Cybersecurity Begins With Strong Device Management


Cybersecurity Begins With Strong Device Management

from Mosyle

By Fredy Padovan, Ed.D     Jan 13, 2020

Cybersecurity Begins With Strong Device Management

Recently, we’ve seen a global shift in approaches to security and privacy across all aspects of our digital footprint. As school districts have never been better equipped with digital devices than they are now, we must make sure to adopt practices that will protect the security of our students and teachers.

For some time, the biggest concern schools had was how to implement these devices to make resources readily available for teaching and learning. However, the hyperconnected digital environment in which many users have access to multiple devices has added new concerns for school districts. Issuing a device to any user—whether a student or a teacher—brings an incredible responsibility to provide a safe and secure experience.

Preventing Security Threats

Against the backdrop of new security and data privacy laws in the United States and Europe, preventing incidents related to cybersecurity and data privacy is becoming the top priority for technology leaders in school districts. And effective prevention might demand a more complete set of tools than many school districts currently have in place. Mobile device management (MDM) is a welcome solution for IT departments facing this challenge.

News reports tend to portray school districts as the target of hackers in the United States. However, hackers aren’t the only ones responsible for cybersecurity threats. Fragile platforms, simplified network and device restriction configurations, open device operating systems and student curiosity can invite many of those threats.

If a school doesn't have the right set of tools to configure and manage devices, networks and digital classrooms, they will struggle to implement strong security and privacy policies. This increases their risk of exposure.

Managing Your Devices

The majority of schools in need of solutions for managing devices begin by looking for SaaS tools, such as iReady or Classlink, to deploy educational content through student devices. But when receiving assistance and guidance from device management specialists, they discover that they can leverage security policies in their K-12 environment through the MDM solution. Using MDM to apply restrictions, passcode policies, security and privacy extensions, etc. prior to handing devices to users ensures a uniform enforcement that requires zero touch on the part of IT.

At the device implementation level, choosing digital devices with robust built-in security mechanisms is one strategy that can elevate the security of your digital environment. Apple devices are known to have multiple layers of security by offering tools such as Gatekeeper to prevent viruses being installed on machines and FileVault for encrypting information to protect the startup disk.

Supporting Secure Connections

One of the easiest and most powerful forms of protection is activating proxies and web filtering across the device fleet. But that’s not always enough. Controlling network access is another way to prevent cybersecurity threats. Unauthorized access to your network is a huge vulnerability.

For security purposes, both in- and out-of-network devices need to be filtered. Whether you have an internal filter or leverage third-party solutions, MDM can ensure that all devices respect your filtering rules. From basic allowed and blocked website lists to more complex integrations with third-party plugins and proxies, you can set up the appropriate profiles and deploy them to your devices in minutes.

Your IT department can block access for any device not managed by the MDM solution. They can also allow certain connections and filters for specific users or grade levels. Devices must comply with school security policies in order to access the school network. This prevents malicious individuals from using the school network for dubious purposes and endangering the school environment.

MDM in Practice

Harding Academy in Nashville leverages Mosyle Manager to provide security and transparency to the end user. Matt Powers, Information Systems Director, believes that using technology should never be an impediment. In his words, the right tech solution “does what the teachers and students want it to do without a lot of intervention and troubleshooting.” Mosyle’s automated setup allows for critical systems such as network access and security rights to be seamlessly added to new and existing laptops.

Our mission is to embrace the use of technology in schools while ensuring that every device is accounted for and respects the policies of the institution. Leveraging a mobile device management system not only speeds up the initial deployment and setup phases but also provides increased opportunities for teachers and students to access critical resources. This helps schools focus on the primary function of these devices: to enhance the learning experience.

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