-TIMER-CYCLE, and each cart will only draw one-quarter of its total capacity allowing you to charge up to four carts worth of devices on just one circuit (overnight, of course).
- Bonus: All of these functions are controlled with a remote so that you can change modes from across the room.
Don’t fall for the hype; when used as a buzzword, remember that “smart” doesn’t always mean superior. You probably don’t need an umbrella to tell you it’s raining and you definitely don’t need so-called “smart” charging to properly charge your devices.
If power management and efficient charging are important to you, check out our Putnam 8 or Putnam 16 iPad charging stations. These stations are so bright that they have external LED charging status indicators so you can see the charging status of each device inside the smart charging station at a single glance, without even opening the device.