Chromebooks have displaced iPads as the most popular new devices shipping to U.S. schools. The $199 and up Chromebooks have gone from absolutely no market share to now taking more than a quarter of the educational market – and all in just two years. By the end of 2016, schools are predicted to have more Chromebooks than iPads distributed across their student population.
Many of the educational applications students use today—Google Docs, MinecraftEdu, StudyBlue and others—are web-based, making Chromebooks apt for how modern educators are teaching and how students are comfortable learning. And because all these apps and data for Chromebooks reside on Google’s cloud, they are also easier to maintain, backup and keep secure.
But schools are now dealing with some unanticipated cybersecurity and Child Internet Protection Act (CIPA) compliance challenges that are arising as a result of the increased use of Chromebooks. One major issue that schools have faced in their implementation of Chromebooks is the desire by educators to allow students to take the devices home, allowing them to work on school assignments, do research and learn anytime, anywhere. But home networks often do not have the same protections as schools, meaning students may be able to access inappropriate websites or inadvertently visit sites with malware.
So even though both iPads and Chromebooks are generally considered to offer better security than laptops, students bringing their machines off-campus can create increased cybersecurity risks as well as make it difficult to achieve CIPA compliance. To prevent such malware from entering the system, school administrators and IT professionals should take these steps to improve Chromebook security and ensure CIPA compliance while these devices are off network:
While these are worthwhile measures that can increase Chromebook security, having to configure them manually can be onerous. One alternative is to make use of specialized Chromebook security software. Native Chromebook extensions that provide increased and automatic cybersecurity solutions can be easily downloaded from the Chrome Web Store to bolster security.
Staying ahead of malicious attacks that threaten school networks and data is imperative for IT teams. Making it easier to deploy Chromebooks across a school district while at the same time extending security helps make this possible.