IE 11 Not Supported

For optimal browsing, we recommend Chrome, Firefox or Safari browsers.

Webinar: K-12 Schools Move to Cloud to Enhance Data Security

At an Education Week webinar, panelists from the cloud software provider Softdocs said schools can enhance data security by moving away from on-premise data management and using third-party cybersecurity expertise.

Cloud security icon form lines and triangles, point connecting network on blue background. Illustration vector
With K-12 schools remaining a prime target for cyber attacks, more districts are turning to cloud services to better secure their documents and sensitive data, according to speakers on a recent webinar.

The event, hosted Wednesday by the education publication EducationWeek, featured panelists from the cloud software provider Softdocs. According to Steven Freitas, a senior account executive at the company, cloud migration can help to enhance operational efficiency when it comes to data management, as well as security against the onslaught of cyber attacks leading to data breaches in the K-12 sector.

“Ransomware is at an all-time high across education. Every year, it seems to unfortunately be increasing. They seem to be an easy target because of the different users across the board,” he said during the webinar. “A single cybersecurity breach can cost a district millions of dollars. You can see over the last year, we’ve had a rise of 275 percent, and it’s continuing to be an ongoing issue.”

He said working with third-party cloud providers can help alleviate the burdens on understaffed school districts’ IT departments by giving them extra access to IT security expertise and helping them ensure that schools’ data management practices remain compliant with changes in local, state and federal K-12 data regulations. For cloud providers such as Softdocs, he said it’s their job to “make sure we’re up to speed on evolving changes within the security realm.”

“These are reasons why districts are moving to the cloud. We have that improved data security, visibility, consolidation of all access points. You know who’s getting access to that data because it’s through that one [gate], their single point of logon. You have better data insights. With that, you [know] who’s logging in. You have those audit trails of who’s accessing the data efficiently, and improved reporting across the board,” he said. “Also, it’s taking the load off the IT team. They no longer have to manage the security processes.”

Robert Gunning, manager of professional services at Softdocs, said many in the education space wonder if it’s best to just stick to paper documents or on-premise management. However, he recalled instances where schools lost important documents after natural disasters such as hurricanes, with no way to recover them.

“They lost everything in that paper,” he said. “Moving your stuff to the cloud is one way to save that.”

He said another benefit of cloud migration is the enhanced security that comes with it. While many schools are comfortable with having their own on-prem firewalls in place, the task of securing sensitive data could become even more cumbersome for school districts to deal with as cyber threats continue to evolve.

“Security practices continue to update and your knowledge to keep those servers up to speed and intact and secure is always changing,” he said. “But if you’re maintaining your own servers on-prem, you have your own patches that you need to make sure that you’re updating.”
Brandon Paykamian is a staff writer for Government Technology. He has a bachelor's degree in journalism from East Tennessee State University and years of experience as a multimedia reporter, mainly focusing on public education and higher ed.