The convergence of computer technology and the classroom has never been more apparent. At grades K through 12 and beyond, students are relying on software and applications for tasks ranging from simple word processing to advanced Web design and more. Staff and faculty, meanwhile, use computer systems for administrative purposes such as grading and record keeping.
In a perfect world, we might assume that no person could find good reason for targeting these educational systems. Unfortunately, educational institutions get hacked all the time and are in dire need of better cybersecurity.
Fighting Insider Threats
The assumption tied to cybersecurity is that there are good guys (the users) and bad guys (the nefarious hackers). But it’s not always so cut and dry. Sometimes the average user is the biggest threat to the system. Students in a shared computer lab, for instance, or careless faculty members might accidentally download malicious files or open links in spam emails that lead to malware-laced webpages. The results can be a serious headache for school computer admins.
To address the issue, school administration at all levels should consider classroom management software. This lets authorized staff monitor student activity on computing devices on the network, and block certain webpages and software. In conjunction with anti-executable software, IT admins can be sure that neither student nor teacher accidentally runs malicious software by blocking unknown applications from launching on school computers. A simple firewall and anti-spam tool just won’t cut it any more.
Mitigating Damage with Computer Management Software
Another way school admins can improve cybersecurity is with computer management software such as Faronics Deep Freeze. Features such as the automatic software updater make it easier for admins to patch a large number of computers quickly, effectively preempting attacks that might result from zero-day threats and other software vulnerabilities.
However, some cyberattacks still get through the cracks. The Horry County school district in South Carolina, for instance, recently fell prey to ransomware that encrypted files on up to 60 percent of the entire district’s computers. In order to regain access to their machines, Horry County forked over a $10,000 ransom – a hefty sum for any school district.
Horry County found itself in an extremely precarious position, but one that could have potentially been remediated with the reboot to restore functionality of Faronics Deep Freeze. Upon a system restart, malware is wiped from the system, and settings from the last “deep freeze” are reestablished – it’s as if the cyberattack never happened.
To learn more about how educational institutions can benefit from computer management software, contact Faronics today.