Implementing Effective Wireless Solutions in K-12 Schools

By Whitney Snoops | Oct 25, 2018 | Insights

In recent years, technology has so thoroughly permeated the classroom that K-12 schools are now, for the most part, paperless. Long gone are the days of students lugging around heavy textbooks or losing paper assignments in their mess of color-coded binders and notebooks. Even students in first grade now learn on portable devices like tablets and laptops.

While this focus on digital learning has expanded the scope of education in the classroom, it has also presented a new problem for K-12 schools: maintaining strong and consistent wireless connectivity, as well as improving internal security risk awareness.

Quality Wireless Solutions

In today’s schools, strong wireless connectivity is essential. Faculty, staff, and students now carry multiple devices that all require access to the Internet, which amounts to hundreds of different people and devices that are all online. The challenge for an IT consulting company, then, is to create a solid infrastructure that can handle the capacity that a K-12 school requires while complying with the school’s stringent security rules.

Specifically, this infrastructure must protect students—and the school’s network—from both themselves and outsiders. Schools need the ability to limit student browsing privileges so they aren’t visiting prohibited sites or downloading things they shouldn’t be while inside or outside of class, especially on a school-provided device.

Internal Security Awareness

Of course, awareness is something to consider, especially with regard to internal security risks and general security. Especially when they are young, students may not inherently understand the risks associated with pushing every download button that comes their way. So, appropriate awareness training and Internet etiquette are crucial at this age. As well, when students are old enough to understand the consequences of their actions, some may be tempted to hack the school’s system or download malware. As a result, it is critical for wireless infrastructure to have appropriate safeguards in place to ensure that the system isn’t vulnerable.

Notably, although K-12 schools adhere to different standards than private corporations, the fallout and reputation damage from a publicly confirmed data issue is the same, including financial reparations. As a result, the stakes for K-12 schools are just as high—so it’s just as important for faculty, staff, and students to undergo security awareness training in order to protect themselves from malicious activity like malware.

While they might not think of themselves as being a potential targets, schools host a lot of sensitive data, including financial information. As a result, K-12 schools are potential targets for scams and malware, especially if their wireless infrastructure is not secure. To minimize your risk, you can work with a third-party IT consulting and solutions partner to ensure that your wireless connection is highly secure; they can also implement behavior-tracking software to identify any outliers in network activity, which can identify a problematic user before anything actually goes wrong.

Final Thoughts

Especially in the K-12 education industry, securing your network is critical. CTI can provide education-centric, secure solutions to institutions looking to enhance or upgrade their wireless security with our decades of experience. Our engineers are highly familiar with the nuances of the education space, as well as cybersecurity best practices and implementation strategies.

For K-12 schools concerned about the price of these essential security measures, CTI works with E-rate, a government program from USAC that helps get school IT infrastructure and Internet connectivity up to acceptable standards. Specifically, E-rate is designed to give schools discounts or reimbursements ranging from 20–90% on IT-related expenses, depending on the level of poverty in the school population.

Interested in learning about E-rate and our secure wireless infrastructure for K-12? Get in touch, and we’ll be more than happy to help.