What Is the Difference Between Cyber Safety and Cybersecurity?
Cyber safety uses technology to help protect the physical and emotional well being of students, faculty, and staff on campus. These tools focus on protecting students from viewing explicit or violent content on school networks and computers, and from bullying and other inappropriate behavior. These tools monitor domains and content through filters to keep students safe and will alert teachers or staff when intervention is necessary.
Cybersecurity protects school technology infrastructure, such as networks, computers, cloud applications, and data from cyber attacks. Think hackers getting personal information like social security numbers, birth dates, addresses, etc… There are many reasons why schools need cybersecurity. It protects students and staff information from identity theft and secures information that districts are held liable for, such as health information covered under HIPAA.
Cybersecurity also ensures classroom continuity. When a school’s network goes down due to hacking, such as a denial of service attack, teachers and students can’t access their materials stored in the cloud. Sometimes this may only last minutes, but in some cases can last days.
What Does Cyber Safety Technology Do?
Gone are the days when a student rides the bus home and leaves school behind for the day. Students are constantly connected to friends, classmates, teachers, and coaches. They carry school with them everywhere they go on their phones, iPads, Chromebooks, etc… Today’s connected students are under constant pressure and, unfortunately, now bring the bullying home with them. They experience personal safety and mental health pressures in and out of school that we never dealt with as children.
Because staff can’t be everywhere at once, some great cyber safety solutions have been developed to help. Solutions like Gaggle, GoGaurdian, Bark, and Securly are the leaders in bringing campus safety technology to K-12 schools. Using data science, machine learning and pattern matching technologies, campus safety management tools provide visibility into emails, documents, shared files, images, photos and more. Some solutions, such as Gaggle, provide trained support staff to monitor red flags and notify school administrators and/or emergency personnel directly if needed.
For example, a student sends an email with the word “suicide” from their school computer, an alert is raised. Staff can then investigate the alert, and take appropriate action. Considering the current issues in campus safety, most would agree that being able to intervene before a dangerous situation happens is a good thing.
What Does Cybersecurity Technology Do?
Cybersecurity solutions help school districts protect sensitive information, such as social security numbers, from hackers. Most school districts use firewalls, gateways, content filters, spam filters, or some combination of all to help keep information secure. These measures won’t protect our kids from bullying or sharing explicit content. But they will help keep criminals from breaching network perimeters and stealing data that will be harmful to their financial future.
As more school districts migrate to the cloud, using G Suite for Education and/or Office 365, cloud application security is also needed. While firewalls and gateways protect your perimeter, cloud security protects data within your environment. As IT directors transition their districts to G Suite for Education, they often add a cloud security solution to their cybersecurity architecture to provide comprehensive protection and control.
Let’s say that a member of your faculty clicks on a phishing link in an email and that link granted hackers access to your G Suite environment. That hacker is now able to easily pass through any firewall and gateway that your team has set up and will be able to download and share all the files they want. And, unlike traditional network-based software hacks, you may never know that a breach took place.