5 Tips to Avoid Data Breaching Apps

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ENA > Articles > 5 Tips to Avoid Data Breaching Apps

The danger is real—and so are the lawsuits.

In 2018, the FBI issued a stark warning to school leaders that the proliferation and implementation of educational technologies in U.S. schools, paired with the widespread collection of student data, could have privacy and safety implications if compromised (September 2018, Alert Number I-091318-PSA).

The FBI’s concern proved to be well-founded. In the K–12 Cybersecurity 2018 Year in Review, it reported that unauthorized disclosures of K–12 data held by vendors or partners made up the bulk of the 122 publicly disclosed data breaches in education. 

Unfortunately, these breaches have costly implications for districts beyond the loss of data for school districts. It often means the loss of hundreds of thousands of dollars—or more—after litigation is complete.

Here are five quick ways to keep data breaching apps from infiltrating your school or district:

1. Track App Usage

Monitor the usage of applications to make sure you know which apps are being used in your classes and schools. According to CatchOn’s findings, only 6% of the apps being used by schools are known and approved by the school district, meaning that 94% of the web-based tools being used by teachers and students have not been vetted by district leaders.

2. Do Your Research

Thoroughly vet any vendor’s claims about data privacy and the steps they take to keep it safe. Read the fine language. Request everything in writing. This really should be included and stated clearly in your service-level agreement (SLA).

3. Know Their Data Policies

Make sure you know exactly what each vendor does with your data. For example, do they sell it to third parties? Do they destroy it when you stop using their service?

4. Understand Their Data Breach Plans

Request vendors share their policies regarding a data breach on their end. What steps do they have in place to ensure your data is protected in the event of a breach?

5. Check Vendor Backgrounds

Find out how much your vendors actively value student data privacy. For example, are they a member of the Student Data Privacy Consortium, an organization at the forefront of safeguarding student data? If so, they have already shown a great concern for protecting student data privacy.

Unfortunately, you can’t take any of the proactive steps outlined above if you don’t know what apps and tools are being used on your school devices. Deploying CatchOn enables you to see the  apps being used on every school device—whether it’s located in the school building or carried home by students or staff, helping you safeguard your students’ data.

CatchOn, an expansive data analytics tool, has signed the Student Privacy Pledge and has proudly joined the following organizations to support student data privacy: Student Data Privacy Consortium, Future of Privacy Forum, and iKeepSafe.

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