How to Keep Your Student Data Safe in the Cloud – Technology Org

Storing your data in the cloud can be convenient, but it might not be as secure as you’d like to think. Data breaches happen all the time and affect millions of users. In just the third quarter of 2022, 15 million data breaches occurred. That can add up to billions of documents exposed.

Students – illustrative photo. Image credit: StockSnap via Pixabay, free license

You can’t afford to let hackers access your students’ sensitive data. You need to take steps to keep your cloud storage secure. Use secure logins, protect the devices that students use to login to the cloud, and keep confidential data off of cloud storage. Run regular security tests, assign user permissions, and backup important data so you don’t lose access to it if you lose access to your cloud storage.

Use Secure Logins

It’s easier than you might think for hackers to gain access to user login credentials. Hackers these days are using increasingly sophisticated social engineering tactics and phishing scams to get hold of passwords.

Educate students on the different kinds of phishing scams and other social engineering strategies they might face from hackers. Make sure students are using unique, hard-to-crack passwords, but don’t rely on password protection alone to keep your cloud storage safe.

You should also be using multi-factor authentication (MFA), which can fend off 99.9 percent of hacking attempts according to Microsoft. MFA makes it harder for hackers to access accounts because it adds a further layer of authentication to the login process.

MFA requires users to tap an alert on their cell phones, enter a code texted to their phone, or even use a physical key like a USB stick to access their account. A hacker isn’t usually going to have access to a user’s smartphone or physical key in order to clear the final hurdle of MFA verification.

Run Regular Security Tests

You need to run cloud security audits regularly to pinpoint weaknesses in your security that could leave your users vulnerable.

Audits can not only show you where your security might be lacking, but can also identify data breaches that have already occurred. You’ll have time to deal with breaches and shore up your security to mitigate threats, including taking steps to alleviate insider threats (like students who don’t fully understand the importance of cloud security).

Cloud computing and cloud data storage - artistic interpretation.

Cloud computing and cloud data storage – artistic interpretation. Image credit: akitada31 via Pixabay, free license

Secure Student Devices

How can you secure all of the devices your students might be using to access their cloud accounts? You can ensure that they access those accounts using a virtual private network (VPN).

A VPN can turn any public network into a private one by creating an encryption tunnel through which user traffic can flow. VPNs encrypt data and create secure connections. Hackers won’t be able to see or follow your students’ activity when they’re using a VPN. Many of your students are probably already using VPNs to protect their own privacy online.

Keep Confidential Data Off the Cloud

The reason hackers want to access your cloud is to see what valuable, personal and confidential information they can steal. If that information isn’t on the cloud to begin with, then hackers can’t steal it.

Don’t just upload things onto the cloud without reviewing them first. Make sure documents you share on the cloud are free of sensitive and confidential data. If you’re going to share confidential data, like student grades or personal information, you should make sure you’re storing it on servers or at least on a private cloud storage.

Public cloud storage services are less secure, because they present more targets for hacking. If someone hacks into the cloud storage of another organization that uses your same provider, they might be able to more easily access your cloud storage, too.

Assign User Permissions

Every student accessing your cloud storage doesn’t need to have full permissions. They don’t need permission to make changes to your storage, or even to access every bit of data that’s available on it. They don’t need permission to make changes to the files – at least not all of them. Make sure you set user permissions that protect your cloud storage. Otherwise, students may make changes to critical files or worse.

Wrapping Up

Keeping student data safe in the cloud should be a priority for any teacher or tutor. The more students you have accessing a cloud, the more vulnerable your information can become. Take the steps you need to take to protect your student data, so you can quit worrying about data breaches and give your students the education they deserve.

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