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Two Ways that Open Standards Improve Your School’s Security

Technology is an integral part of the 21st century classroom; particularly in 2020, digital assessments, remote learning and other tech-enabled aspects of instruction are becoming the new normal in education.

While these advancements have enabled more personalized, flexible instruction, the widespread adoption of technology in the classroom is not without risks. Keeping student data safe and secure is paramount — not to mention, it’s a legal obligation under FERPA. However, most schools do not have experience managing sprawling digital security ecosystems.

Thankfully, open standards can simplify this process. ASQ defines open standards as, “Documents that provide requirements, specifications, guidelines, or characteristics that can be used consistently to ensure that materials, products, processes, and services are fit for their purpose.” Let’s review how these open standards can help with improving your school’s safety and security.

Securely expanding your digital ecosystem

As schools continue to expand their digital technology, ensuring interoperability between all aspects of their technology stack is key. Digital tools need to work together seamlessly to maintain secure data pipelines and eliminate unnecessary hurdles for both IT and end-users.

For example, most schools already have the foundations of their digital learning tools, such as online classroom portals or video conferencing solutions. As the needs of students and districts grow, new vendors and tools will need to be added to these systems to meet the demands of today’s learners.

Open standards allow schools to add new vendors and solutions to their EdTech stack without worrying about building custom integrations between their existing and new technology. In other words, if all of these solutions are certified under the same open standards, schools can “plug and play” new solutions right into their existing tech stack, eliminating any manual integrations that could open up additional vectors for online attacks.

In the long run, interoperable solutions can help with improving school safety and security. They also save costs for schools as the administrative and IT efforts of building and managing their tech ecosystem are vastly simplified by using compatible tools.

Confidently making decisions

Another benefit of open standards is that schools can make technology decisions more confidently based on a set of pre-defined criteria. Rather than testing and retesting solutions themselves for security, open standards ensure that any qualified solution has met rigorous, proven criteria for security, stability and compatibility.

Based on the available criteria of open standards, schools can determine the following before they sign the dotted line on a new solution:

  • What data a solution is capturing
  • How the solution keeps data secure through measures like credentialing and data retention policies
  • How schools can extract and move this data between systems

Without this information, schools would need to investigate these criteria independently on a vendor-by-vendor basis, leading to potential security risks if all of the right questions aren’t answered.

Moreover, open standards are constantly revisited and updated by independent sources, ensuring schools have long-term confidence in the security of their solutions even as technology continues to evolve and advance.

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Recently, the education space has experienced a rapid acceleration toward digital transformation. Despite needing to move quickly to keep up with the changing demands of today’s students, maintaining and improving school safety and security across your entire EdTech stack requires careful thought and consideration.

Open standards are one tool that can help schools make confident, future-focused decisions about which vendors and solutions to bring into their digital ecosystem. By ensuring each solution is compatible and secure based on a set of independent standards, schools can:

  • Eliminate potential weaknesses in their security strategy
  • Add new solutions with minimal downtime
  • Avoid long-term vendor lock-in
  • Reduce administrative and IT overhead

Learn more about how to keep your online learners safe with open standards in our white paper The Importance of IMS Certification and QTI Compliance.