Are the Internet of Things' security risks worth the benefits for K-12?
- The global cost of securing the 8.4 million-plus Internet of Things (IoT) devices is projected to reach $1.5 billion, up 28% from $1.2 billion last year, according to EdTech: Focus on K-12.
- While these devices can improve school safety and student engagement while helping cut costs, they also present significant challenges when it comes to securing devices already on networks, new devices that join constantly, and the data shared between all of them.
- Many experts see the potentials of IoT outweighing these risks, but administators and IT staff must consider new layers of protection like cloud access security brokers, which scan cloud activity and can prevent certain kinds of information from being uploaded to the cloud, EdTech reports.
The time when IT staff only had to consider computers, tablets and smartphones that might connect to a school's network is long gone. Now, devices ranging from TVs and watches to refrigerators and heating systems are connected — and can just as easily be exploited.
Along with considering the additional layers of security needed as a result, IT staff should also consider the possibility of whether certain types of devices are able to connect to the network at all due to bandwidth considerations. While connecting the thermostats might save money via auto-regulating temperatures and connecting TVs can allow access to potentially valuable content on streaming networks, it may not be as necessary for devices like smart watches to have access.
That said, everyone in the school community — administrators, teachers, staff, students and visitors — must also be educated on the risks of these devices being connected and how their own actions can mitigate them. After all, the biggest vulnerability in a network is the end user. Every action, from avoiding suspicious links in emails to making sure all devices and software stay updated, counts.
- EdTech: Focus on K-12 Schools Must Invest to Protect IoT Devices
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