Getting Ready for a New Year (part 2)

This is part two in our series on getting ready for a new year. In the last post, we discussed approaching high-risk departments that are likely targets for wire transfer fraud and other phishing scams. In this post, we’ll be providing ideas on how to get teachers and other staff set up for a cyber-successful year.

Provide a technology safety success guide

Prepare for the worst: Save Work to the Right Places

An automatic data backup plan or cloud services may already be in place. But does the staff know where to save important work so it is backed up automatically? If this can be made transparent to the end user, do so. If not, encourage the habit of saving files to the right place EARLY.

Accounts and Passwords

  • Provide a strong password recipe for those requiring password updates.
  • For third-party apps, avoid domain password reuse and weak password creation by having teachers use a password manager on their smartphones.
  • Address how to share files and lesson plans without teachers sharing passwords with substitutes.
  • Make clear that the help desk / IT department will never ask for their password.

Email Safety

Malware may happen at some point. Someone will open an attachment and unleash ransomware, or click through to a phishing website to input their information, opening a doorway to the network. To minimize this risk, provide and reinforce rules of thumb about email safety such as deleting unexpected emails with attachments, never following links from unknown persons, and sharing common scams like the mailbox limit scam.

All of this information can be combined into a two-page Technology Safety Success Guide to present to teachers and staff at the beginning of the year. If it can be loaded on their desktop to be easily referenced, even better! And even better still, take a few moments during PD training days or instructional technology sessions to explain how using the Success Guide will help them avoid common pitfalls that wipe out years of hard work, lead to downtime, and jeopardize the safety of the network.

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