PowerSchool Blog

Mini-series: Good Custodianship of Student Data, Part 1: Why student data is important

By: Nigel King | | No Comments |

Good Custodianship of Student Data
Part 1: Why student data is important

NOTE: This is the first installment in a six-part series on the security of student data.

In a digital age with the fear of hackers, internet security breaches, encryption ransomware attacks, identity theft, and advertisers tracking our every online browsing habits, the importance of data security is growing exponentially. There are more than 3.4 billion internet users and 2.3 billion (and counting) active social media users. In 2015, a staggering 92 percent of teens age 13 to 17 went online every day, according to a Pew Research Center study.

So many people online, and so many opportunities for access to their data.

Understandably, parents are worried; in a study by The Learning Curve, 79 percent of parents were concerned about the privacy and security of their children’s data, with 75 percent concerned with advertisers accessing data. When national stories emerge such as the 2,000+ students whose personal information was compromised at Colorado’s Lewis-Palmer School District 38 because of a security breach to its student information system (SIS), these fears may appear legitimized.

That being said, the responsible, safe collection and management of student data has become essential to student success and has transformed the way we help guide and personalize learning within the 21st Century digital classroom. Educators can view individual student performance over time, identify positive and negative trends, and make real-time adjustments to help keep them on track. Technology facilitates transparent communication between teachers, students, parents and administrators for a collaborative learning environment. Students can interact on a wide variety of digital devices with online content. Teachers can quickly and easily provide grades, assign lessons, view progress, and make comments all with a few clicks from wherever they are connected.

Education software companies, as custodians that store this flowing, crucial student data, must ensure that protecting students’ information is their highest priority through technology safeguards, strict best practices policies, and dedicated, professional staff. A lack of any of these three critical elements is a significant disservice to customers and the student data they are entrusted to protect.

A strong student information system (SIS) should be dedicated to being a leader in good custodianship of student data by investing heavily in designing an advanced, safe software system with thorough safety protocols and procedures. And finally, leading SIS companies should have the vision to create a professional leadership position dedicated to strengthening the system’s safety.

Stay tuned to learn more about protecting student data in next week’s blog.

Learn more by attending a webinar on Good Custodianship of Student Data Best Practices Tuesday, July 12.

Nigel King, Chief Information Security Officer and Chief Architect
Nigel King is the Chief Information Security Officer and Chief Architect for Powerschool, defining the security posture and ensuring the design decisions of Powerschool yield a secure, unified experience for our constituency. Nigel's experience in applications extends over 25 years, across implementation, sales, and development. Nigel is a Chartered Management Accountant and holds the CISA, CISM, CRISC, CGEIT designations of ISACA, the Information Systems Audit and Control Association, as well as the CISSP Designation of ISC(2), the International Information Systems Security Certification Consortium.