As we’ve mentioned, when we discuss campus safety with district leadership, we frequently hear about the list of technology that has been purchased and installed. One key to campus safety that’s not typically categorized as a safety measure but which significantly contributes to the security of your students, faculty, and organization as a whole is the expanding technology involving network security. It will become even more important as technology continues to evolve.Why is network security so important in the realm of campus safety?
Think about it: the reach of IT isn’t shrinking as technology advances; it’s growing. Once used primarily to connect computers and printers, the network now hosts an extensive array of devices and systems, from facilities and climate control to the very campus safety systems installed to protect students and staff. This list continues to grow as IoT expands, but not enough districts take the time or effort to bolster their network security before deploying a network-dependent initiative. The result is an overburdened network with minimal security that leaves vital information vulnerable to hackers and cybercriminals.
Devices are a whole new layer.
Besides the new technologies that require network resources, there has also been a substantial increase in the need for personal device connectivity. While this can certainly contribute to a better educational experience, it also creates a much higher level of vulnerability for the network. What often leads to network breaches is simply human error—clicking a link, visiting a website, inputting information into a form or a system. You can combat these operator errors, but only if you plan ahead and have your defenses in place before a breach occurs. The more vulnerable your network is, the more planning it takes to keep your network and information safe.
But whose problem is it anyway?
Because the issue in question involves the network, it’s assumed that network security is entirely up to the IT department, but this is very dangerous thinking. Network security is everyone’s responsibility. The IT department often works in a silo, which makes it difficult to manage group effort because everyone needs to participate to make the initiative successful. Remember: this is part of your overall campus safety/security strategy, which means that facilities, faculty, parents, students, and every other stakeholder responsible for maintaining a safe campus have to be aware, educated, and working toward upholding network security.
The network will continue to expand.
Think about it this way: most of the distance a surveillance image travels is on the network. It’s the same for an emergency phone call or private computer data. Considering the tremendous amount of responsibility (and data) that you place in/on your network, you’d better be sure it’s locked down before you even think about calling your campus safe. And, you need to get started...yesterday. You don’t have to brave the journey alone, though. DGI has years of K-20 experience and can help you boost network security and bolster your overall strategy.