Can a school's data negatively affect our kid's futures?

Posted by: Kelly Kitchel on Wednesday, November 23rd 2016

Guard Against Cyber Crime

You lock school entrance doors, use a buzz-in system, make visitors wear identity badges and hire security personnel to patrol your building. You’re doing everything you know to provide a safe environment for your students.

Even with all those measures in place, your students are at risk. Not from firearms or explosives onsite, but from the “masked men” who use computers to commit cyber crimes.

Ponder this: The top target for cyber criminals is children under the age of 17. What they’re after is your students’ personal identity information. They want to steal it and fraudulently use it.

Why go after kids? It will be years before any of them seek a loan or have reason to view a credit report. By then, the damage is done. Cyber criminals who steal the information of a six-year-old could have 10 to 12 years before the youngster is old enough to apply for a credit card or get a loan for a car. Students may have no idea their identity has been compromised until they try to get their first apartment, and the landlord tells them they have a horrible credit score.

Bewildered, students may never know how it happened. And it could take years to repair the damage—all the while having to pay cash for everything.

What organizations hold the greatest jackpot of information on people under the age of 17? Schools. Yes, schools, like yours.

What is your corporation doing to protect the identity of your students? If you’re like most, you have an in-house IT expert and work with consultants to protect your data. Important guards.

But it always seems like the bad guys are one step ahead. If Target, Anthem, and the United States Government do not have sufficient controls to stop a cyber breach, how comfortable are you with your ability to protect the most sought-after information in the world, living in your data base?

When a breach occurs, it takes tremendous time and expense to address it. Your school corporation likely lacks the personnel, time and money to focus on digital forensics, extortion letters, credit monitoring, lawyer meetings, news releases, television coverage, and a long list of other items.

A cyber policy could ease all that, giving you peace of mind and freeing your time for day-to-day duties while experts handle the breach. Your students, parents, school board and your community will appreciate that you took steps to protect student identities.