Tag: Data protection

08 Mar 2021
data protection

How can schools ensure the protection of data?

There has been a revolution in online learning which has led to serious repercussions for any learning institution.

Although companies and schools have implemented elearning protocols and technologies, data protection is still a sensitive issue.

Data protection has been made mandatory by the General Data Protection Regulation(GDPR). It’s a regulation in the law of the European Union on data protection. It makes sure that the data transfer is safe within the European Union. It was implemented on 25th May 2018. 

In online learning, data storage is huge because it involves recording the chats between teachers and students besides student details. So, all the interactions between teachers and students and between students are stored for a brief time because it leaves a digital imprint. This makes sure that all the data even though it gets stored briefly is not misused. 

The schools have to be careful regarding the protection of sensitive data because if it is not protected it can lead to repercussions for them. So, they have to deal with matters such as who can access the LMS and come across sensitive data about children. 

Cyberattacks are common incidents in the education domain. A survey conducted by VMWare in 2017 reveals that almost 33.3% of universities in the UK have faced a cyberattack per hour. In the US also, the frequency of cyberattacks is high with one thousand incidents that have happened in the last 4 years. The frequency of these cyberattacks has been high, especially during the Coronavirus pandemic. There was an increase of 388% in cyberattacks between the second and third quarters of 2020 as per the report released by Emsisoft. The following steps can be taken by schools for data protection: 

  • Data classification:

It’s better to classify data as per the kinds of protection needed by it. It’s better to do so, to be able to have different levels of data security for various kinds of data. You can measure the risk for various kinds of data and then create strategies for data protection. Once you have an idea about the sensitivity of data you can have various protection policies in place. Implementing such kinds of policies makes sure that you are saved from any kind of consequences arising due to insufficient protection of data. 

  • Archiving of emails:

The various policies regarding data protection are about how long the important data needs to be stored.

As per FERPA(Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act), emails have to be stored in an educational institution for over 5 years. This is a US law that ensures that the student records are maintained by those schools that get grants as per any authorized program of the US Department of Education. The parents of students have a right to check their ward’s records. Even students above the age of 18 can check such records. The schools can’t disclose any information about the student without the written consent of parents except under special circumstances. 

Since emails have to be stored by schools, they can automate the archiving of emails and their deletion process. 

  • Use of proper communication software:

It’s also important to ensure that the schools use a proper LMS to communicate with students. They can’t use the video conferencing software to communicate with students because there the data is not safe. This data can be used by nefarious parties because it contains chats between teachers, parents, and students and class recordings.

So, it’s apt to use an LMS which can maintain the privacy standards of students. They are specialized software available for this purpose that ensures data protection. They have proper databases for storing chats, video recordings, and emails. You have to buy access to this database.

So, this is how schools can ensure data protection.