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April 20, 2023 by Tim Herr

Learn the fundamentals of cybersecurity for schools (K-12 education)

Get a glimpse at the illuminating contents of our e-book, “K-12 Security Essentials for Beginners,” covering the fundamentals of cyber security for schools.

The transformative impact of technology on K-12 education has been massive, including such positive effects as widely expanded knowledge bases; better tools for communication among students, teachers and parents; more effective standardized testing practices; accommodations for various teaching and learning styles; and the unprecedented rise of a distance learning model that rivals the effectiveness of classroom education. While some elements of this shift have accelerated in recent years, digital transformation of the classroom is hardly a new trend. And as students who grew up playing The Oregon Trail on Apple II computers at school can attest, Apple technology has taken a central role in this process from its early years.

There is, however, one aspect of K-12 educational technology that is relatively new and unfamiliar to many educators: the critical role of cybersecurity for schools.

Read the "K-12 Security Essentials for Beginners" e-book

We’ve come a long way from the semi-mythical days in which security for the Apple ecosystem wasn’t something that IT administrators needed to worry about much. The appearance of sophisticated iOS- and macOS-targeting threats means that educational institutions need to take a proactive approach to cybersecurity or risk jeopardizing learning outcomes, especially accounting for the often underfunded and slow-moving information infrastructure that they have to work with.

Framing the importance of cybersecurity for schools

In the Jamf e-book “K-12 Security Essentials for Beginners,” we get a clear-headed and insightful overview of the state of cybersecurity in education today. This includes certain challenges that are particularly common in education, from budgetary constraints and outdated infrastructure to the prevalence of “shadow IT” and a lack of security awareness training for key stakeholders.

This e-book makes a valuable contribution to the conversation about security in K-12 education in large part because it eschews an alarmist, “worse-case scenario” approach to the topic. Instead, it focuses on the realistic, cascading effects of mundane security breaches:

“Taking a step back from the scarier elements, more often, threats manifest as loss of device usage and/or limited access to resources. In turn, these delays prevent learning from taking place. Furthermore, regulations in place to curb these situations from occurring are sometimes tied to funding structures that directly impact a school’s ability to provide the level of service their stakeholders and communities require if a violation to compliance has been deemed.”

“K-12 Security Essentials for Beginners” summary

Read on for an overview of the e-book contents:

  • The importance of cybersecurity and understanding education-specific challenges
  • External threat types
    • Malware
    • Spyware
    • Man-in-the-middle (MitM) attacks
    • Phishing
    • Vulnerability scanning
    • Communications hijacking
  • Internal threat types
    • Social engineering
    • Weak passwords
    • Stolen credentials
    • Devices not up to date
    • Data theft/exfiltration
    • Misconfigured settings
    • Removal of endpoint protection
    • Shadow IT
  • Impacts on K-12 educational outcomes
    • Digital divide
    • No access to devices or resources
    • Funding tied to student progress/test results
    • Student online safety
  • Common views and misconceptions
    • Mac doesn’t get viruses
    • Education is highly targeted
    • Education is weak on security
    • Security is difficult and costly
    • There is a one-size-fits-all solution
    • It’s an IT problem
  • Apple services and Jamf solutions
    • Apple School Manager
    • Jamf School
    • Jamf Pro
    • Jamf Connect
    • Jamf Protect

Read the complete e-book for your introduction to security in K-12 education.

Plus, get details on our content filtering solution for schools, Jamf Safe Internet.

Photo of Tim Herr
Tim Herr
Tim Herr, Copywriter.
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