More than ever, today’s lower education/K–12 schools rely on technology for day-to-day operations, including cloud-based learning tools to complement traditional in-class learning, SaaS applications for collaboration among teachers and staff, and BYOD access – by students, teachers and staff – to school networks.
Schools also store a wealth of sensitive information. Student data may include information on medical issues, subsidies, grades and individual learning plans. Teacher and staff information includes Social Security numbers and payroll data. Schools are obligated to protect this sensitive information, which is a valuable commodity in the hands of professional hackers – or mischievous students.
IT teams in lower education institutions must keep students and their data safe while providing appropriate network security for diverse groups of users. They must also prevent a rising volume of ransomware and other threats, while ensuring high performance and availability and complying with applicable policies and regulations.
All of this is a tall order for the small IT and security teams typically employed in lower education, which is why we’ve released the Palo Alto Networks Security Reference Blueprint for Lower Education Institutions. This white paper explores some best practices that schools and school districts can use to keep students and their data safe without making network security more complex and difficult to manage.
In my next blog post, I’ll look at challenges and solutions for higher education institutions. For more on Palo Alto Networks solutions for education, check out our resources page.