Data privacy is a serious concern for K-12 and higher education institutions. Since more EdTech solutions are being built into the educational process, it sadly becomes more vulnerable to specific kinds of attacks. Educational software users face privacy risks when they seed their data across services without even knowing if it’s processed and stored correctly.
As of 2019, there were 382 incidents. Ninety-nine of them resulted in data disclosure. Well, the world of academia can hardly be 100% protected, but there is a way to minimize the risks and keep education records safe.
Highest priority problems for digital education
As it goes in the Data Breach Investigations Report 2019, education suffers from errors, social engineering and insufficiently secured email credentials. DoS attacks represent over half of all incidents. Other threats reported were crimeware, privilege misuse, denial of service, cyber espionage, miscellaneous errors and lost or stolen assets. The core motives for data disclosing were financial (80%) and espionage (11%).
All those data breaches happened due to the lack of:
- resources for data privacy strategy
- consistency in policies implemented
- data ethics training programs
- specific tech background
- dedicated data privacy experts/software providers.
The world of academia rolls out diverse institution- and nation-wide regulations regarding scholars’ and employees’ personally identifiable information (PII) protection: APPs, FERPA, COPPA, PPRA, GDPR, OAuth 2.0, etc. There is also DLA Piper’s Data Protection Laws of the World Handbook which details the critical privacy and data protection laws and regulations over 116 jurisdictions.
If applied correctly, each of these data privacy protection directives essentially becomes a large set of rules that ensures thoroughgoing student data privacy. The challenge universities face is that all these statutes and laws are not enough to make databases entirely safe and private. This way, all responsibility falls on data protection officers. They are responsible for translating the regulations into a reliable basis for personal data privacy. As a result, your institution will comply with regulatory guidelines for robust database encryption.
How technical providers can help Australian institutions
Advanced technology in education is not just about efficiency, but also about reliability and safety. Academia should rely upon vetted software vendors to avoid data privacy breach issues. Experts with a solid technology background can provide institutions with strong privacy protection ecosystems.
Why should your institution be careful when choosing software partners? Incorporating a particular software solution, you have to adopt and agree to specific terms, conditions and privacy settings. You give your software partner a permanent permit to manage all kinds of your establishment’s PII. Providers are supposed to properly handle all data and interpret and embed required regulatory rules into their algorithms to comply with your jurisdiction. It is a wise idea to deal with software partners that ethically store and process your internal data and conform to your student records privacy rules.
Plagiarism detection and prevention
Now, let’s look at the right scenario based on plagiarism checking software. Duplicating content is a major headache tormenting the world of academia. What pushes students to look for shortcuts? Obsession with good grades, performance over mastery, the pressure to succeed, heavy workloads, social comparison. They find solutions in copypasting, buying ready-made works, making tricky text modifications and more. Adopting text-matching software as a learning tool is a way out. But how to keep education records safe as well?
Unicheck delivers a solution to help raise academic integrity in higher education and K-12. It rolled out a safe plagiarism checker run on virtualized instances in Tier III and Tier IV AWS data center facilities. The service ensures secure processing and safe storage for academic databases and students’ PII. Plus, as an advanced plagiarism checker, Unicheck is fully FERPA, COPPA, GDPR and OAuth 2.0 protocol compliant.
Unicheck creates a private submissions repository for every institution and consortium. This means that all documents collected by the service are used only for searching duplicating content within a specific institution or consortium. No one can upload submissions to a global database. However, it is possible to merge databases upon request from participating parties. Unicheck has proper privacy-preserving mechanisms that allow institutions to access the full content of the matched pages in their database. Thanks to migration services, it is possible to fill up the academic starter database with past submissions.
The service keeps opening new data centers facilities in Australia, on top of those already launched in Germany (Frankfurt), the United States (Northern Virginia) and Canada. New data centers provide Australian educators, students and LMS administrators with:
- safe data storage and processing as close as possible to a school, college or university
- Amazon’s high protection standards that provide enhanced data privacy following region- and institution-wide regulations
- over 85 standards supporting, ISO 27018 compliant server-side encryption
- microservices architecture that ensures the faultless performance of a service on any platform or device
- rapid adjustments to variances in checks, at the server, in the database, and at the file store level
- quicker processing of user requests
- AWS that can be autoscaled during high demand seasons to prevent significant delays while scanning
- uptime increased to 99.95% ensures day and night access
- isolated user accounts with authorized access and encrypted texts for total privacy.
Data privacy is a significant concern for the world of academia, prompting more and more institutions to boost their compliance efforts and minimize data breach risks. The challenge is that all the regulations are not enough to make databases entirely safe and private.
The most favorable scenario for school is to partner with a trusted service provider. An experienced vendor follows local regulations on data protection and data protection policies. A vetted service provider should also implement server-side data encryption and provide secure data storage. And don’t forget that a trusted partner does not abuse the provided info for their own benefit, but deletes all user data and files upon request or in case the agreement expires.